AFC East Notes: Bills, Taylor, Wendell, Branch

The Bills came into the 2016 offseason as one of the NFL’s most cap-strapped teams, and while the team was able to retain its top two free agents – offensive linemen Cordy Glenn and Richie Incognito – that lack of cap flexibility resulted in some key losses.

In speaking to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press about defensive lineman Stefan Charles and to Tom Curran of about wide receiver Chris Hogan, Buffalo general manager Doug Whaley repeated a similar refrain, suggesting that the Bills “can’t pay everybody.” The team non-tendered Charles, who was eligible for restricted free agency, allowing him to sign with the Lions as an unrestricted free agent. As for Hogan, he got an RFA tender from Buffalo, but it was a low-end tender, allowing the Patriots to sign him to an offer sheet that Whaley and the Bills couldn’t match.

“It was (difficult to let him go),” the Bills GM said of Hogan. “He’s done a great job, not only on the field as a third and fourth wide receiver (and) special teams, (but also) what he’s brought to the community. He’s a great asset to the Patriots. We’re sorry we’re gonna lose him. And add the fact that we’re gonna have to deal with him with the other end of that being (Tom) Brady, it’s a tough matchup because he’s a talented person.”

Here’s more from around the AFC East:

  • It appears increasingly likely that Tyrod Taylor will enter the 2016 season without a contract extension in hand, says Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News. According to one of Carucci’s sources, there has been little – if any – progress in contract talks between the Bills and their starting quarterback. The team is more focused on locking up cornerback Stephon Gilmore before the start of the 2016 campaign.
  • Veteran offensive lineman Ryan Wendell remains in a holding pattern when it comes to his free agency, agent Frank Bauer tells Mike Reiss of Wendell’s 2015 season ended after just two games due to a knee injury, and even if and when he returns to full health, it’s not clear whether there will be a spot on the Patriots‘ 2016 roster for him.
  • Defensive end Andre Branch is looking forward to a “new beginning” in Miami that will see him become part of a Dolphins‘ defensive line featuring players like Ndamukong Suh, Mario Williams, and Cameron Wake. As James Walker of details, Branch is expected to fill the hole vacated by Derrick Shelby, who signed with the Falcons.
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