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Bills Daily Week in Review - Jan. 5th - Jan. 30th, 1999

January News

January 30, 1999

Levy misses Hall: Former Bills head coach Marv Levy was not elected into the hall of fame today on his first ballot. Former Bills Billy Shaw did make it, being elected by the veterans committee. This was a relatively weak class and since Levy did not make it this time, I'm afraid to say he may never make it.

Thomas contract extension near: Reports are saying that the Bills may be about to add two years to the contract of Thurman Thomas to create some salary cap room to sign free agents. This may mean that Thurman plans to play at least two more seasons and shows again the class of this man who is willing to defer money to keep others on the team.

January 28, 1999

Bills look at contracts:The Bills have begun to look at salaries to decide how to get enough room under the cap to re-sign their own free agents and maybe add one or two from other teams. First, on the agenda is getting Jerry Ostroski to agree to a deal. They may try to get John Fina and Sam Rogers to restructure their contracts so they will have room under the cap to sign Ostroski.

January 23, 1999

Pendry stays with Bills:When the smoke finally cleared on two wild, topsy turvy days in the windy city Dave McGinnis is not the coach of the Bears, but fortunately for Bills fans Joe Pendry isn't either. The Bears definitely wanted a defensive minded coach and they have hired Jacksonville defensive coordinator Dick Jauron as their new head coach (assuming this one sticks). With all the coaching vacancies filled, Pendry will be back for a second season as Offensive Coordinator of the Bills. The Bills narrowly escaped having their fourth offensive coordinator in four years. This is great news as their will be continuity on offense and they won't have to learn from scratch instead of building on what they did this past season.

January 21, 1999

Bills Sign QB:Perhaps as insurance in case they lose Alex Van Pelt in the expansion draft, the Bills signed another CFL Quarterback. Michael Cawley played for the Hamilton Tiger Cats last season and was formerly on the Atlanta Falcons roster before the Bills signed him. He went to college at Syracuse before transferring to James Madison

January 16, 1999

Expansion List: The Bills made four offensive and one defensive player available for the expansion draft, here's the list:

  • RB Clarence "Pooh Bear" Williams
  • QB Alex Van Pelt
  • WR Quinn Early
  • C Bill Conaty
  • DB Ray Jackson
No real surprises here, with the possible exception of Pooh Bear, I thought the Bills were high on him and would have placed another marginal player on the list instead of him. Check out the complete expansion list at

January 12, 1999

Free Agent Shopping:Check out KFFL's website for the latest list of Free Agents and the complete look at the NFL Important Dates.

January 9, 1999

Take a look at my off season preview article featured on Two Bills Drive.

Flutie gets Award:Bills QB Doug Flutie was honored as the first recipient of the AP Comeback Player of the Year Award. Doug won convincingly beating out Randall Cunningham of the Vikings and the Jets' Vinny Testerverde. Flutie won it over those guys since he was out of the NFL for all those years.

Flutie's Agent to re-negotiate:The award will be one more feather in the cap of Flutie's Agent Jack Mula who will meet with Bills General Manager John Butler the week of the Senior Bowl to begin talks on re-negotiating the Quarterback's contract. He will no doubt be looking at a contract that compares with the ones recently signed by Cunningham and Testerverde. That would give Doug between $5-$6 Million a year. Flutie's present contract guarantees him at least $2.75 Million for 1999 since the incentives he reached automatically gets carried over to 99. Can the Bills afford to have two quarterbacks making more than $5 Million a year?

State of the Bills Address: Head Coach Wade Phillips talked optimistically about 1999 during his State of the Bills Address last week. Phillips said the Bills will keep both QBs next season because you need two starter-quality quarterbacks to win in the NFL. He did dodge the question about who his starter will be. He said his depth chart is the same as it was when the season ended, but wouldn't say if their would be an open competition for the QB job during training camp. Flutie figures there will be.

Van Miller to return:The Bills play by play announcer Van Miller said he will be back behind the mike for the 1999 season.

The Bills are in pretty good shape as far as free agent Players for 1999. They have a total of only 13 Free Agents with just six of them unrestricted. The Big Key may be after next season when eight current starters will become free agents if there contracts aren't renegotiated this off season.

January 6, 1999

Pataki Takes swipe at Officials:In his annual State of the State Address New York Governor George Pataki took a dig at the NFL Referees while using an analogy for local government. He said: "The role of government should be like the role of a referee in a football game -- good referees -- not like the ones who officiated the last three Buffalo Bills games."

January 5, 1999

Off Season Surgeries:OT John Fina will undergo surgery to repair damaged knee cartilage. DL Shawn Price will have an operation to take out the metal plate in his elbow, which he had put in after a motorcycle accident last year.

Johnson Apologizes:Dolphins head coach Jimmy Johnson sent a letter of apology to Doug Flutie after he stomped on flutie flakes after the playoff game. Johnson said he respects Flutie and did not mean any harm by his actions.

Pike Retires:Bills Special Teams ace Mark Pike said after the game that he is retiring. That will leave the Bills with just three players who have played in all four Super Bowls. Bills GM John Butler said "I would take an entire team of Mark Pikes"

Classless Johnson:Miami Head Coach Jimmy Johnson showed no class by breaking a box of Flutie Flakes on the floor and having his secondary, which got torched all game by Flutie for 360 yards, stomp on them. Flutie reacted by saying "that is like stomping on my son". Proceeds from Flutie Flakes goes toward his son's foundation for Autism.

Lease Signed. Stadium Re-named:The Bills officially signed the lease today that could keep the team in Buffalo at least until 2013. Governor George Pataki and Bills Owner Ralph Wilson were on hand for the signing. Acting on Pataki's recommendation the Bills have announced that the stadium will be re-named Ralph Wilson Stadium effective immediately. Check out my article analyzing the lease agreement.

Bills Adjust Flutie's Contract: Flutie's huge year has caused the Bills salary cap concerns. His original $250,000 per year contract had many incentives which he is reaching and that all would go to next year's cap. Currently he has earned over $2 Million in bonuses. He has reworked his contract so the bonuses can be paid next year giving the Bills some salary cap relief. Talks have also begun on an extension of his contract that runs through next season. If that happens what happens to Rob Johnson's future with the team?

Wilson continues generosity: The Bills Owner is at it again, after hearing about Flutie's contract adjustment he decided to give him the $250,000 he would have received as a bonus if the refs didn't take the New England Game away. One of the incentive clauses is $250,000 for each victory after 9 wins that he gets if he takes over 70% of the snaps during the season.

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