NFL teams will seek value, not stars, in free agency this year [8:00 PM]
CNN/SI reports: Buffalo cornerback Antoine Winfield (my guess: Cincinnati, which will throw more money at a quality cornerback than any other team).
Bills Wallpaper [7:59 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: This month's wallpaper by TBD Alumni 'Moose' is starting DE Aaron Schobel (#94).
Bills release Pro Bowl G Brown [4:10 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'However, the move allows the Bills to save more than $4 million. Brown was due to make $2.7 million in 2004 and would have received a $1.8 million bonus if he was still on the Bills' roster Wednesday, the first day of free agency.'
Ruben Brown's Comments on Being Released [4:02 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'I know there were questions surrounding the way the season ended last year and I have chosen to keep those issues personal. Many of those issues have been resolved and my life has moved on from that point.'
Bills Tender Contracts To Free Agents [3:45 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'By tendering offers on the team's Restricted Free Agents (RFA) - a player who just finished his third season in the league and his contract is about to expire - the Bills will be given draft-round compensation should the players sign elsewhere.'
2004 NFL Free Agency Questions & Answers [3:45 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'The salary cap is the maximum each club may spend on player salaries in a capped year. For 2004, that amounts to 64.75 percent of leaguewide "Defined Gross Revenues" (divided by 32 teams), made up of preseason, regular-season and postseason gate receipts and radio and television rights. The cap is in effect 365 days a year. From March 3 to the day before the season begins, a club's top 51 salaried players count towards the cap, plus pro-rated signing bonuses, incentives, etc., but not base salaries of other players on the roster up to 80. Thereafter, all salaries on a club's roster count towards the cap. The maximum salary cap for 2004 is $80,582,000 per club. The minimum club salary is $67,337,000. Player benefits are $12,865,000 per club above the salary cap number.'
Bills release guard Ruben Brown [1:08 PM]
The Sports Network reports: 'Brown, who missed only eight games in nine seasons, started 15 games last year before being excused by the team from playing in the season finale against the New England Patriots last December.'
Bills cut Ruben Brown [1:05 PM]
Rochester D&C reports: '“He’s played at good level for a long period of time. He’s been on the leaders on our team,” Donahoe said. “It just boils down to when you have a new staff come in there are changes that are inevitable. Ruben won’t be the only change as we move forward, but he obviously is a significant chance for what he did here.”'
Bills Cut Ties With Popular Pro Bowler [1:05 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Brown came under fire after he missed Buffalo's regular season finale against New England. The team had excused him from playing after he had spoken out against then-offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride.'
Bills release Pro Bowl guard Brown [1:04 PM]
AP reports: 'Brown was due to receiver a $1.8 million bonus had he been on roster Wednesday, the first day of free agency. He also was due for a base salary of $2.7 million this season.'
Dallas reportedly interested in quarterback [12:57 PM]
ESPN reports: Despite reports claiming Henson will also audition for Buffalo, team president Tom Donahoe told ESPN.com that he will not arrange for an individual workout unless he is convinced a contract agreement can be reached. Donahoe remains doubtful on that front. Agent Tom Condon also told ESPN.com that he doesn't think the Bills will request a Henson workout.
Released [12:54 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: The Buffalo Bills have decided to part ways with eight-time Pro Bowl guard Ruben Brown, ending the tenure of one of the franchise's most recognizable offensive lineman. Originally drafted by the Bills in the first round (14th overall) of the 1995 draft, the former Pittsburgh All-American played and started in 136 games and has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of the last eight seasons, an accomplishment no other Bill can claim.
Restricted Free Agents Getting More Protection [8:50 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'Buffalo could have offered Tucker a one-year minimum tender ($628K), but it would have offered no protection against losing him to another team. The minimum tender only demands that another team that signs him away from Buffalo compensate the Bills with a draft pick equal to the round in which Tucker was drafted. Tucker, however, was an undrafted free agent coming out of college, so there would have been no compensation.'
Buffalo fans in middle of frustration formula [5:16 AM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: 'The Bills are 34th with a frustration index of 2.95. And the Sabres, with a score of 2.12, rank 98th. That makes them Buffalo's least frustrating team, despite their weak performance in recent seasons.'
Inside slant [5:15 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'The Bills will start free agency with about $7.8 million in cap space but that figure will fluctuate greatly. Off the bat, the team must decide if it wants to retain eight-time Pro Bowl guard Ruben Brown, who is due a $1.8 million roster bonus that will have to be accounted for.'
Strategy and personnel [5:14 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'The Bills aren't being bashful about their interest in NC State quarterback Philip Rivers, one of the fastest rising players in the draft. Buffalo is in the market for Drew Bledsoe's eventual successor and taking a quarterback with its 13th pick is being heavily considered.'
Notes, quotes, anecdotes [5:13 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Coach Mike Mularkey recently sat down with Brown to discuss his future with the club. Part of the conversation addressed Brown's falling out with the previous coaching staff. Brown was excused from the final game of the season at New England after arriving late for a practice and having a confrontation with offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride.'
QB's contract demands could be deal breaker [12:06 PM]
ESPN reports: 'For now, trading for Drew Henson remains a possibility for the Bills. But the more Buffalo explores ways to acquire Henson from the Texans, the more difficult a deal appears.'
Draft pick No. 13 just got luckier for Bills [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Tom Donahoe and Tom Modrak haven't missed on many drafts during their careers as president/general manager/college scouting gurus, so we have to believe they will make the right choice. The good news for the Bills is there won't be any wrong choices at No. 13. The Bills' needs are specific - quarterback, speed at wide receiver, interior offensive line, cornerback (if Antoine Winfield doesn't return), pass-rushing defensive end and tight end.'
Time to talk shop as free agency set to open [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Winfield said he'd like to return to Buffalo, but the Bills won't get into a bidding war. His bargaining power improved last week when some of the top free agent cornerbacks were either franchised (Oakland's Charles Woodson and Baltimore's Chris McAllister) or put on the trading block (Washington's Champ Bailey).'
McNally still getting a line on players [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"No. 1 is "smarts,' " he said. "I want players with football intelligence. If I'm told a player needs a lot of repetitions to get things right I'm not interested. The NFL is far different today than what it used to be. Defenses are so sophisticated now it's like looking into a box of coat hangers for linemen deciding what to do on a blitz."'
Bidding opens to turkey hunt with ex-Vol Teague [6:52 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Some lucky youngster will get the thrill of a lifetime this spring if he wins the auction for a special turkey hunt with Buffalo Bills center Trey Teague.'
Clements Sets Goals For 2004 Season [7:35 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'Q: What was the biggest reason why the defense improved so much over the year? -Derek Grimm (Red Lion, PA)
NC: We had more talent by far. We get more and more talent on the defense every year. We gelled together. We just had that mentality that we are going to beat the guys across the ball from us.'
Talent at Combine Impresses Bills GM [5:49 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: '"The size was impressive and some of the guys who did run, ran fast," said Donahoe. "It's really unusual with the number of receivers who are 6'2" and 6'3". In past years you'd get a guy or two, but now you have a whole host of them and it seems that the players that everybody has at the top of the draft are all bigger receivers."'
Brown's future in Buffalo uncertain [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '“I think we need to discuss it further, but I didn’t want to prejudge him,” Mularkey said last week. “We have evaluations coming in on all the positions and I want to evaluate him as a player first. Obviously, he still can play. We’ll see where we are with him with that, the whole line really, then we’ll talk more.”'
Should the Bills sign Bruce Smith so he can retire as a Buffalo Bill? [5:38 PM]
WHEC-TV reports: 'Off the field Bruce was far from perfect. He did his share of whining at contract time and certainly angered his share of sportswriters. But nobody meant more to the Bills defense in their hey-day. And now Bruce deserves one more day in a Bills uniform.'
Bills Have Free Agency Plan in Place [5:37 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: '"Free agency is a continuous process," Guy said. "We usually get started in April for the upcoming year. We call it projective free agency because we project the players who we think will be free agents. Sometimes contracts or incentives will take players out of free agency and other times those things will make players free agents."'
ESPN.com - NFL - Wednesday roundup: Brady has minor surgery [9:26 AM]
ESPN reports: Expecting to upgrade at the position, the Houston Texans have released free safety Matt Stevens, a move that will save the team about $2.5 million in cap space. This marks the second time in two years that the Texans released Stevens but, unlike in 2003, the much-traveled eight-year veteran will not be returning to the team. Stevens, 30, is now a free agent and can negotiate with other teams. In stints with Buffalo (1996), Philadelphia (1997-98), Washington (1998-2000), New England (2000-2001) and Houston, he started in 42 of 104 appearances. Stevens has 276 tackles, 13 interceptions and 31 passes defensed for his career.
Williams: A memorable combine [11:24 PM]
NFL.com reports: And I liked what the Bills had me do. They asked me to rate three aspects of NFL life in order: the Super Bowl, financial security, and the Pro Bowl. I put them in that exact order, with the Super Bowl being the most important. Financial security is nice, of course, but to be a champion would mean a lot to me. The Pro Bowl is nice too, but you have to fly over a lot of water to get there, and as you'll read, I'm not a big fan of flying these days.
Buffalo Bills 2004 Free Agency Preview [3:42 PM]
The Sports Network reports: 'Bledsoe's successor isn't on the roster. He's only 32 but has started since entering the league and has taken a tremendous beating over the last five seasons. The Bills need to start looking for a replacement but the pickings are slim in free agency. Billy Volek of Tennessee will likely have several suitors. On the offensive line, McNally has made a career of thriving with low-round picks that will play the style he teaches. Like almost every team the Bills could use help rushing the passer.'
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