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Buffalo Bills mailbag: 53-man roster projection, Tarvaris Jackson recap

In this week's mailbag, we discuss just how awesome the Tarvaris Jackson era was for Buffalo - plus more!


It's Friday, which means it's time for yet another Buffalo Bills mailbag featuring questions submitted by the fine readers of Buffalo Rumblings. If you have a burning inquiry you'd like to see addressed in this weekly feature, please send it our way - either to buffalorumblings AT gmail DOT com, or via Twitter @BuffRumblings. Here are this week's questions:

Given the apparent youth movement at One Bills Drive, do you think any more veteran cuts could be expected? - Tracy from TN

Brad Smith is easily the most-referenced name in this discussion, but as you can see below, I still believe that he'll ultimately make the team. The two players I focus on in this discussion are Rian Lindell and Erik Pears. Sixth-round pick Dustin Hopkins might need to be utterly horrific this summer to lose that kicking job to the fading Lindell. Buffalo's offensive line is in a state of transition; that might make keeping a veteran like Pears around more appealing, but ultimately he might be too pricy to retain if he can't beat Chris Hairston out for the starting right tackle job. Another sleeper name to keep an eye on here: Arthur Moats, who has a surprisingly high $1.323 million base salary this season.

Regarding salary cap terminology, what does "dead cap money" mean? - Mike

Dead money refers to dollars still on the books for players that are no longer on the roster. Ryan Fitzpatrick provides the best contemporary Bills example: when he was released in March, the team still had $10 million in bonus money on the books that they'd amortized over the life of his deal onto future cap seasons. They paid him a massive signing bonus when he signed in October 2011, but in an effort to stay under the cap in 2011, they split up that money and applied it to the cap over the next six years. Now that he's no longer with the team, that $10 million in dead money has since been split up into a $3 million hit this year and $7 million in 2014 thanks to the June 1 designation.

Can you go over what exactly the Bills and Seattle got/gave up with the Tarvaris Jackson deal? Because the way it looks to me, Buffalo got screwed. - John H.

Buffalo traded a seventh-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft to Seattle for Jackson. (That pick could have become a sixth-rounder based on playing time incentives, but Jackson obviously never reached those. Buffalo also recouped that pick when they traded down from No. 8 to No. 16 in April.) He earned $1.75 million in base salary last season, and pocketed another $500,000 on the contract he signed in February that he was just released from. He has also since re-signed with Seattle.

So, yes: Seattle essentially rented Jackson to Buffalo for ten months. Buffalo's expense for that rental, which lasted all of one very brief pre-season appearance? A seventh-round draft pick and $2.25 million. Seattle, for the record, packaged that seventh-round pick in a trade for wide receiver Percy Harvin; Minnesota used the pick on North Carolina offensive guard Travis Bond.

Now that the mandatory minicamp is up, care to update your 53-man roster projection prior to training camp? - Timmy

Sure! This will probably be my last projection until after training camp has begun on July 28.

Pos. STARTER Backup Reserve
FL 11 - T.J. Graham 16 - Brad Smith
TE 84 - Scott Chandler 85 - Lee Smith 89 - Chris Gragg *
LT 77 - Cordy Glenn 72 - Zebrie Sanders
LG 74 - Colin Brown 73 - Chris Scott
C 70 - Eric Wood 59 - Doug Legursky
RG 60 - Kraig Urbik
RT 75 - Chris Hairston 71 - Sam Young
SL 10 - Robert Woods * 88 - Marquise Goodwin *
SE 13 - Stevie Johnson 17 - Da'Rick Rogers *
QB 4 - Kevin Kolb 3 - E.J. Manuel *
RB 28 - C.J. Spiller 22 - Fred Jackson 20 - Tashard Choice
38 - Frank Summers
NT 99 - Marcell Dareus 90 - Alan Branch 98 - Torell Troup
DT 95 - Kyle Williams 92 - Alex Carrington
RE 94 - Mario Williams 93 - Mark Anderson
SLB 91 - Manny Lawson 55 - Jerry Hughes 53 - Keith Pough *
MLB 50 - Kiko Alonso * 54 - Marcus Dowtin 51 - Chris White
WLB 53 - Nigel Bradham 43 - Bryan Scott
LCB 24 - Stephon Gilmore 29 - Crezdon Butler
SS 25 - Da'Norris Searcy 23 - Aaron Williams 36 - Jonathan Meeks *
FS 31 - Jairus Byrd 27 - Duke Williams *
SCB 33 - Ron Brooks 37 - Nickell Robey *
RCB 21 - Leodis McKelvin 26 - Justin Rogers
K 5 - Dustin Hopkins *
P 6 - Shawn Powell
LS 65 - Garrison Sanborn