The Buffalo Bills failed to extend or use their franchise tag on their free agent safety Jairus Byrd. As he hits the free agent market, here are some players the Bills should target with their nearly $26 million in cap space when free agency begins on March 11th.
James Jones, WR, Green Bay Packers: The wide out had an opportunity to show that his 2012 season wasn’t a fluke and that he could take the reigns as a second receiver. Instead, he disappointed with injuries in 2013 and didn’t play up to what many believed he could. Jones is, physically, a bigger receiver than any the Bills carry on their roster. It’s widely known that if the Bills are in position they would rather draft Clemson WR Sammy Watkins. However, with Watkins’ star rising it’s becoming increasingly more likely that he won’t be there at ninth overall. With that in mind the Bills signing Jones to an under the radar type deal (3 years, $15 million) may be enough to preserve future cap space while bringing in a polished NFL receiver with the skill set the Bills are looking for.
Brandon Spikes, LB, New England Patriots: Spikes was deactivated in the postseason for conduct detrimental to the team, but it may be a case where a player didn’t conform to the Patriot way. A rebirth in Buffalo could be a breath of fresh air for the thumping linebacker. Spikes is sure to draw attention from other teams, but he is a two down linebacker that loves to hit and blow up run plays. Spikes would fit perfectly as a middle linebacker in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense and allow the Bills to utilize all-rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso as a weakside linebacker in a 4-3 or as the chase down backer in a 3-4. It’s a position of need for the Bills and though there are some notable linebackers in this draft, Spikes offers versatility and immediate help against the run.
Jon Asamoah/Geoff Schwartz, OG, Kansas City Chiefs: Asamoah was the starter for the Chiefs to start the season and then Schwartz was plugged into the lineup in Week 11. Schwartz has stated he won’t sign anywhere unless he’s “paid like a starter.” Schwartz is a player that can play either tackle or guard and is strong as a run blocker. However, the more interesting player for the Bills is Asamoah. A third round pick in 2010, he still has plenty of years of playing at a high level. Asamoah is a better pass protector than Schwartz, and with the hole that was the left guard spot in Buffalo, so Asamoah would be the smarter signing. The Bills need to draft more depth along the offensive line, but after failing to address the need last year in the draft, it has to be addressed now in free agency. Either player will help solidify the line and thus give EJ Manuel more time in the pocket.