February 9, 2012 - 11:23 PM
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.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)