The safety position is regarded by many as one that the Buffalo Bills can and should try to upgrade during the 2016 offseason, but every time general manager Doug Whaley conducts an interview, he gives off the vibe that the team is fairly content with the players they currently have there.
That starts with Aaron Williams, the fifth-year starter that missed all but three games in the 2015 regular season due to a neck injury. Whaley said just this week that Williams could have played in the playoffs had Buffalo made it, despite Williams' own misgivings about his long-term outlook as a player. In an interview with The John Murphy Show on Wednesday, Whaley finally seemed to acknowledge Williams' remarks on his future, while re-affirming his confidence that the 2011 second-round pick will be ready to play next year.
"We're leaning on the medical staff," Whaley said of Williams' prognosis. "Those neck things are always tricky. We're going to have to see, once he gets out there and starts playing, how does he feel with it. But medically he's cleared, and he's ready to go."
Whaley did acknowledge that the Bills could use some additional safety depth - top reserve Bacarri Rambo is a restricted free agent, veteran Leodis McKelvin hasn't made a permanent position switch and is a prime candidate to be released, and third-year pro Duke Williams seemed to fall out of favor with the coaching staff - but also spoke confidently about veteran Corey Graham, who just finished his first year as a full-time safety.
"Another year of Corey Graham playing back there, making that transition from corner to safety, now he's opening his eyes up to see the whole field. So another year of learning that, I think, will help us too," Whaley said on Wednesday.
There has been some speculation that Graham, who turns 30 this summer, could be a cap casualty, as well, given that he'd save the Bills $2.675 million against the 2016 salary cap if released, per data from Spotrac.com and Overthecap.com. The Bills can't cut everybody out of cap convenience, however, and from the sounds of it, Graham is safe.
If Whaley's comments are to be taken at face value, then, any moves the Bills make at safety this offseason will be done to bolster depth. Not banking on Williams' health and Graham's being a long-term fixture at the position may be a wiser position to take.