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Buffalo Bills Links, 2/18: Bills, J.J. Watt have “mutual interest”

Plus, other potential veteran free agents the Bills should consider signing.

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The Buffalo Bills are actively searching for ways to improve their pass rush on the heels of their 13-3 campaign and appearance in the AFC Championship game, and in today’s edition of the Bills links, we hear that the Bills have inquired about free-agent pass rusher J.J. Watt, and that the interest between both sides is “definitely mutual.”

The Bills are expected to face tough competition for Watt’s services, as they are among a half dozen teams still in the running to land the talented edge rusher.

Speaking of free agents, with linebacker Matt Milano set to hit free agency, we speculate on whether the Bills can bring back Milano and analyze the state of the linebackers, then examine potential free-agent linebackers the Bills could target should they lose Milano, who could command top dollar on the open market.

We break down five moves the Bills could make to gain some salary cap flexibility, identify veteran tight ends (Cameron Brate, Zack Ertz and Kyle Rudolph), defensive linemen (Kawann Short, Geno Atkins and Akiem Hicks), cornerbacks (Malcolm Butler and Casey Hayward) and an offensive lineman the Bills could look to sign if they are released by their current team, offer up contract projections for cornerback Josh Norman, discuss whether Dane Jackson and Cam Lewis could replace Norman and Levi Wallace if they depart via free agency, and more!

Bills, J.J. Watt Have “Mutual Interest”

Bills among ‘half-dozen teams’ still in running for J.J. Watt, source says | Buffalo Bills News | NFL |
The Buffalo News confirmed an ESPN report Wednesday that the Bills and J.J. Watt’s representative have been communicating and there is mutual interest.

NFL free agency rumors: J.J. Watt, Buffalo Bills have ‘mutual interest’ in a deal (Report) -
Watt was released by the Houston Texans last week.

Report: Interest between Bills, Watt ‘definitely mutual’ - WGR 550
“The J.J. Watt sweepstakes continue on Wednesday as the Buffalo Bills have reportedly thrown their name into the discussion,” writes Brayton J. Wilson.

Report: Buffalo Bills have inquired about defensive end JJ Watt and share mutual interest - WKBW
“Watt, 31, spent his entire 10 year career playing for the Houston Texans recording a total of 101 sacks, writes Paul Ross.

Bills latest team to show interest in free agent J.J. Watt, and feeling is mutual, per report -
“Watt and the Bills are both reportedly interested in joining forces,” writes Jordan Dajani.

State of the Bills: Linebackers and Matt Milano’s Future

Bills position series: Linebacker Matt Milano eyes free agency, causing potential hole | Buffalo Bills News | NFL |
“Matt Milano’s contract situation is one of the more important questions facing the Buffalo Bills this offseason, and the answer will have considerable ripple effects when it comes to the team’s linebacker depth, pass defense and roster construction,” writes Jason Wolf.

Bills free-agent linebacker targets - Sports Illustrated Buffalo Bills News, Analysis and More
If the Bills don’t re-sign Matt Milano, would Lavonte David or Jayon Brown be among their free-agent LB options?

Ways for Bills to Create Cap Space

5 moves Buffalo Bills can make to create cap space ahead of free agency -
The Bills have more than a few ways to create salary cap space this offseason.

Other Veteran Free Agents for Bills to Target

Bills should keep an eye on Kawann Short, Kyle Rudolph – The Athletic
“The Bills are going to be bargain shoppers this offseason,” writes Matthew Fairburn. (Subscription required)

QB Guru Jordan Palmer Bullish on Josh Allen’s Future

Jordan Palmer: Bills' Josh Allen might be 'most physically talented' to ever play quarterback | Buffalo Bills News | NFL |
"I think if you put a list together of the most physically talented players to ever play the position – I don’t know who else is on that list – but he sure is. He might be at the top of it," said Palmer.

Odds and Ends

Bills face a challenging offseason - WGR 550
Howard Simon’s list of priorities for the Buffalo Bills this offseason is a short one going into the free agency/trade portion of the league year, which kicks off next month.

Should NFL change its offseason program regiment? - Democrat & Chronicle
“Should NFL re-think offseason? NFLPA president, Batavia native JC Tretter says yes,” writes Sal Maiorana.

Bills Today | WNY high school coaches can hear from Bill Polian during this virtual coaches summit
Here are three things to know about the Bills for Wednesday, Feb. 17.

Featured on Buffalo Rumblings

Jamie D & Big Newt: End of Season Report Card - Buffalo Rumblings
A position group analysis of the Buffalo Bills.

Contract projection for Bills free agent cornerback Josh Norman - Buffalo Rumblings
He won’t make as much in 2020.

2020 All-22 Analysis: Buffalo Bills free agent cornerback Josh Norman - Buffalo Rumblings
A look at half the Bills’ solution opposite Tre’Davious White.

Can Dane Jackson, Cam Lewis make up for loss of Josh Norman, Levi Wallace this offseason? - Buffalo Rumblings
The Buffalo Bills have a very interesting offseason in front of them at cornerback.

Free-agent cornerbacks who could play for the Buffalo Bills in 2021 - Buffalo Rumblings
These are the potential starters if Levi Wallace isn’t retained.

BBR: Taking a pass on the free-agent crop of running backs - Buffalo Rumblings
Not the group the Bills should address in free agency.

Q&A: J.J. Watt, salary cap space, Matt Milano, RBs - Buffalo Rumblings
What are the biggest needs for the Bills this offseason?