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Why you shouldn't be upset about Leodis McKelvin's extension

By Tim Graham

There was a backlash when the Buffalo Bills re-signed cornerback Leodis McKelvin.

The 2008 first-round draft pick has been frustrating because of his shaky defensive skills. Four years and a reported $20 million seemed exorbitant to many.

An accurate breakdown of McKelvin's contract filed with the NFL Players Association, however, shows a palatable deal. As detailed Tuesday night on the Press Coverage blog, McKelvin's base salaries of $2 million this year, $2.1 million next year and $3.1 million in each of the final two years are in line with an average NFL cornerback.

Factor in McKelvin's spectacular return skills and the deal seems fine to me.

Chicago Bears receiver Devin Hester, a three-time All-Pro, has a base salary for this year of $1.857 million. He caught 40 passes for 331 yards and zero touchdowns last season.

Running back Leon Washington, the NFC Pro Bowl representative cut Tuesday by the Seattle Seahawks, was scheduled to make $1.5 million this year. He rushed for 83 yards and one touchdown.

Cleveland Browns receiver Joshua Cribbs made $1.438 million last year and added just seven receptions on offense.

San Francisco 49ers receiver Ted Ginn made a $1.2 million base salary last year. He had two receptions for 1 yard. In his three seasons in San Francisco he caught 33 passes.

McKelvin provides support at an every-down position.

Bills coach Doug Marrone and General Manager Buddy Nix have said they expect McKelvin to compete for a starting role. Even if McKelvin settles in as the nickel corner, he will contribute significant snaps in addition to his return duties.

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Jason Allen, who has started 23 games in seven NFL seasons, is due a base salary of $3 million this year. Miami Dolphins cornerbacks Richard Marshall and Dimitri Patterson -- not exactly hardware hoarders -- each have a base salary of about $4.5 million this year.

So whether you want to consider McKelvin a defensive player with added return value or a return man with added coverage value, his contract seems proper.


Leodis McKelvin
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |