Veteran linebacker Jameel McClain, released last week by the Baltimore Ravens, already has several free agent visits scheduled with other teams. The Buffalo Bills will be his first stop, and he'll be at One Bills Drive on Wednesday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
McClain, who will turn 29 in late July, has spent the entirety of his six-year career with Baltimore after entering the league as an undrafted free agent out of Syracuse. (No, he did not play for Doug Marrone while there; McClain left in 2007, and Marrone didn't take over the coaching job until 2009.) He was released in a cost-cutting maneuver by Baltimore.
The news has an expected implication for the Bills: they are looking for a veteran middle linebacker to man the inside spot in the Jim Schwartz 4-3 defense. That would allow second-year linebacker Kiko Alonso to move over to the weak side, where GM Doug Whaley told reporters that he believes Alonso would excel.
The 6'1", 245-pound McClain would give the Bills that option. He accrued 55 games of starting experience as a Raven, including 10 games last season following an unexpectedly quick turnaround from a spinal cord contusion. McClain would not need to be a three-down player in Buffalo's system; no matter who the Bills bring in at linebacker, Alonso will still be the team's go-to player on passing downs, and reserve safety Da'Norris Searcy can sub in, as well.
NFL free agency does not begin until next week, but because McClain was released (and is not waiting for a contract to expire at the start of the new league year), he is free to sign with a team whenever he pleases.
Just spoke with free agent LB Jameel McClain who is visiting the #Bills today. Syracuse guy. He's on his way to meet with the Giants next.— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) March 5, 2014