Over the past three days, five free agents have met with the Buffalo Bills. As of the time of this posting, none of those free agents have signed any dotted lines with the team. That's not necessarily bad news - there still seems like there's a good chance that any (most?) of these players could be members of the Bills by week's end. For organizational purposes and further discussion, here's the very latest that we know about those five players:
Cardinals UFA WR Bryant Johnson: Clearly, this is the name that has been speculated about most. Johnson visited the Bills on Monday, where in an interview with the team claimed to have a visit scheduled with the Washington Redskins. The Redskins have since denied having a scheduled visit from Johnson. We have not heard anything for about 48 hours, other than ESPN's John Clayton reporting that the two sides were still negotiating as of this morning.
The problem with getting Johnson (who wants to be a Bill) on board is the contract. Given the fact that "proven commodities" such as Bernard Berrian and Javon Walker and "unproven commodities" such as Ernest Wilford have signed contracts light-years apart in terms of dollar amounts, it's likely that the Bills and the Johnson camp are looking for a middle ground. It could very well be that the two sides are working on an incentive-laden deal and are attempting to hammer out the finer details of a contract. It could also be that the Bills are merely keeping in touch, waiting for Johnson's market value to dip the longer he's available. Regardless, at this point - given how little interest Johnson has received, coupled with some other strategic signings - I'd be shocked if Johnson hasn't signed with the Bills before the weekend.
Chargers UFA SS Marlon McCree: The 31-year-old safety, a disciple of defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, is apparently going to decide between the Bills and Denver Broncos by tomorrow or Friday. The Carolina Panthers are also involved, and the Bengals have made McCree a contract offer as well. We discussed this morning exactly what McCree could do for Buffalo's defense. When it comes right down to it, McCree's best bet at landing a starting spot is probably in Denver. This is how I expect McCree's situation to unfold (and I'm just speculating here): if he wants to play strong safety, he'll sign with the Bills. If he wants to start, he's off to Colorado.
Titans UFA TE Ben Troupe: Not too many free agents are as active on the free agent market after two statistically mediocre seasons. Such is the current era of the NFL. Troupe has made visits with the Buccaneers and Bills, and the Saints have him on their radar as well. By far the most athletic tight end available, Troupe (if he can stay healthy) would provide the Bills with an immediate upgrade to their passing attack from the position. The team could very well get out-bid by a more desperate team, however; the Bills seem aware of that possibility, given the fact that they're speaking with other tight ends. Chances Troupe signs here? About 50/50 at this point, in my estimation.
Falcons RFA FB Corey McIntyre: If you haven't seen McIntyre's interview with Western New York press after his visit, I'd suggest you check it out. McIntyre has "blue collar" written all over him - he's a hitter (his nickname is apparently "Mack Truck") and seems to cherish his role as a blocker and special teams player. These are the types of football players that make good teams great. He's only 29, and the Falcons tendered him with a low restricted offer. Look for Buffalo to sign him to an offer sheet by week's end - they'd be crazy not to. Should McIntyre eventually work his way onto Buffalo's roster, his departure from Atlanta would not cost the Bills anything, as he is a former undrafted free agent. McIntyre spoke very highly of Marshawn Lynch as well.
Falcons UFA TE Courtney Anderson: There's a reason that Anderson's only visit has been with the Bills - players like him are a dime a dozen. Sure, he's got soft hands and would make a nice red zone threat, but there's nothing that elevates him past the stage of "average to mediocre". He's slow off the line, not overly physical, and not a very good route-runner. Essentially, he's a slightly taller Robert Royal with better hands, but less blocking ability. He could be an underrated addition as a special teams player and a goal line threat, but if he's signed, the team will need to look long and hard at drafting a tight end as soon as Round 2.
As always, stay tuned, as Buffalo Rumblings will keep you up to date as rapidly as possible on all of the free agent news surrounding the Bills.