Tyson Clabo released; could Buffalo Bills be interested (again)?

Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

Two years ago, Tyson Clabo was a free agent target for the Bills. Might history repeat itself?

The Buffalo Bills pursued then-free agent right tackle Tyson Clabo on the open market in late July of 2011, right after the NFL lockout ended and as Clabo was mulling an offer from the Atlanta Falcons. In the end, Clabo chose to stay in Atlanta on a five-year, $25 million deal with $11.5 million guaranteed.

That contract cost Clabo his job today, as the Falcons released the veteran right tackle as they try to free up cap space to sign quarterback Matt Ryan to a long-term extension.

Naturally, I've been asked several times today whether or not the Bills will once again show interest in Clabo on the open market. Now 32 years old, Clabo still grades out as one of the better right tackles in the NFL at the moment. Even still, I don't expect Buffalo to pursue him - though it would not be terribly surprising if they did, either.

When the Bills pursued Clabo in 2011, they were coming off a 2010 season in which their right tackle position was a complete disaster. Erik Pears had only made one start as a late-season replacement the year before, Cornell Green was long gone, and Mansfield Wrotto was still an option at the position. Clearly, Clabo would have been a monumental upgrade. Things are a bit different this time around: Pears was competent in 2011, and Chris Hairston has proven himself worthy of a longer look as a starting tackle in Buffalo. The situation is not nearly as dire; Hairston's presence even gives the position genuine upside.

Then again, both Pears and Hairston landed on IR last season, creating just enough instability at the position that mock drafters have seen fit to give the Bills a tackle with the No. 8 pick. It's far more likely that they pursue Clabo than take a tackle in the first round, but again, I don't think either is particularly likely.

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