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Draft pick for Lynch jumps to fifth-rounder

The Bills will receive the Seattle Seahawks' fifth-round draft pick in April's draft as part of their compensation for the trade of running back Marshawn Lynch, according to a report on the team's official website,

The original trade of Lynch called for Buffalo to receive a fourth-round pick in 2011 (which it used on offensive tackle Chris Hairston) and a conditional sixth-round pick that could be improved based on Lynch's playing time. That pick will jump up to the fifth round, according to the report, after Lynch rushed 285 times for 1,204 yards and 12 TDs in 2011 for Seattle.

The Bills now have nine picks in April's draft, seven of their own along with the fourth-round pick of Baltimore they received in exchange for Lee Evans.

---Jay Skurski


Time to play tag

---Teams can begin franchising players on Monday and here's a quick rundown on candidates from CBS Sports. According to, 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


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


Buffalo market ranked ninth for Super Bowl

---When NBC Sports reported that Super Bowl XLVI was the most-watched show in U.S. television history with 111.3 million viewers, it said Buffalo ranked ninth among markets by virtue of its 52.9 rating. Here’s the list for the top 15 markets in terms of local rating for the Giants-Patriots Super Bowl on Sunday, with TV market size rank in parenthesis:

1. Boston (7) 56.7
2. Indianapolis (26) 56.4
3. Norfolk (43) 54.2
4. Columbus (32) 54.1
5. New Orleans (52) 54.0
6.(t) Nashville (29) 53.5
6.(t) Jacksonville (50) 53.5
8. Pittsburgh (23) 53.0
9. Buffalo (51) 52.9
10. Kansas City (31) 52.1
11. Milwaukee (34) 52.0
12. Cincinnati (35) 51.6
13. Richmond (57) 51.4
14. Atlanta (9) 51.3
15. Denver (17) 51.2

---Rodney McKissic


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

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Bills release Corto (updated)

---The Bills have officially announced the release of safety Jon Corto.

The Orchard Park native spent last season on injured reserve and has been with the team since 2007.

He was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2007 and was on the active roster from 2008-10, primarily as a special teams contributor. The Bills had to release him once he passed his physical since he was on the waived/injured list last season. A source told The News that several teams have interest in Corto.

Corto spent the whole season recovering from his shoulder injury but he is healthy now.

"I am ready to play and I am excited about the opportunity to continue my career," Corto told The News. "Right now I am in Miami at Bomeritos Sports Performance facility working out very hard for my next opportunity."

NFL teams need big safeties in their nickel coverage. Hopefully Corto can find a niche there and get into a training camp.

---Rodney McKissic


Focus on Bell's improvement

---According to Pro Football Focus' Trending in the AFC East left tackle Demetrius Bell was the Bills most improved player last season, defensive end Spencer Johnson suffered the biggest drop off and safety Da'Norris Searcy deserved more snaps.

---Seattle has submitted initial paperwork to the league office to host a Super Bowl.

---Brett Favre talks about finally staying retired in 2011.

---NFL owners could split over $2 billion in expansion.

---Rodney McKissic


Live chat coming Super Sunday

Before, during and after the big game Sunday, join myself, the one and only Jerry Sullivan and Bills ace beat reporter Mark Gaughan for a Super Bowl live chat, beginning at 4 p.m.

We'll talk plenty about the Patriots and Giants, of course, but regular readers of our weekly Bills chats know that almost any subject is welcome for discussion.

The chat can be found here on the Billboard blog, and on the home page. Hope you can spend part of Super Sunday with us.

---Jay Skurski


Bills add two assistants to coaching staff

---The Bills announced the additions of Andrew Dees and Eric Thatcher to the team’s coaching staff.  Dees has been named the assistant offensive line coach and Thatcher will serve as the defensive quality control coach.

The Bills also announced Bob Bicknell will coach wide receivers after coaching tight ends the previous two seasons.  Adrian White will serve as the assistant defensive backs coach after serving as the defensive quality control coach since 2008, and Bob Sanders will coach linebackers after coaching outside linebackers last season.

A product of Syracuse University, Dees joins the Bills after spending last season as the running backs coach/recruiting coordinator at UMass.  He coached the offensive line at Temple from 2006-10 and coached tight ends at UB under Jim Hofher from 2001-05.  The 16-year college coaching veteran enters his first season in the NFL.

Thatcher joins the Bills after spending last season as the assistant defensive backs coach at Mercyhurst.  Thatcher was a three-year starting free safety at Pitt and upon his graduation in 2008, he started his coaching career at St. Vincent College in 2009 and then served as a graduate assistant at Pitt in 2010.

---Rodney McKissic


Brees is no Flutie


---Drew Brees said in a sideline interview of Sunday's Pro Bowl that when he and Doug Flutie had been teammates in San Diego Flutie, a master of the drop kick, had taught him how to do it.

So with Flutie in the broadcast booth, Brees decided it was the perfect moment to emulate him, but the kick for an extra point was too low. Brees told Flutie that his drop was too far forward and that he couldn’t get the necessary lift.

Back in 2006 with New England Flutie, the former Bills QB, converted the NFL’s first successful drop kick since 1941, making an extra point in the fourth quarter.

---Rodney McKissic


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