When they did so, it felt like the team was signing a versatile, experienced player to slide in as the No. 3 safety on the depth chart, to replace restricted free agent Bacarri Rambo, who was not tendered an offer before free agency began, and who remains unsigned.
Evidently, however, the team told Blanton that he'd have an opportunity to compete for a starting job in training camp this summer.
"... he was told that he'd have a chance to start at safety in this defense," wrote Tyler Dunne of The Buffalo News in a brief interview with Blanton on Friday.
"That's what I'm going in there to do," Blanton said of starting in the same interview. "Come into work every day, do my job, and I feel like I can be the best. I feel like I'm the best guy for the job. So I just have to come in and be Robert Blanton - do my job - and the rest will take care of itself."
In his four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Blanton started 17 of the 60 games he appeared in, with 13 of those starts coming in 2013, when he was the second safety on the Vikings' depth chart. He fell back into a reserve role in 2015, and then hit unrestricted free agency after his replacement, Andrew Sendejo, signed a four-year deal worth $4 million annually.
The Bills have two returning starters at safety, but a return from a serious neck injury still lingers for Aaron Williams, while Corey Graham struggled as the 2015 season wore on and will be 31 in July. They'll be the projected starters heading into training camp, but apparently, Blanton will be nipping at their heels.