The Buffalo Bills on Monday officially confirmed cornerback Stanford Routt's visit to One Bills Drive. The former Raiders star is the first marquee free agent of 2012 since being released over the weekend, and his first visit was with Buffalo.
After spending seven seasons with Oakland - a span of time in which the team never earned a winning record - he is understandably looking for a team that can compete.
"Obviously I want to go to a team that I can help win," Routt told reporters late Monday afternoon. "I haven’t won much in my seven years in the NFL. I just want to be on a team that I can help win and has some stability."
Presumably, Buffalo would fit the bill if Routt is giving them his first free agency visit. He brought up the Bills' victory over the eventual AFC Champions when talking up Buffalo's trajectory.
"They beat the New England Patriots, a team that represented the AFC in the Super Bowl," he said. "I don't really see that as anything you can look down upon. Obviously everyone can get better except the one team that wins the Super Bowl. I think the sky's the limit because you can see that there's the right pieces here in place."
Having played the Bills in 2011, Routt was also asked about his interception of Ryan Fitzpatrick during their Week 2 meeting. He said he remembered the play well.
"Me and Coach Gailey were just talking about that and he was asking me how did I know that play was coming?" Routt said with a laugh. "That was a good game. It was match up their offense and our defense, our offense and their defense, and I remember that game very vividly."
The Austin, Texas native was released by the Raiders largely due to a $5 million bonus the team would have had to pay last week. His play fell off dramatically after the departure of Nnamdi Asomugha a year ago. In 2011, Routt led all cornerbacks with nine touchdowns allowed and 17 pass interference calls. After a down year, he thinks new Bills defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt can help his game, having tracked him coach growing up.
"I remember Dave all the way when he was back with the Cowboys and the Bears," said Routt. "It was a pleasure meeting him. Obviously he’s a great guy and a great football mind and he can definitely bring a lot of things to a corner."
Despite talking up some of the Bills' good qualities, Routt also mentioned that his getting an early jump on free agency gives him an advantage in the process.
"I have a couple of more [visits] as soon as I leave here,’’ he said. "The beauty of this situation is that it happened so early that I have a chance to take my time and look at things from a broader perspective and just make the right decision when it’s all said and done.’’
Translation: I am going to use every team out there against each other to get the best contract in the best situation.
Routt will reportedly visit with the Kansas City Chiefs today, and has received some interest from the Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans. As he said, his timetable can be pretty extended.