According to a report from Adam Schefter at NFL.com, the Buffalo Bills are one of three teams interested in free agent safety Donovin Darius. The veteran was released on Thursday after seeing his skills dwindle a bit the past few seasons in Jacksonville. The Panthers, Bills and Raiders are reportedly the three teams interested in Darius' services.
If the rumor is true from Buffalo's perspective, it would be sort of a confusing signing. My guess is that of our two safeties, Buffalo's coaching staff is a bit less comfortable with Ko Simpson. Ko had a solid rookie season, but he was often out of position as the last line of defense giving up some big plays (especially in the running game) and his lack of solid recovery speed may not make him the greatest of fits as a free safety in a Cover-2 scheme. Don't get me wrong, I love Simpson as a player, but I've never felt that his skills were tailored for being a Cover-2 safety.
If Darius is brought in (and that is a big if at this point - I think he'll be a Panther very quickly), my guess is that Simpson would be relegated to backup duty. I would assume that Donte Whitner would be moved to free safety, for a couple of reasons - first, his top-flight speed and solid tackling ability would make it nearly impossible for defenses to beat us deep, either through the air or on the ground; second, Darius has great size and is a huge hitter, which would make him far more effective stuffing the run in the box than Whitner was last season.
I'm not sure if I'm endorsing the interest or not, but there are definite advantages to bringing in Darius - even if it's just for a year or two. The real question is whether or not signing a veteran safety is a higher priority than signing a certain hold-out defensive tackle. One thing is for certain, however - Darius would be a fantastic veteran presence in an extremely young secondary.
Interesting stuff. Please add your comments - what do you think of this rumor?