New understanding has come to light in regards to the enigmatic free agency period experienced by new Buffalo Bills defensive end Dwan Edwards. Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times reports that Edwards, who had free agent visits with Denver and Seattle as free agency opened in early March, did not receive contract offers because he failed those teams' physicals.
Wilson also reports that the Baltimore Ravens, for whom Edwards played for six years, withdrew a contract offer because Edwards would not have neck surgery.
Edwards missed the entirety of the 2008 season with a neck injury. For that injury, Edwards underwent a procedure in which a disc was removed and replaced with one from a cadaver. His C3 and C4 vertebrae were then fused. Edwards bounced back to play 16 regular-season games and two post-season games in 2009, and does not believe that further surgery is necessary.
ProFootballTalk.com's coverage of this story mentions that because of these developments, the signing includes a certain risk for Buffalo despite Edwards' playing abilities, his healthy 2009 season and his youth (he's not yet 29). My response to that would be this: if Edwards passed a Bills physical administered by Dr. Andrew Cappuccino, the man who prevented TE Kevin Everett's paralysis, I don't see much in the way of risk. Cappuccino is widely considered a leading expert in the spinal field.
Edwards signed a four-year, $18 million deal with Buffalo on Wednesday. He'll likely emerge as a starting defensive end in the team's new 3-4 defense.