Now three full off-seasons into his tenure as GM of the Buffalo Bills, Buddy Nix has crafted a current 88-man roster that features 17 players that he inherited from the Dick Jauron and Perry Fewell-led team he began gutting in January of 2010. After yesterday's two-year contract extension handed to running back Fred Jackson, Nix has now given new contracts to 11 of those holdovers, leaving just six players that have not gotten new deals on Nix's watch.
The names of those six players: left guard Andy Levitre, center Eric Wood, defensive end Spencer Johnson, cornerback Leodis McKelvin, free safety Jairus Byrd and punter Brian Moorman.
Wood, a 2009 first-round pick, is the only player in that group with two years remaining on his deal - and given the fact that he hasn't stayed healthy for 16 games yet in his NFL career, it's not likely that the Bills will be looking to extend him any time soon. The rest of the players are entering the final year of their respective deals.
Byrd and Levitre are the stand-outs here. Both were 2009 second-round picks, and both are in the final year of the rookie deals they signed the summer before their first training camp. Both have been core starters for the team almost from the get-go, and it's likely that the team will try to re-sign both. Byrd should be the priority between the pair - he is emerging as one of the league's more complete free safeties - but both should be retained.
Johnson, McKelvin and Moorman are all sort of in the same boat. Johnson is still listed by the team as a defensive end despite the move back to the 4-3 system; unless they have a change of heart and move him back to his more natural tackle position, it's tough to envision a 6'3", 304-pound defensive end having much of an impact in Dave Wannstedt's system. Still, he ranks among the more dependable contributors on a defensive line that is not as deep as most fans would like to believe. McKelvin could be the victim of a numbers game at cornerback, and Moorman - the oldest player on the team at age 36 - has had some consistency issues of late, though he was better in 2011 than he was in 2010.
Care to take a stab at who the first player to get a new contract from the Nix regime was? No? The answer may surprise you. Here's the list of 11 new contracts for Jauron-era holdovers, presented chronologically:
- 9/6/10: FB Corey McIntyre signs a two-year, $1.85 million extension.
- 9/29/10: DE Chris Kelsay signs a four-year, $24 million extension with $11 million guaranteed.
- 3/1/11: SS George Wilson signs a three-year, $7.05 million contract with $2.3 million in bonuses, preventing him from becoming a free agent.
- 8/26/11: DT Kyle Williams signs a six-year, $39 million extension with $17 million guaranteed.
- 10/28/11: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick signs a six-year, $59 million extension with $24 million guaranteed.
- 1/29/12: LS Garrison Sanborn signs a three-year, $3.14 million contract with $530,000 in bonuses, preventing him from becoming a free agent.
- 2/3/12: K Rian Lindell signs a four-year, $11 million contract with $3.6 million guaranteed, preventing him from becoming a free agent.
- 2/22/12: CB Terrence McGee signs a two-year, $4 million contract with a $300,000 signing bonus as part of a re-structured deal to make him more cap-friendly.
- 3/5/12: WR Stevie Johnson signs a five-year, $36.25 million contract with $18.05 million guaranteed, preventing him from becoming a free agent.
- 3/21/12: OLB Bryan Scott signs a one-year, $825,000 contract after spending a little over a week on the free agent open market.
- 5/7/12: RB Fred Jackson signs a two-year, $8.7 million extension with a $3 million signing bonus.