Scout.com NFL Expert Adam Caplan reported today that the Buffalo Bills have re-signed OL Jason Whittle to a one-year deal at the veteran's minimum base salary believed to be $605,000.
Whittle joined Buffalo last season as part of the team's complete reload on the offensive line. The Bills big bucks went to Derrick Dockery and Langston Walker that offseason. All three were signed on the first day of free agency.
Whittle was the team's top backup at guard and center but tore his hamstring in the third week of the season and was placed on injured reserve. His signing is crucial because Buffalo's second unit is very thin along the offensive line, where Duke Preston and Kirk Chambers were the only OL reserves that saw considerable action in 2007. It's also a key signing for Buffalo's rushing attack, which may develop as the team's M.O. this fall. With Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson as possibly a lethal 1-2 punch, the Bills need to secure a promising offensive line.
The nine-year veteran Whittle played for the New York Giants from 1999 to 2004, where he helped Tiki Barber set the franchise rushing record and played on the Giants' 2000 NFC Champion team.
In essentially a "re-do," Whittle is anxious to put last year's frustrations behind him and possibly earn a larger payday next offseason. For the veteran's minimum it's a low-risk move for Buffalo as well. He will be called upon if a guard or center goes down.
The rehabilitation process has been a strenuous ordeal.
"It tore off the bone," said Whittle on his injury on buffalobills.com. "It was about 10 or 11 weeks before I started feeling normal, but it healed pretty good and a little quicker than they anticipated. I've been lifting and running so I feel good. I have no residual effects other than a little indentation in the back of my leg."