Jay Glazer of FOXSports.com is reporting that the Buffalo Bills have traded their third and fifth round draft picks in the 2008 draft to the Jacksonville Jaguars for DT Marcus Stroud. The move comes after reports broke last night, via the AP, that a deal was off for the three-time Pro Bowl player.
Stroud, who will be 30 at the start of the '08 season, has missed 11 games over the past two seasons due to injury and steroid-related suspension. At 6'6" and 306 pounds, Stroud will provide an immediate starting upgrade at the 1-technique spot in Buffalo's Cover-2 defense.
Pro Football Talk is reporting that Stroud has re-worked his deal to include more guaranteed money, but his contract is not considered to have a "significant raise". He was due to make $16.5 million over the next three seasons on his current deal, a sum many consider to be the reasoning behind Jacksonville's willingness to shop their star defender.
Stroud's addition, coupled with yesterday's signing of LB Kawika Mitchell, has given the Bills two impact defenders with playoff experience that significantly upgrade the physicality of Buffalo's front seven. Depth is still a concern in this area, but for now, Buffalo's starting lineup in the front seven appears to be set. With these two on board, and with WR Bryant Johnson reportedly in town, the Bills are seemingly not done making splashes, either.
On a personal note, I believe this is probably Buffalo's most exciting addition since the team traded for QB Drew Bledsoe. Our defensive front seven is once again loaded with talent, and if the team can land a situational speed rusher, we'd have the perfect mix of depth up front. While I take a lap and calm myself down enough to breathe, feel free to let your feelings out on this move as well.
Update [2008-3-1 16:23:45 by Brian Galliford]: The good news just keeps on pouring in, as Rotoworld is now reporting that the Bills have officially signed former Vikings DT Spencer Johnson to a five-year deal. Rumors started to swirl about a potential Johnson signing last night. The 286-pound Johnson played behind Pat and Kevin Williams in Minnesota and was regarded as their "pass rush specialist" inside. He is the ideal fit at the 3-technique in the Cover-2 scheme, and his addition bolsters the Bills' depth inside further. The team now has an elite mix of talent at the position, with Stroud manning the 1-technique, Johnson the 3-technique, and the still-developing John McCargo able to play both. With Kyle Williams as young, experienced depth, the Bills have put together quite the rotation system inside.