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One week in, Bills staying patient in free agency

A week ago this morning, the NFL's free agent signing period was already several hours underway for the 2010 league year. We knew entering the new year that the Buffalo Bills, under the direction of new GM Buddy Nix and new head coach Chan Gailey, would not be overly active, attempting to stay patient and fill holes frugally while waiting to make their big off-season acquisitions via next month's NFL Draft.

To this point, Nix has stayed true to his word. Through one week of NFL free agency, the Bills have been anything but active.

By my count, 48 players have switched teams over the past week. Just one of them finds his new home in Buffalo, as the team on Monday signed free agent right tackle Cornell Green to a three-year, $9 million deal. Green is the early favorite to start at right tackle in place of the retired Brad Butler.

Green is one of three players that the team has reportedly hosted on free agent visits in that time frame, as well. On the first day of free agency, former Kansas City guard Wade Smith stopped in at One Bills Drive. He, however, did not sign on the dotted line, instead accepting a four-year, $12 million deal from Houston. Reports surfaced Wednesday that the team would host free agent nose tackle Jimmy Kennedy for a visit, but the team has not yet confirmed that visit, nor have we heard an update on that story.

Official visits are one thing, but the Bills have been connected to players that have not yet scheduled free agent visits, as well.

A week ago, Alex Marvez of reported that the team had interest in free agent wide receiver Kelley Washington. There was also a report that linked the Bills to Miami backup quarterback Tyler Thigpen, though since that report, it's been made clear that Thigpen isn't available via trade. Two former Pittsburgh linebackers have been on Buffalo's radar, as the team has reported interest in both Larry Foote (link) and Joey Porter (link). A report also linked the team to free agent receivers Antonio Bryant and Derrick Mason, but both are off the market, having signed with Cincinnati and Baltimore, respectively.

The Bills did take care of their own, however, agreeing to terms with safety Bryan Scott on a two-year, $3-plus million deal on the first day of free agency, and re-upping tight end Joe Klopfenstein yesterday.

While the team stays patient and frugal in free agency, Nix has already begun working hard on the aforementioned draft, where Nix likes to do his best work. The team has already scheduled private workouts with Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and Clemson running back C.J. Spiller. More visits and workouts are sure to follow.

Nix was in Stillwater, Oklahoma earlier this week, taking in Oklahoma State's pro day workouts, where he reportedly spoke briefly with the consensus best left tackle prospect this year, Russell Okung.