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Scott: 'I'm still a Bill!" (updated)

Free-safety Bryan Scott has re-signed with the Buffalo Bills, the team announced.

Scott, who turns 31 in a few weeks, tweeted the news, complete with a picture of his new contract.

A nine-year veteran, Scott played in all 16 games last season and started seven as a hybrid linebacker/safety. Scott finished with 66 tackles, six pass deflections and two interceptions. He played about 56 percent of the defensive snaps, almost all in the nickel defense.

The hybrid 'backer-safety role has become more important in the NFL, particularly against teams with quality tight ends. The backer-safety provides a little better support vs. the run than a sixth defensive back and a little more coverage than a second linebacker. Scott gives the Bills more veteran insurance in the secondary. Da'Norris Searcy, a fourth-round pick last year, is expected to get a chance to show what he can do in that spot as well.

---Rodney McKissic, Mark Gaughan

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic

Source: Bills, Johnson exchange proposals

---The Buffalo Bills and representatives for Stevie Johnson have exchanged proposals and are expected to meet at next week’s NFL Combine, a league source told The Buffalo News.

The Bills submitted a proposal over a week ago and Johnson’s agent, C.J. LaBoy, countered the team’s offer on Monday, according to the source. There have been no further talks although the two sides are scheduled to meet next week in Indianapolis.

The 25-year-old Johnson started all 16 games in 2011 and finished with 76 receptions for 1,004 yards and seven touchdowns.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Report: Manning had a fourth surgery

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---A day after Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay made it clear that the decision whether to play for the team rests with Peyton Manning, pictured above, and his willingness to take a pay cut, Sports Illustrated reports new details about the quarterback’s physical condition. According to SI, Manning underwent four, not three, neck procedures over a 19-month span, has bone spurs just above the spot of fusion surgery in September, and may require further fusion.

---Here's John McClain's take on Mario Williams, who McClain says several teams may be in a position to offer the free agent defensive end $50 million as a signing bonus. Think Ralph Wilson would really like to hand over that kind of cash?

---Detroit is on the rise and Lions president Tom Lewand says his team will be smart with its money this off-season.

--- Sporting News ranks its top 50 draft prospects. Penn State DT Devon Still ranks No. 10.

---Retired NFL players are still hoping for improved benefits. Bills Hall of Fame guard Joe DeLamielleure told the AP that "I'm going to fight `em to the end."

---Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times reports preliminary contract talks between the Baltimore Ravens and quarterback Joe Flacco are expected to launch next week at the NFL scouting combine, according to Flacco's agent, Joe Linta.

---Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has been in Los Angeles working on his throwing mechanics with new UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone according to Peter Yoon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Time to play tag

---Teams can begin franchising players on Monday and here's a quick rundown on candidates from CBS Sports. According to NFL.com, the tag figure for wide recievers this season, you know guys like Stevie Johnson, is $9.4 million.

---Colts owner Jim Irsay, the Colts’ owner, told ESPN that quarterback Peyton Manning was more than welcome to stay in Indianapolis, as long as he reworked his contract: “We want this to be his decision. We want him back if he wants to come back. We can work out the contract if he wants to work it out. It’s going to be Peyton’s call.” Yeah, ok.

---The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have rolled over all available resources into the 2012 salary cap in anticipation of being more active in free agency.

---Randy Moss to the Cowboys? Don't think so.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Routt on Bills: 'Sky's the limit'

---Free agent cornerback Stanford Routt came away impressed with his Buffalo visit on Monday, adding he liked the Bills potential to win.

“They beat the New England Patriots, a team that represented the AFC in the Super Bowl,’’ he said. “I don’t really see that as anything you can look down upon obviously everyone can get better accept the one team that wins the Super Bowl. I think the sky’s the limit because you can see that there’s the right pieces here in place.’’

Routt, who was released last week by Oakland, toured the area and the Bills facilities in his first stop on his free agency tour.

“Today was a good day,’’ Routt said. “I got a chance to see the city a little bit, see the staff, met a couple of those guys and I like the atmosphere around here.’’

Routt was released by Oakland last week in part because the Raiders did not want to pay him a $5 million bonus. One of the top free agents on the market Routt, a native of Austin, Texas, has reportedly received interest from Dallas, Tennessee, Detroit, Kansas City and Minnesota.

“I have a couple of more [visits] as soon as I leave here,’’ he said. “The beauty of this situation is that it happened so early that I have a chance to take my time and look at things from a broader perspective and just make the right decision when it’s all said and done.’’

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Just visiting (update)

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---Stanford Routt just arrived at the Bills training facility as planned.

---Free agent cornerback Stanford Routt today is scheduled to visit the Bills, one of several teams interested in his services. Routt, pictured above, was released by Oakland last week in part because the Raiders did not want to pay him a $5 million bonus due last week although they apparently managed to pony up $7.5 million for Richard Seymour.

Routt signed a huge contract before last season and spent seven years in Oakland. Detroit and Minnesota have also expressed interest in signing Routt, who had six interceptions and 28 pass break ups over the last two seasons.

---With help, Baltimore Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff has moved on from his AFC title game miss although he is surprised there wasn't more backlash.

---A pair of high level wide recievers seek new deals and it looks like Philadelphia will franchise free agent WR DeSean Jackson, while Marques Colston will likely hit the market.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Routt reportedly to visit Bills

The Buffalo Bills are giving the initial impression they're going to be players in this year's free agent market.

Buffalo is one of two teams who have reportedly already scheduled a meeting with ex-Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt, who was released by Oakland in the first surprise move of the NFL offseason Thursday. That report comes from ESPN's Josina Anderson, who quotes Routt's agent, William Vann McElroy, as saying "as of right now Buffalo has him flying in on Sunday for a Monday visit, but I will keep you posted."

Routt was released less than a year after signing a monster extension with the Raiders. Routt signed a three-year, $31.5 million contract last February that included $20 million in guarantees over the first two years. The team then restructed the deal in August by adding two years, making it a $54.5 million contract.

Those deals were orchestrated by late Raiders owner Al Davis, though, and it's clear new Oakland General Manager Reggie McKenzie didn't view Routt as a $10 million a year player.

Routt got the big contract after grading out as one of the league's top cover cornerbacks in 2010. The opposition's 39.4 percent completion rate when throwing at him was the lowest of any player targeted at least 60 times that season, according to STATS LLC. That made Oakland comfortable enough to allow Nnamdi Asomugha to leave as a free agent, making Routt its No. 1 cornerback.

He regressed in 2011, though, committing an NFL-high 17 penalties. He also allowed eight touchdown passes, second most in the league, according to STATS, although his completion rate of 47.4 was again strong.

Routt, 28, has played 110 games with 53 starts since being drafted in the second round by Oakland in 2005. Tennessee is the other team with a scheduled visit, although Routt will likely attract plenty more attention on the open market.

He joins a deep class of free agent cornerbacks that also includes the likes of Tennessee's Cortland Finnegan, Kansas City's Brandon Carr and San Francisco's Carlos Rogers, among others.

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Bell: 'This is all I know'

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---Free agent left tackle Demetrius Bell, pictured above, said on Monday that he would like to continue his career with the Buffalo Bills.

“This is home for me, this is all I know,’’ said Bell, who just completed his fourth season in Buffalo. “I would definitely love to be back here but it depends how everything will work out. … I’m just waiting on them to talk to me, no one has said anything to me so I really don’t know.’’

Bell missed Sunday’s season finale at New England with a torn meniscus and said he had surgery last Wednesday. The 6-foot-5, 311-pound Bell said he will be close to 100 percent recovered from the injury in the next 2-3 weeks.

If he proves to be healthy, it could be an interesting ride through free agency for Bell. A starting left tackle on the open market can generate between $6-7 million annually but the knock on Bell is his health. He’s played a full 16-game slate just once so he could fetch something closer to $4-5 million a year. Also, the Bills like rookie Chris Hairston who started seven games at left tackle.

The 2011 season was injury plagued to say the least for Bell. He started the first four games of the season before suffering a shoulder injury at Cincinnati which sidelined him for the next eight games.

He returned to the lineup at San Diego where he rotated at left tackle with Hairston. Bell started against Miami and Denver but was missed the season finale at New England with the knee injury.

“”Being a free agent is always a good thing,’’ Bell said. “You quickly learn who all loves you and how much they love you.’’

In the meantime, Bell is going to return to his offseason home in Louisiana and wait.

“I’m going to fish and hunt every day, enjoy my family and see how everything falls out,’’ he said.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Whitner: Bills 'didn't show' they wanted to win.

---Former Bills safety Donte Whitner spoke with Pro Football Talk recently and said his former team 'didn't show' they wanted to win and the organization made some curious moves during his time in Buffalo.

Whitner was drafted by the Bills in 2006 and signed with San Francisco after the NFL lockout last summer.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

 

Bills sign Martin

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---With the receiving corp depleted by injuries, the Bills signed Ruvell Martin. Martin has totaled 65 receptions for 1,006 yards and seven touchdowns in 53 games with nine starts since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent with San Diego in 2004.

Martin spent the 2005-08 seasons with Green Bay before joining St. Louis in 2009 and spent a portion of the 2010 season with Seattle. Oh yeah, Martin will wear No. 83, the same number worn by the departed Lee Evans.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

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