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Buffalo Bills free agent connections

We take a look at free agents who will have ties to the coaching staff.

Every year during NFL free agency, teams love to sign players who have connections to their coaches. With an entirely new coaching staff (minus special teams coordinator Danny Crossman), the Buffalo Bills have a myriad of new player-coach connections worth monitoring closely.

For your convenience, here is a compilation of logical player-coach connections with pertinent player information for the Bills among players set to be free agents in March.

They’ve been labeled in three ways; direct connections, indirect connections, and past connections. Direct Connections played for the coach in 2016 on that coach’s side of the ball. Indirect Connections played with the coach in 2016 but on the other side of the ball. Past Connections played for the coach on a different team before 2016, generally on the same side of the ball. (Note: only direct connections are listed for non-coordinators. Coaches with an “assistant” tag on their job title are not included. Also, the age listed for each player is how old they’ll be when the 2017 regular season begins.)

Sean McDermott, Head Coach
Direct Connections

DT Kawann Short

With McDermott from 2013 to 2016, this 6’3”, 299-pound defensive tackle is 28 and recorded 11 sacks in 2015 and six in 2016. He has played in the past 32 regular season games. (Carolina hit Short with the non-exclusive franchise tag, but Short has yet to sign it.)

DT Kyle Love

After bouncing around to start his NFL career, Love found a home in Carolina in 2014. The 6’1”, 301-pounder, who’s 30, appeared in 25 games over the past two seasons for the Panthers and recorded 4.5 sacks.

CB Leonard Johnson

Only with McDermott in 2016, the 5’10”, 198-pound defensive back was also with Leslie Frazier in Tampa Bay in 2014. That year, he had 46 tackles, four passes defended, and one interception. This past season, the 27 year old didn’t have a pick but made 30 tackles and had a sack.

DT Paul Soliai

Played for the Panthers in 2016. Made eight tackles and forced one fumble in 10 games. He’s 33 years old.

Indirect Connections

WR Ted Ginn

The speedy 5’11”, 178-pound receiver was with McDermott in 2013, 2015, and 2016. At 32 years old, he is coming off a 54-catch, 752-yard season with four touchdowns.


The 31-year-old was in Carolina from 2012 to 2016. Made the Pro Bowl in 2013 and 2015.

Rick Dennison, offensive coordinator

Direct Connections

WR Jordan Taylor

The 6’5”, 204-pound receiver had 16 catches for 209 yards and two touchdowns in 2016 and is 25.

WR Jordan Norwood

With Dennison the past two seasons in Denver, he has a pair of 20-catch, 200-yard seasons and scored two touchdowns in 2016. He is 5’11”, and 171 pounds and 30 years old.

WR Bennie Fowler

Another receiver with Dennison for the past two seasons, the 6’1”, 217-pound 26-year-old had 27 receptions for 348 yards and two touchdowns.

RB Justin Forsett

The 31-year-old running back was in Denver in 2016 but also worked with the coordinator in Baltimore in 2014 and Houston in 2012. Looking past his 43 carries for 155 yards and a touchdown a year ago, the 5’8”, 190-pound back had 235 carries, 1,266 yards, and eight touchdowns in 2014.

Indirect Connections

DL Sylvester Williams,

A 6’3”, 313-pound lineman who had 29 tackles and a sack in 2016.

DL Vance Walker

Walker played with Denver in 2016 but spent last year on injured reserve. The 6’2”, 295-pound lineman is 30.

CB Kayvon Webster

The 27-year-old played in 28 games in the past two seasons for Denver but recorded only one pass defended in 13 games a year ago. He is 5’11”, 195-pounds.

Past Connections

WR Kamar Aiken

The former Bills receiver was with Dennison in Baltimore in 2014. He had 24 receptions, 267 yards, and 3 touchdowns that season. The 6’2”, 213-pound wideout is 28. Leslie Frazier was on the Ravens coaching staff in 2016.

Leslie Frazier, defensive coordinator
Direct Connections

DE Lawrence Guy

At 27 years old, the 6’5”, 300-pound former Ravens defender registered 28 tackles, 1 sack in 16 games in 2016

S Matt Elam

Elam notched just one tackle in nine games for the Ravens. He is 25 and 5’10”, 208-pounds.

CB Jerraud Powers

At 30, Powers had 33 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 sack, and 5 passes defended in 13 games in 2016. He is 30, 5’9”, and 190-pounds.

Past Connections

S Bradley McDougald

He spent two seasons with Frazier with the Buccaneers recording 50 tackles, 7 passes defended, 1 interception in 15 games in 2014 and 87 tackles, 4 passes defended, 2 interceptions in 16 games in 2015. The 6’0”, 215-pound safety is 26.

CB Josh Robinson

It’s been a few years sine their two seasons together in Minnesota, but Robinson had two 50-tackle seasons over the past two years. He is 5’10”, 199 pounds.

LB Gerald Hodges

Standing 6’1”, 243 pounds, the 26-year-old was with Frazier in 2013. His stats were minimal that year.

David Culley, quarterbacks coach

Kansas City Chiefs: RB Knile Davis

Bob Babich, linebackers coach

San Diego Chargers: LB Melvin Ingram, LB/DE Manti Te’o, LB Tourek Williams

Rob Boras, tight ends coach

Los Angeles Rams: WR Brian Quick, QB Case Keenum, RB Benny Cunningham

Juan Castillo, offensive line coach / run game coordinator

Baltimore Ravens: Vladimir Ducasse, OL (SIGNED WITH BILLS)

Kelly Skipper, running backs coach

Jacksonville Jaguars: OL Patrick Omameh, RB Denard Robinson, WR Bryan Walters, OL Kelvin Beachum

Mike Waufle, defensive line coach

St. Louis Rams: CB Trumaine Johnson, S T.J. McDonald, DT Cam Thomas