Florence the pick at corner
Well, maybe it's time to cross Jabari Greer off the list.
With its free agent cornerback road-tripping throughout the NFL, the Buffalo Bills signed a cost-efficient alternative. Tuesday night, ESPN's John Clayton reported that the Bills agreed to terms with Jacksonville Jaguars free agent Drayton Florence. According to Clayton's source, the deal is worth $6.6 million over two years. With incentives, the deal can balloon to $7.3 million.
Last year at this time, Florence was a hot commodity. Then a free agent, San Diego Chargers starter signed a massive six-year, $36.1 million deal with Jacksonville after breaking up 26 passes and picking off five passes the previous two seasons. But his honeymoon in the Sunshine state ended with an abrupt divorce. Florence started only eight games, finished the season as a backup and was released. Thud.
The Chargers were interested in getting Florence back, but the Bills jumped in and signed him to a very reasonable contract.
It's a great move by the Bills.
Florence's two-year deal allows the team to comfortably buffer Leodis McKelvin's ascension to the defense. McKelvin can play spot duty as a nickel corner and focus primarily on special teams until he's ready to start. Of course, the team is banking that Florence's 2008 clunker was an aberration. Jacksonville was one of the biggest letdowns in the entire league, so maybe Florence's subpar play was based on circumstance. He only had 36 tackles with zero interceptions.
Greer has now visited the Detroit Lions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns with another stop at New Orleans coming. Over the weekend, the Bills were very much a part of the discussion. But as Greer gets more offers, his market value will continue to soar. He is a premium prospect – a young, up-and-comer stud at one of the three most important positions in football. In two seasons as a starter with the Bills, Greer quickly became a shutdown corner. Considering Buffalo's dire needs at wide receiver, tight end, defensive end and offensive line, retaining Greer seemed unreasonable from the start.
Coles leaves Cincinnati without an offer
Wipe that sweat off your forehead. Take a break from Googling. And catch some Z's. Laveranues Coles isn't gone. Yet.
In what could have been the quintessential knee-jerk signing, the Cincinnati Bengals did not offer Coles a contract after his visit (per the Cincinnati Enquirier). Instead – one day after losing T.J. Houshmandzadeh to the Seattle Seahawks – the Bengals gave Cedric Benson a two-year, $7 million deal.
So, yes, the Bills are still Secretariat in the Coles Derby.
Our own Pat Moran reported here that Coles is seeking a deal of $25 million over four years with at least $10 million guaranteed. Now that it appears the Bills will not pursue re-signing Greer, this lucrative contract (or something close to it) seems conceivable. Coles may like to test his value with some other teams. But for now, Buffalo remains in good position here unless Cincy decides to offer a contract too.
June and Jones coming to town
A couple peculiar visits here. June – undersized at 6-feet, 227 pounds – is not built to be a 4-3 linebacker. With the chances of Angelo Crowell leaving via free agency high, maybe June could replace him. June was part of Tampa Bay mass exodus last week. His exit was based on money, not play. June was solid for the Bucs last season with 103 tackles (third on the team).
And Jones? He's the guy that carped around the waiver wire in your fantasy football league all last season. Jones was hardly used on Chicago last season, carrying the ball 34 times for 109 yards. Buffalo is bracing for the suspension expected to be levied on Marshawn Lynch by the NFL. When that does happen, however, Fred Jackson would still be the starter.
Keep checking in on the BFR Forums for constant free agency grumblings.