Tripplett Signs: The Bills continued their first day shopping spree as they signed DT Larry Tripplett on Saturday evening. He becomes the 2nd player to sign on day one of free agency for the team, they had brought in three players to visit. Tripplett was originally a 2nd round draft pick for the Colts but rarely lived up to his billing. He worked mostly as a backup for Indianapolis starting only two games in their rotation last year. He does have some tremendous upside. Marv Levy expects big things from his new defensive tackle, saying he has played well in the style of defense that they will have in Buffalo this year. He is delighted to have him in Buffalo and thinks of him as a guy with a great motor. Tripplett says it feels good to be in an organization the quality of Buffalo. He was very excited about Buffalo after meeting with the coaches. He likes to play a swarming, run to the football, attack style of defense. Tripplett's deal is for five years and is worth $18 Million, it includes a $5.5 Million signing bonus.
Bills Sign Royal: The Bills made a ripple if not a splash on the opening day of free agency by signing former Redskins TE Robert Royal to a five year contract worth about $10 Million. It includes a $2.5 Million signing bonus. Royal started 14 games for the Redskins last year and put up some lackluster numbers as he had 18 catches for 131 yards and one touchdown. He is considered a red zone threat who should take over the spot vacated by the release of Mark Campbell. Royal said he's excited to be a member of the Bills. He is happy to be here and get things started as they put together a winning team. He knew they were really interested in him so he wasn't that surprised it happened so quickly. He says he's more than just a blocking tight end and can't wait to go out and prove people wrong. Marv Levy said Royal fits into their style of offense and feel he is a player on the rise who will be key in the receiving attack along with being used as a solid blocking tight end.
Two Other Players Visit: The Bills had two other visitors on the first day of free agency. Former Colts DT Larry Tripplett and Patriots WR Andre Davis were in town. Both left without a contract. They were both key reserves for their former team and are looking for a bigger role in their new team. Davis called his visit a great one. He really likes the program and the organization. He is weighing his options now and is waiting to see what kind of offer he gets from the Bills. He has no other visits scheduled at this point. He is taking it one visit at a time but did say that the quarterback situation does factor into his decision. He only played nine games last year because he was bothered by a nagging toe injury. He caught nine passes in 2005 and has 102 career receptions, playing in Cleveland for three years before joining the Patriots last year, so he has experience playing with Kelly Holcomb. He said that was the number one reason he visited with the Bills since the two are close friends. Tripplett had 30 tackles and 4 sacks for the Colts last year in 13 games.
Free Agency Begins: Finally after a long wait free agency is officially underway. The Bills have many holes to fill and approximately $16 Million in cap space to work with. They say they will be players in the market and may be looking to sure up the porous offensive line first. Kevin Mawae will be in for a visit and a report says the team has strong interest in Redskins free agent TE Robert Royal. Other positions that need help include defensive line, safety, wide receiver, and tight end. What position do you think is most important to fill quickly in free agency? Take our poll on our homepage.
Clements Tender Increase: ESPN's John Clayton reports that the new CBA has raised the amount of the Bills tender to franchised free agent Nate Clements. He will now count roughly $7.22 Million to the salary cap. His one year franchise price went up by $1.3 Million.
Friday March 10, 2006
Stamer Signs: Restricted free agent Josh Stamer agreed to a new undisclosed deal with the team. He had been tendered a one year qualifying offer of $712,000. No word on how long the new deal is but the Bills continue to lock up some younger talent on the team.
Mawae To Visit: The first big name free agent is scheduled to visit with the Bills as free agency starts at 12:01am tomorrow morning. Kevin Mawae, who technically can sign with any team now since he was released by the Jets, will visit Buffalo according to his agent. He was in Miami already for a visit. He is an all-pro center who would immediately upgrade the middle of the Bills porous offensive line. Ralph Wilson said yesterday that the Bills will be active in the market but will not just throw money out there since they aren't in position to do so like the big market teams.
Wilson Still Against Deal: After a day to digest the entire CBA deal, Ralph Wilson said he would still vote no and be more emphatic about it. He said the deal was a panic move by the owners and while the larger market teams will pick up more of the slack it doesn't really change the landscape that much. He called the nearly $900 Million that the larger market teams will pick up as "scraps" and feels a larger structural change was needed.
Thursday March 9, 2006
Bills Against New CBA: The Bills and the Bengals were the two lone dissent votes on the new collective bargaining agreement that was reached last night. No officially word on whether or not the new deal also comes with an updated revenue sharing plan formula but the higher revenue teams will now take over the contributions to the player pool. Ralph Wilson told reporters he voted against it because it was too complex for him to understand the deal. The new deal raises the salary cap to $102 Million for this season and $109 Million next year. The cap is $7.5 Million higher than it would have been without a CBA, so mass cuts will not take place. Free agency will now start at 12:01am Friday morning but will most likely be pushed back one more day to Saturday.
Tuesday March 7, 2006
Adams To Miami? Sam Adams is in Miami today to meet with the Dolphins about possibly joining the team. Since he was released by the team he can sign with another team before free agency starts. His agent says that Adams will wait for the market to start however to see what his value is.
Monday March 6, 2006
Free Agency Delayed Again: The NFL has decided to give themselves and the union 72 more hours to strike a deal on a new CBA before starting free agency. The new deadline would start free agency at 12:01am on Thursday. This gives time for Paul Tagliabue to bring the latest proposal by the players to the owners at a meeting in Dallas on Tuesday. The new deadline for being under the cap is 9pm on Wednesday.
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