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Two Signings And Mini Camp Keeps Off Season Moving

James Jett The Bills concluded their second week of a three week mini camp and it concluded with two new faces on the roster as the team looks to add depth at all positions. Here is our take on all the issues from the week:

As mini camp continued the Bills signed two veteran players to help with the depth of the football team. WR James Jett was added on Tuesday and strong safety Chad Cota joined the team on Wednesday. Jett adds the speed element missing at wide receiver even though he only caught one pass in the last two years. Jett is excited to be a member of the Bills and hopes he can make plays to help the team. Jett spent all 11 years in the league with the Raiders. Cota signed a one year deal worth $680,000 with a $25,000 signing bonus. He adds veteran leadership to a young safety corps. He will challenge for the backup spot behind Coy Wire. Our Take: Both signings are risk free. If they make the team the veteran leadership they bring will be very helpful to the young guys at a very low price. If they don't it won't cost the team much against the cap to cut them. Cota especially should be able to help the very green Wire. It's a good sign that the team is constantly trying to add depth any way they can. They are looking at 60-70 more players this Monday.

Mini Camp continues and players seem to be developing the chemistry the coaches hoped for. London Fletcher and Takeo Spikes seem to be working very well together at linebacker and they have some good friendly competitiveness that will help push each player. They have hit it off and are becoming fast friends. Travis Henry and Willis McGahee seem to be getting along better than expected. Henry has helped groom McGahee and answered questions about the playbook. The two have been catching passes together in the jugs machine and have shown some friendly competitiveness in that drill. McGahee did jamb a thumb catching passes from the machine but he is expected to be fine. Our Take: The off season program seems to be doing wonders for the team chemistry. The team seems to be worried about McGahee trying to do too much, that is why doctors will visit him over the next month when he's not in Buffalo.

During the mini camp some depth chart questions have come up. The media is pondering whether or not Travis Brown has past Alex Van Pelt at the #2 QB spot. Who's the top fullback? Phillip Crosby has practiced with the first unit but the team did bring in Sam Gash this offseason. Is Mark Campbell ahead of Dave Moore at tight end? One report says Mike Pucillo is challenging Marques Sullivan at right guard. Our Take: It's fun to comment on battles in mini camp but it is too early to pick who will start. We don't think Pucillo will even come close to beating Sullivan out for the right guard spot. The other three battles mentioned will be interesting to watch in training camp.

With the team still comfortably under the salary cap speculation is going around about the Bills taking a pre-emptive strike. Antoine Winfield is due to become a free agent after this season and there are some rumblings that the Bills will try to lock him up to a long term deal sometime this summer. Our Take: The money is there under the cap and they can't let him go, lock him up now.

In other news, the enthusiasm for the team is transferring to the box office. Group sales started on Monday and almost immediately the opener against New England and the Sept 28th game against Philadelphia were nearly sold out. There are just single seats left for those games and individual game tickets don't even go on sale until next month. The Miami game is also selling well. This made this a good time for the team to announce that they are starting the renewal process on the suites and club seats. Those licenses expire just before the 2004 season. They need to re-sell 164 suites, 6,878 outdoor club seats and 1,800 indoor club seats. Our Take: The higher the enthusiasm, the better the ticket sales, the better for the long term stability of the team in Buffalo. This is the perfect time to start the renewal effort on the luxury seats.

The team announced that this coming Friday, the team will close mini camp with an open practice from 10:30am - 12:15pm. Fans will get to see the new look Bills and get a peek at the new artificial turf in the stadium. It will be free admission. Our Take: A nice thing to do for the fans.

Thurman Thomas will be honored as a new inductee into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be in October. Our Take: A very worthy honor. It will be a preamble to the wall of fame and the NFL hall of fame.

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