The NFL's busiest week of the offseason is nearly over, and the Buffalo Bills have been one of the league's most active teams.
Here are some leftover nuggets and thoughts from the past week:
Activity in the free-agent tight end market spiked Thursday evening when Jordan Cameron initially agreed to terms on a deal with the Cleveland Browns, but later signed with the Miami Dolphins. That has implications in the Bills' pursuit of Charles Clay, as both the Dolphins (who assigned Clay the transition tag) and Browns were in play for Clay. The Dolphins haven't removed the transition tag from Clay, but their chances of matching a Bills offer sheet now seem lower.
By keeping the transition tag on Clay, the Dolphins could be using their leverage to squeeze the Bills' remaining salary-cap space. The Bills are expected to make a front-loaded offer sheet to Clay that makes it harder for the Dolphins to match, but doing so would also force the Bills into a more difficult financial position. There are several moving parts that make it hard to pin down their exact salary-cap space at the moment, but the Bills would be in a tight spot if they're paying Clay more than his $7.071 million transition figure, which is already the eighth-highest 2015 cap hit among NFL tight ends.
Roster bonuses due on the fifth day of the 2015 league year, according to ESPN Stats & Information: defensive end Mario Williams ($1,000,000), defensive tackle Kyle Williams ($500,000, as listed in previous contract), cornerback Corey Graham ($500,000), guard Kraig Urbik ($300,000), running back Anthony Dixon ($100,000). Guard Chris Williams and linebacker Manny Lawson received $500,000 roster bonuses on the third day of the 2015 league year, and kicker Dan Carpenter is due a $500,000 roster bonus on the seventh day of the league year. All of those bonuses are already included in the player's 2015 cap number, so paying them doesn't decrease cap space, but is generally a sign that the player is the team's plans for next season.
The NFL's performance-based pay figures are out for the 2014 season, and Bills tackle Seantrel Henderson received the most of any player in the league ($373,671). Performance-based pay comes from a supplemental fund, with each team paying $3.633 million to players based on a formula that compares salary to playing time. Cyrus Kouandjio, a second-round pick last season, received the least performance-based pay of any Bills player in 2014: $490.55.
The latest player to re-sign with the Bills this week, wide receiver Marcus Easley received a contract that will average $1.75 million per season. At his news conference Thursday, Easley joked that he didn't know if the Bills would be able to afford that sort of payday for their special teams ace last season. "The way they were spending I was wondering how much money they had left," he said.
Here is Tyrod Taylor's response when asked this week about what the Bills told him about his role next season: "That there is going to be a competition. No one is really ahead of the other guy right now. They’re looking forward to us coming in and pushing each other to make this team better."
New quarterback Matt Cassel said this week that he has had eight offensive coordinators in the past seven seasons. Here is the list: Norv Turner (2014), Bill Musgrave (2013), Brian Daboll (2012), Bill Muir (2011), Charlie Weis (2010), Todd Haley (2009), Chan Gailey (2009 preseason), and Josh McDaniels (2008).
In all, the Bills held five news conferences this week (for Jerry Hughes, LeSean McCoy, Cassel, Jerome Felton, and Easley) and one conference call (Taylor). Some teams prefer not to hold news conferences for free-agent signings -- there is a belief in some circles that it could give the wrong impression to other players on the roster -- but the Bills obviously don't align with that thinking.
Kicker Jordan Gay's contract extension runs through 2016 and will pay him league-minimum salaries each year. With such little risk to the Bills, I don't think it's any guarantee he's on the roster opening day. The deal simply bypasses the exclusive-rights tender process next spring if he remains with the team.
Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus appeared in Hamburg Town Court on Thursday for a pre-trial hearing on drag-racing charges stemming from a May 2014 crash. The meeting in front of the judge lasted about 90 seconds, with both sides saying they were still engaged in plea negotiations. The next possible court date is April 7.
As the Buffalo News' Jay Skurski noted this week, the Bills lose a community asset in tight end Scott Chandler and his wife, Alissa. Both were a visible presence in the team's off-the-field endeavors.