AFC East Notes: Gilmore, Butler, Ajayi, Bills

Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore will not attend the club’s OTA sessions as he angles for a new contract, sources tell Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News. General manager Doug Whaley said in February that a Gilmore extension was a “priority,” and he reiterated earlier this month that the Bills’ long-term discussions with Gilmore (and several other players) would become more important now that the draft has passed. As Dunne details, Gilmore — who could use Josh Norman, Janoris Jenkins, and Darrelle Revis as comparables in talks — shouldn’t be considered a “holdout” unless he sits out mandatory camp activities in mid-June.

Here’s more from Buffalo and the rest of the AFC East…

  • “I’m not going to discuss that right now,” Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler said of his contract status while appearing on WEEI yesterday. “Whenever the time comes, it comes. I’m a football player. I’m not a GM.” Butler, 26, will play out his rookie deal in 2016 before becoming a restricted free agent following the 2017 campaign, so New England has some time before it truly needs to make a decision on its defensive back. Still, the Chandler Jones trade was thought to be made with an eye towards freeing up future cap space in order to retain Butler, Dont’a Hightower, and Jamie Collins, so it would be an upset if the Patriots and Butler didn’t come to an agreement at some point.
  • Speaking on WQAM in Miami, Dolphins head coach Adam Gase said that second-year running back Jay Ajayi is the man to beat in the club’s backfield rotation. “He’s been one of those guys he’s been here every day,” Gase said of Ajayi, according to Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel. “The rest of that group has done a good job to try and keep up with him, but obviously he’s kind of separated himself from that group as far as the consistency of what he does day in and day out.” Ajayi is part of a contingent, including Damien Williams, Daniel Thomas, rookie Kenyan Drake, and others, that will try to replace Lamar Miller, who left for the Texans in free agency.
  • One major area of weakness for the Bills is the right side of their offensive line, where John Miller is projected to play at guard while a cavalcade of players — including Cyrus Kouandjio, Seantrel Henderson, and Jordan Mills — is expected to compete for time. Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News analyzes the club’s offensive line as a whole, opining that Kouandjio, in particular, could be looking at his final opportunity to hold his roster spot. Louis Vasquez, Will Beatty, and Ryan Wendell are a few of the best offensive lineman remaining on the open market where the Bills to look for an outside addition. Free agent guard Jahri Evans is another option (and has already taken a visit with Buffalo), but a March report indicated that the club would not be signing him.
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