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PFF: Bills Upgraded Replacing Paul Posluszny With Nick Barnett

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In late July, the Buffalo Bills lost free agent linebacker Paul Posluszny to the Jacksonville Jaguars for the tidy sum of $42 million. The Bills then used that exact sum of money to sign three free agents - Brad Smith, Drayton Florence and Nick Barnett, the latter of which will make $12 million over three years as Posluszny's replacement.

There is a belief out there - promoted most recently by Pro Football Focus - that the Bills actually upgraded at inside linebacker for a fraction of the cost by moving from Posluszny to Barnett.

Per Khaled Elsayed, Barnett was PFF's second-highest graded 3-4 inside linebacker in 2009 as a member of the Green Bay Packers. Though Elsayed is quick to note that Barnett is a more significant injury risk than Posluszny was - Barnett has appeared in 29 games over the past three seasons, as opposed to Posluszny's 42 - they also consider Barnett's athleticism and coverage abilities a better fit for the hybrid 3-4 and 4-3 defense that George Edwards seems to favor.

Time will tell if they're right, but (very) early returns are favorable.