The Buffalo Bills allowed guards Andy Levite and Chad Rinehart to leave via free agency last year, standing pat as their top guard and top (and oft-used) interior reserve departed for Tennessee and San Diego, respectively. They quickly realized it was a mistake. Will they upgrade via free agency or the NFL Draft in 2014?
Colin Brown stepped in at left guard for Levitre and performed so poorly he was released midway through the season. Free agent addition Doug Legursky performed better than Brown. The Bills also may look to upgrade Kraig Urbik, though his contract was extended just a year ago.
What the Bills could add
The Bills would be wise to add both a veteran insurance policy and a young rookie. Preferably, both of them will be able to play significant snaps, as the loser of their competition will be the top interior backup.
Who fits the Bill
Rinehart: What goes around, comes around. Rinehart signed a one-year deal and is a free agent again. He dealt with injuries a year ago, which could drive his price down along his options for a long-term contract. I wouldn't say it's likely, but he would be a good value.
Jon Asamoah: Asamoah lost his job to Geoff Schwartz due to injury in 2013. Schwartz played his way off this list and into the first round of guard signings, but Asamoah would be a nice consolation prize - assuming the Chiefs don't choose to re-sign him over the more expensive Schwartz. Only 26 and a two-year starter, he could slot in at left guard right away, but there will be competition for him on the market.
Willie Colon: The 30-year-old would be a stopgap, though not quite as short term as what Travelle Wharton or Brian Waters would provide. Colon has expressed a desire to return to the Jets, where he played all 16 games in 2013, but if they move on he'll be a name to watch on the market ,and says he has " a lot left in the tank." He made $1.162 million in 2013, a number that will only go up slightly in 2014.
Best case scenario
Asamoah is a guy that Doug Whaley should be looking to pay - though it could take upwards of Eric Wood's five-year, $27 million contract to get it done. He would provide long-term stability for the position and be a huge upgrade. If they don't want to spend that much, Rinehart should be a lot cheaper. Singing one of these free agents wouldn't completely remove the need to draft an interior offensive lineman, but that guy would only be counted on as the top reserve.