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Buffalo Bills News - March 6, 2002

Marker AFC Needs: Buffalo [6:29 PM]
ESPN reports: @ The hole: Alex Van Pelt is being paid around $1 million a year to be either the backup or the starting QB, but new OC Gilbride cannot live with just one QB. That's why Gilbride and the Bills management walked around the combine over the weekend looking for agents who had QBs, as well as checking out all of the QBs who were throwing in the RCA Dome.

The solutions: It's pretty simple. Sign Jeff Blake. For some reason, the Bills are wondering if Blake has a lingering ankle problem from the 2000 season. He's had a year on the sidelines as Aaron Brooks' backup to rest the ankle, so he should be fine. Blake and Jonathan Quinn are the two veterans the Bills are talking to, but Blake is the right fit.

Marker LB Cowart to join Jets [3:41 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: '"We're jumping up and down with joy to sign him," said one Jets team source. "He's one of the top two or three backers in the game."'

Marker Cowart agrees to deal with Jets [3:40 PM]
Fox Sports reports: 'The former Pro Bowl star agreed to a six-year, $31 million deal with the New York Jets.'

Marker Ex-Bills linebacker Sam Cowart to sign with Jets [3:38 PM]
AP reports: 'A league source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the deal was to be completed late Wednesday.'

Marker 2001 Season Review - Statistical suprises [3:19 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: @ Statistical suprises are better than Tuna Surprise but remember that statistics (i.e. QB rating) can be deceiving.

Marker QB Market - too many pegs and/or too few holes [2:22 PM]
The Sporting News reports: @ With Miller and Dilfer resigning, that leaves a few too many pegs and/or too few holes, and the QB market figures mostly to be on mute. The Bills might be interested in tabbing Jeff Blake, who could compete for the starting job. Rob Johnson reportedly is headed to Houston, where he will do the Texans absolutely no good in three games before getting hurt.

Marker Linebacker Cowart will be reunited with Cottrell [1:18 PM]
ESPN reports: @ For months the Bills and middle LB Sam Cowart have argued in negotiations over how much risk the team should assume in a long-term contract following a season in which he partially tore an Achilles tendon. The AFC East rival Jets were willing to take more of the risk and will now put Cowart against the Bills twice a year. Cowart agreed to a six-year, $31 million contract that included a $1.8 million signing bonus and a play-time option bonus in 2003 that could be as much a $6 million.

Marker Cowart now a NJ Jet - Bills looking seriously at Fletcher and others [1:17 PM]
WNSA reports: @ With Sam Cowart now a New York Jet, the Bills will be really looking at London Fletcher who played for the St. Louis Rams. He's 5'11", 241 pounds and was the top tackler for the Rams. In 2000 he recorded 133 tackles with 5.5 sacks and last season added 199 stops with 4.5 sacks. He also picked off 6 passes in the last two years.

Now with Rob Johnson definitely out of Buffalo (and reportedly eager to join the Houston Texans) the QB situation also needs to be addressed. Up comes the name of Jonathan Quinn. Already chants of "The Mighty Quinn" might be ringing around Orchard Park.

Marker Bills foundation grant aids day camp [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Summer Days program run by the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers has received a $5,000 grant from the Buffalo Bills Youth Foundation.'

Marker 2002 NFL Mock Draft Tracker [7:59 AM]
TBD reports: Now that March is arrived it is time to seriously focus on the upcoming draft. Keep track of mock drafts around the internet with our Mock Draft Tracker!

Marker Bills planning to interview Jaguars' Quinn [5:10 AM]
D and C reports: 'The cap-strapped Jaguars can't pay Quinn more than the veteran minimum to return, but money is not the issue for him, opportunity is. That makes the Bills attractive.'

Marker Kelly at Eastview [5:09 AM]
D and C reports: 'Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly will be at Eastview Mall in Victor tonight from 6-8 p.m. to sign this year's Hunter's Hope Boyds Bear.'

Marker McKinney accepts 5-year Texans deal [5:08 AM]
Houston Chronicle reports: 'Meanwhile, it's just a matter of time before free-agent quarterback Rob Johnson officially is a Texan, if you listen to the native Californian. Johnson has made it clear Houston is his first choice and that he is willing to take less money to play for the Texans, who are prepared to make a one-year, $1 million commitment to the former Buffalo Bill.'

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March 5, 2002

Marker Carpenter knows Phillips' defensive system [9:36 PM]
ESPN reports: @ The first effect of hiring Wade Phillips as the Atlanta Falcons' defensive coordinator came Tuesday when ESPN.com learned that the team reached a contract agreement in principle with free safety Keion Carpenter.

Marker Second guessers make their points [9:34 PM]
Buffalo Business First reports: @ Outside Western New York, Buffalo is best known these days for snowstorms, chicken wings and a pair of professional sports teams. But anyone who has spent more than a week a or two here, knows that second guessing is really the region's forté. Orchard Park has been home for the Buffalo Bills since 1973, but a segment of the second-guessing population still talks about impact a city football stadium would have had.

Marker Former Bills QB Johnson visiting Houston Texans [7:28 PM]
AP reports: 'Johnson said he is also talking to Tampa Bay, Cincinnati and Baltimore but didn't see anything stopping a deal with the Texans.'

Marker Fletcher meets with Bills over starting linebacker's job [7:26 PM]
AP reports: 'Fletcher's agent Anthony Paige said his client is keenly interested in playing for the Bills, who have a starting job available and have a defensive-minded head coach in Gregg Williams, a former Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator.'

Marker Holmes, other free agents find market is slow [2:00 PM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'Donahoe might be interested in a couple of Steelers, including Holmes and kicker Kris Brown, a restricted free agent.'

Marker 2002 Bills don't get you excited [1:27 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'There's pretty much no reason to be excited about the 2002 Bills. Worse, at least right now, the current team isn't nearly as good as the one Donahoe inherited.'

Marker Fletcher to visit Bills; Cowart at Jets [9:07 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Fletcher, 26, is a four-year veteran who led the Rams in tackles this year and was an alternate to the Pro Bowl.'

Marker Farrior patient while Jets entertain OLBs [9:06 AM]
Bergen Record reports: 'Cowart, who spent his first four NFL seasons with Buffalo, will meet today and possibly Wednesday with Bradway, coach Herman Edwards, and defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, his coordinator with the Bills.'

Marker Bills set to meet with Fletcher [8:16 AM]
WGRZ-TV reports: 'While the Bills clearly have far more room to manuever under the salary cap now than they did this time a year ago, Fletcher's asking price may be too high anyway. But the fact the Bills are apparently going to the trouble to fly him in and talk to him could signal they are looking for options in their talks with Cowart, who is coming off an achilles injury.'

Marker Jets Shopping for LBs [8:15 AM]
New York Newsday reports: 'Keeping all options open, the team has scheduled free-agent visits with Sam Cowart today and Shawn Barber on Thursday. Cowart, 27, thrived in Buffalo's 3-4 defense under Jets defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, but missed all but one game last season with an Achilles injury. One of his agents, Gene Burroughs, said Cowart is ready to pass a physical. If healthy, Cowart is an attractive option.'

Marker Bucs' No. 2 guy risky pick for Falcons [8:14 AM]
Atlanta Journal Constitution reports: 'Now, don't misunderstand our point. Ruskell isn't an awful choice for the Falcons. He just isn't the best choice, especially since Tom Modrak and his decades of experience when it comes to player personnel decisions is only a phone call away with the Buffalo Bills.'

Marker Texans, Johnson near deal [5:21 AM]
Houston Chronicle reports: '"Coming from the team I came from, (the Texans) already have a better offensive line, defensive line and secondary in place. That's very attractive. I know the offensive coordinator, and I'm very comfortable with him. I think my best years are ahead of me."'

March 4, 2002

Marker Cowart heading for New Jersey? [10:56 PM]
Pro Football Weekly reports: @ LB Sam Cowart looks to be leaving Buffalo but may not be moving out of the state of New York. The Jersey Jets, who have been one of the busier teams early in free agency, will bring Cowart in Tuesday. The Bills maintain interest in bringing the 1998 second-round pick back. One player with a vested interest in where Cowart lands is LB James Farrior, who led the NFL in tackles with the Jets last season. Farrior?s destination of choice remains New York, but he?s unaware what level of interest the Jets have in bringing him back.

Marker Texans appear ready to sign ex-Bills QB Johnson [8:13 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'If the Texans do sign Johnson, it would likely be a one-year deal for about $1 million, which may not sound like a lot of money, but it would give Johnson the chance to jumpstart his career again. The Texans would likely make him the starter ahead of rookie David Carr, who is almost certain to be their choice with the first pick in the April draft. The Texans would love to allow Carr a year to groom behind a veteran before turning over the starting job to him.'

Marker Bills focusing on quarterback [12:27 PM]
ESPN reports: @ According to ESPN's John Clayton the Bills are pretty focused on signing quarterback Jeff Blake or [Jaguars] Jonathan Quinn. They haven't made any decision whether or not to show interest in Elvis Grbac.

Marker Wallpaper on Phil Hansen by Gina Mustico [11:49 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: @ 'Moose' has released a Wallpaper of retired Bill Phil Hansen.

Marker Bills were willing to give 5th round draft pick for Blake [9:54 AM]
The Sporting News reports: @ The Bills were so interested in QB Jeff Blake that they were prepared to give the Saints a fifth-round pick for him. And Blake was so interested in playing for the Bills that he was willing to rework his contract. Knowing the Saints would release Blake anyway, the Bills backed out. Now that Blake has been released, he is expected to sign with the Bills.

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