Bills Rumors

Bills Interested In Jesse James

The top tight ends have all found their new homes, but there are still some (relatively) big names left for the second wave. One of those is Jesse James, who is apparently on the radar of an AFC contender.

The Bills are interested in James, sources told Tony Pauline of ProFootballNetwork. Those same sources did caution that “they are not close to a contract.” James was released by the Lions last month just halfway through the four-year, $22.6MM pact he signed with Detroit back in 2019. James started his career as a fifth-round pick of the Steelers back in 2015. He flashed some potential in Pittsburgh, including with a 423-yard campaign in 2018.

That potential earned him the big contract from the Lions, but the Penn State product disappointed there. In 32 games (18 starts) over the past two years in Detroit, James has hauled in 30 receptions for 271 yards and two touchdowns. The Bills didn’t get a ton of production from the position in 2020 despite having a dynamic passing game overall, so it’s not too surprising they’re looking to add to the group.

2019 third-rounder Dawson Knox led the Bills’ tight ends with only 288 yards last season. Pauline writes that it could be a situation where Buffalo or another team looking for help there signs James on “Day 3 of the draft if they can’t come away with a tight end in Rounds 2-4.”

Buffalo already has a great receiving group highlighted by Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley, so tight end is the natural spot to bolster as they look to take the next step in 2021.

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NFL Distributes Performance-Based Payouts

Since 2002, the NFL’s performance-based pay system has rewarded low-salary players who exceed their expected playing time. This year, due to the pandemic, the league and the players’ union negotiated a gradual payout schedule, one that will meter out the money between now and 2024.

All in all, the league divested $8.5MM per club. This year’s top earner is Buccaneers guard Alex Cappa, a 2018 third-round pick who played every single snap for the eventual champs. Cappa will now receive an extra $622K on top of his $750K base salary for 2021. Per the union’s records, 25 other players also topped $500K, including Cardinals tackle Kelvin Beachum ($604K), Bills cornerback Taron Johnson ($579K), Rams guard Austin Corbett ($573K), Lions cornerback Amani Oruwariye ($572K), Bears tackle Germain Ifedi ($571K), Steelers offensive lineman Chukwuma Okorafor ($568K), Vikings offensive lineman Dakota Dozier ($561K), Ravens safety DeShon Elliott ($557K) and Bucs safety Jordan Whitehead ($555K).

The full list, going team-by-team, can be found here, courtesy of the NFLPA.

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Bills Sign Forrest Lamp

The Bills have signed guard Forrest Lamp to a one-year deal, per a club announcement. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it’s likely for something near the veteran’s minimum.

[RELATED: Bills Meet With Le’Raven Clark]

The Chargers selected Lamp in the second round of the 2017 draft to solidify their offensive line. Considered one of the safest offensive line prospects in the draft, the Western Kentucky product has yet to live up to that billing. Lamp’s first season was spiked by a torn ACL. After a knee procedure in 2018 and a broken ankle in 2019, Lamp suited up for just nine total games in his first three years under contract.

Injuries have kept him on the sidelines for much of his career, but he bounced back last year to play on 100% of his snaps last year. With the Bills, he has a chance to prove that the injury bug is behind him.

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Contract Details: Dunlap, Bills, Texans, Burns

Let’s catch up on some of the latest contract details from around the league:

  • Seahawks DE Carlos Dunlap: Two-years, $13.6MM. This had previously been reported as $16.6MM, but it turns out Seattle got Dunlap back for a few million cheaper than that, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. It’s actually a five-year pact with three years that automatically void for cap spreading purposes. As previously reported, it has $8.5MM in guaranteed money. Dunlap was set to have a $14.1MM cap charge for 2021 before the Seahawks cut him and then re-signed him to this less expensive deal.
  • Bills LB Tyler Matakevich: One-year extension. Buffalo gave their special teams ace a one-year extension through the 2022 season, which lowered his 2021 cap number to $2.95MM from $3.7MM, Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic tweets. His base salary for 2021 is now fully guaranteed. He’ll count for $3.25MM against the 2022 cap, but there will only be $750K in dead money if he’s released.
  • Texans CB Tavierre Thomas: Two-years, $4MM. We now have details on this contract, as Thomas will be getting $2MM in guaranteed money, Wilson tweets. Not bad for a player who prior to 2020 was mostly a special teams guy. He ended up playing almost 20 percent of the defensive snaps for the Browns last year as they dealt with injuries in their secondary. He got a $1MM signing bonus, a $1MM guaranteed salary for 2021, and a non-guaranteed $1.5MM salary for 2022 with $250K in per game active roster bonuses for each season.
  • Bears CB Artie Burns: One-year, $990K. The financial terms on this one were previously not reported, and it turns out the former first-round pick only got the veteran’s minimum from Chicago, Wilson tweets. The 25th pick of the 2016 draft by the Steelers got over $1MM to sign with the Bears last offseason, but then tore his ACL in August before playing a down for the team.

Bills To Meet With OL Le’Raven Clark

The Bills continue to hunt for roster depth. They are set to meet with veteran offensive lineman Le’Raven Clark, Field Yates of tweets.

Clark has spent his entire career with the Colts, arriving in Indianapolis as a third-round pick in 2016 and spending most of his time there as a swing backup. He signed a one-year deal to stay with the Colts last March but may now need to relocate to continue his career.

One of Patrick Mahomes‘ blockers at Texas Tech, Clark has started 15 games throughout his pro career. Although, the Colts did not turn to him as a full-timer. Clark maxed out at five starts in 2017. He did line up with Indianapolis’ first-stringers in three games last season but saw an Achilles tear end that campaign early.

Clark, 27, suffered the injury in early December and will not be ready to return to action for several months. But the Bills are monitoring the five-year veteran nonetheless. Buffalo has agreed to deals with multiple depth pieces this week, signing tackle Bobby Hart and linebackers Tyrell Adams and Marquel Lee.

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Bills Sign LB Marquel Lee

After being out of football last season, Marquel Lee will receive another chance. The Bills agreed to terms with the veteran linebacker Wednesday.

A former Raiders fifth-round pick, Lee signed a one-year deal with the Bills. The Raiders waived Lee last August, and he did not catch on elsewhere for what would have been his fourth season. He will have a chance to play that fourth NFL season in Buffalo.

The Raiders used the Wake Forest alum as a starter in 19 games from 2017-19, deploying Lee as a primary first-stringer in 2018, but ankle issues landed him on injured reserve early in the 2019 season. Lee has played in two games since September 2019. In 2018, he made 68 tackles and broke up three passes.

Lee will join Tyrell Adams as offseason fliers at linebacker for a Bills team already fairly deep at the position. Adams, a Texans starter last year, also signed with the Bills on Wednesday. Buffalo re-signed Matt Milano and Tyler Matakevich this offseason and already rosters Tremaine Edmunds and A.J. Klein.

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Bills To Sign LB Tyrell Adams

The Bills have agreed to sign linebacker Tyrell Adams, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Exact terms of the deal are not yet known.

Adams spent much of his Texans tenure bouncing between the practice squad and the varsity squad. Last year, however, he made 12 starts for Houston. Like many of last year’s first-string defenders, he wasn’t brought back by the Texans, leading him to Buffalo.

Technically, this marks the veteran’s second time with the Bills. The first stint in 2017 lasted just a couple of hours — GM Brandon Beane claimed him and quickly cut him loose again due to injury.

Adams, 28, performed admirably in Benardrick McKinney‘s stead. In 2020, he notched a new career high of 125 tackles with two sacks and two forced fumbles (both FFs came on Thanksgiving against the Lions). In the interest of equal time — the advanced metrics Pro Football Focus didn’t reflect well on his performance, placing him outside of the league’s top 60.

Adams joins a solid LB group in Buffalo that also features Tremaine Edmunds, Matt Milano, and A.J. Klein.

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Bills Meet With LB Tyrell Adams

One of several Texans 2020 starters no longer with the team, Tyrell Adams booked a Bills visit. The defending AFC East champions brought in the veteran linebacker for a meeting, Field Yates of tweets.

Although Adams bounced on and off Houston’s practice squad at previous points during his three-year tenure with the franchise, he started 12 games last season. Adams spent a few hours as a Bill in 2017, with the team claiming the defender off waivers from the Raiders during the Sean McDermottBrandon Beane regime’s first year. But the Bills sent Adams back to the waiver wire due to an injury.

The Texans, who added Adams in 2018, re-signed him in 2020 to a one-year deal worth $970K. An injury to Benardrick McKinney prompted Adams’ rise to a starting role for the first time, and the former UDFA made 125 tackles — up from his previous career high of 18 — in his fifth pro season. While Pro Football Focus graded the 28-year-old defender outside its top 60 at linebacker, he filled up the stat sheet by adding two sacks and forcing two fumbles.

Like most spots on their roster, the Bills are well-fortified at linebacker. They have Tremaine Edmunds on his rookie contract and just signed Matt Milano to a four-year extension. Buffalo also has A.J. Klein on its roster and just re-signed special-teamer Tyler Matakevich.

Bills Sign T Bobby Hart

On a busy Tuesday for offensive line transactions, the Bills added some potential depth. They signed veteran tackle Bobby Hart.

The Bills signed Hart to a one-year contract. A former Giants seventh-round pick, Hart spent the past three seasons as the Bengals’ starting right tackle.

Despite Hart’s seventh-round arrival, he has spent extensive time in teams’ starting lineups. The Giants used him as a first-stringer in 21 games in three seasons but cut him on the first day of Dave Gettleman‘s GM tenure. The Bengals scooped Hart up and used the ex-Day 3 draftee as a 45-game starter — including all 16 games during the 2018 and ’19 seasons — and signed him to multiple contracts.

While Hart has been viewed as a low-end tackle option for much of his career, Pro Football Focus did give the Florida State alum his highest career mark last season and ranked him 49th among tackles. In Buffalo, however, Hart would be ticketed for a backup job.

The Bills recently re-signed right tackle Daryl Williams to a multiyear deal and have Dion Dawkins entrenched as their left tackle. The Bills did enter Tuesday light on swing tackle options. Hart, 26, would make sense for such a role.

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