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Does Tony Moeaki signing put Scott Chandler on notice?

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills don't have any injuries at tight end.

But, on the sudden, they decided they needed to bring another one aboard.

The club's decision today to cut running back Tashard Choice and sign tight end Tony Moeaki doesn't sound promising for Scott Chandler's future.

Chandler lost a costly overtime fumble in Sunday's 34-31 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. As Buffalo News reporter Jay Skurski wrote in Tuesday's paper, the Bills have a difficult decision to make when Chandler's contract expires after this year.

Moeaki said the Bills reached out and signed him within 24 hours.

"This all happened pretty quickly," Moeaki said this afternoon at One Bills Drive. "I'm just trying to catch my breath here and get started."

Moeaki, 26, said "every day I will look at as a tryout, just trying to prove myself."

The acquisition is reminiscent of the Bills claiming injury-prone pass-rusher Shawne Merriman off waivers from the San Diego Chargers in November 2010. It's a low-risk tryout for the final few weeks of the season.

Injuries have limited to Moeaki to 15 games over the past three seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs.

A preseason knee blowout ended his 2011 campaign. He suffered a broken shoulder in preseason this year, and the Chiefs released him from injured reserve in October.

While playing at Iowa, he dealt with a broken hand, dislocated elbow, wrist surgery and multiple foot surgeries.

"Injuries happen, and they happen at bad times," Moeaki said. "I'm not worried about them. They have a great training staff and strength and conditioning staff here. I'm just going to work with them and get ready to go."

Moeaki declined to discuss how many tryouts he had or with which teams, but he said he underwent "a couple physicals" before landing work.

L.A. Times: Overdose sends Shawne Merriman to hospital

By Tim Graham

Every time I see his age, I'm surprised.

What doesn't surprise me is the report failed Buffalo Bills reclamation project Shawne Merriman was rushed to the hospital Sunday night for what the Los Angeles Time reporter Andrew Blankstein called an "alcohol-drug overdose" while at a club in Hollywood.

Merriman turned 29 just two weeks ago. He's two years and four months younger than Miami Dolphins pass-rusher Cameron Wake, who's considered to be entering his prime. Merriman announced his retirement in March after the Bills declined to re-sign him.

Merriman tweeted he was with hip-hop artist The Game on Sunday night. Bills receiver Stevie Johnson recorded a song with The Game last year.

Merriman was a cyclone in his first three seasons with the San Diego Chargers. He recorded 39.5 sacks in 42 games, a stretch that included a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.

His body began to fall apart, and the Chargers waived him in 2010 over concerns he wasn't properly taking care of his injuries while reveling in the Southern California lifestyle too much.

Former Bills GM Buddy Nix, previously a Chargers personnel executive, claimed Merriman off waivers. Merriman suffered a season-ending injury minutes into his first Bills practice, but the club signed him to a two-year extension anyway.

Merriman played 15 games for Buffalo and managed two sacks.

Looking back: Buddy Nix's five biggest misses as Bills GM

Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey
Chan Gailey, right, had his moments, but went 16-32 as the Bills' head coach. (James P. McCoy/News file photo)


By Tim Graham

How will we remember Buddy Nix's tenure as Buffalo Bills general manager? With the help of beat reporter Mark Gaughan, we look back on the past three seasons and four drafts under Nix.

Here are his five biggest misses:

Continue reading "Looking back: Buddy Nix's five biggest misses as Bills GM" »

Kyle Moore signs with Bears; Revolving Bills roster updated

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills lost another free agent.

Kyle Moore, a surprise performer last year on a disappointing defensive front, signed a one-year contract Monday with the Chicago Bears.

Moore, despite being inactive the first four games, started seven straight games in November and December. Moore made 24 tackles, three for losses. He notched the first three sacks of his career.

Analytics website ProFootballFocus.com rated Moore 25th in pass-rushing among all 4-3 defensive ends who played at least 25 percent of their teams' snaps. The site tallied 23 quarterback hurries for Moore, tying him for 30th in the NFL.

Moore had arthroscopic knee surgery in January, but a source informed The Buffalo News the Bills wanted to re-sign him. But last month's acquisition of linebacker Manny Lawson might have made Moore expendable.

Moore was a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fourth-round draft choice in 2009 and eventually landed on the Detroit Lions' practice squad, from where the Bills plucked him in November 2011.

An update accounting of the comings and goings on Buffalo's roster in free agency:

Players who have re-signed

  • • Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson
  • • Running back Tashard Choice
  • • Tight end Dorin Dickerson
  • • Colin Brown
  • • Linebacker Bryan Scott
  • • Cornerback Leodis McKelvin

Players whose rights have been retained

  • • Tight end Mike Caussin
  • • Safety Jairus Byrd

Players who have joined

  • • Quarterback Kevin Kolb
  • • Defensive tackle Alan Branch
  • • Linebacker Manny Lawson

Players who have departed

  • • Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (Tennessee Titans)
  • • Wide receiver Donald Jones (New England Patriots)
  • • Wide receiver David Nelson (Cleveland Browns)
  • • Guard Andy Levitre (Tennessee Titans)
  • • Guard Chad Rinehart (San Diego Chargers)
  • • Defensive end Chris Kelsay (retired)
  • • Defensive end Shawne Merriman (retired)
  • • Defensive end Kyle Moore (Chicago Bears)
  • • Linebacker Nick Barnett
  • • Cornerback Terrence McGee
  • • Safety George Wilson (Tennessee Titans)

Comings and goings: Buffalo Bills offseason moves so far

By Tim Graham

And on the seventh day of free agency, the Press Coverage blog reviewed the Buffalo Bills' offseason personnel moves to date ...

Players who have re-signed

  • • Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson
  • • Linebacker Bryan Scott
  • • Cornerback Leodis McKelvin

Players whose rights were retained

  • • Tight end Mike Caussin
  • • Tight end Dorin Dickerson
  • • Safety Jairus Byrd

Players who have joined

  • • Linebacker Manny Lawson

Players who have departed

  • • Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (Tennessee Titans)
  • • Wide receiver Donald Jones (New England Patriots)
  • • Wide receiver David Nelson
  • • Guard Andy Levitre (Tennessee Titans)
  • • Guard Chad Rinehart (San Diego Chargers)
  • • Defensive end Chris Kelsay (retired)
  • • Defensive end Shawne Merriman (retired)
  • • Linebacker Nick Barnett
  • • Cornerback Terrence McGee
  • • Safety George Wilson (Tennessee Titans)

Shawne Merriman calls it a career

By Mark Gaughan

Shawne Merriman turned out the lights on his injury-plagued NFL career.

The Buffalo Bills defensive end, who was due to become an unrestricted free agent next week, announced his retirement from football.

Merriman spent most of the past 2 1/2 seasons in the Bills organization and managed one sack in 10 games last season. He had been released by the Bills in training camp but then re-signed with the team on Oct. 15. He averaged 20 snaps a game over the last 10 games.

Merriman did not figure in the Bills’ plans for next season.

Merriman goes down as a calculated, expensive and unsuccessful gamble by the Bills. He was paid $8.75 million since joining the team in November 2010. The Bills claimed him off waivers in the middle of the 2010 season, but he never made it on the field that season. He played only the first five games of the 2011 season before going on injured reserve.

Merriman wound up appearing in just 15 Bills games. He recorded two sacks and 26 tackles.

He released this statement on his website:

"After a lengthy discussion with my agent, family and team, I have officially decided to put in my retirement papers today. My retirement from the game I love so much and from the game that has brought me so many opportunities on and off the field has been decided with great thought for my future on and off the field.

"I retire today not because I don't feel I can go out there are still play my game at a very high level. I am retiring because I want to retire on my own terms and leave while I know I can still physically play the game.

"I am stepping back to pursue other great opportunities that have been afforded to me. I want to thank all my fans around the country. I want to thank the San Diego Chargers and the Buffalo Bills for their support during my time at each club. I feel truly blessed to have been a part of the NFL and to have had the opportunity of a lifetime. I am excited to pursue my other career opportunities and look forward to what is on the horizon for me. I will continue to train with some of the guys not because of football, but because it's a part of my lifestyle."

Merriman recorded 39.5 sacks over his first three seasons in the NFL, from 2005 to 2007. But knee, calf and Achilles tendon injuries limited him to just 33 games and six sacks over the final five seasons of his career.

PFF analytics show which Bills provided most, least value in 2012

By Tim Graham

When the Buffalo Bills rebooted their operations in January, a point of emphasis was the creation of an analytics department. While no details have been divulged on how the Bills will implement analytics, a common usage around the league is in determining contract values.

ProFootballFocus.com, one of the most popular analytics sites, has applied its metrics to the Bills' 2012 roster to determine who underperformed and outperformed their salary-cap figures last year.

You can check out PFF for its explanation of each player, but here are the lists:

Undervalued

  • 1. Jairus Byrd, safety
  • 2. C.J. Spiller, running back
  • 3. Andy Levitre, left guard
  • 4. Kyle Williams, defensive tackle
  • 5. Alex Carrington, defensive tackle
  • 6. George Wilson, safety
  • 7. Nick Barnett, linebacker
  • 8. Scott Chandler, tight end
  • 9. Bryan Scott, linebacker
  • 10. Cordy Glenn, left tackle

Overvalued

  • 1. Mario Williams, defensive end
  • 2. Chris Kelsay, defensive end
  • 3. Ryan Fitzpatrick, quarterback
  • 4. Brad Smith, wide receiver
  • 5. Terrence McGee, cornerback
  • 6. Spencer Johnson, defensive tackle
  • 7. Mark Anderson, defensive end
  • 8. Tyler Thigpen, quarterback
  • 9. Erik Pears, right tackle
  • 10. Shawne Merriman, defensive end

The Bills already have released two of the PFF's 10 most undervalued players (Barnett and Wilson). Byrd, Levitre and Scott could become unrestricted free agents in a couple weeks.

From the overvalued list, the Bills have dumped McGee. Kelsay announced his retirement Wednesday night. From the free agents on the list, we safely can assume Thigpen won't be back, Merriman's probably a goner and Johnson isn't worth re-signing.

For the record: Breakdown of Bills 2013 free-agent class

By Tim Graham

Here is a breakdown of the Buffalo Bills' 2013 free-agent class and what their designations mean.

Unrestricted free agents (13)

Teams have exclusive negotiating rights, but once free-agency begins, players are free to negotiate with other clubs. Original team receives no compensation if the player signs elsewhere.

The original team has the option to place a franchise tag on one unrestricted free agent (a guaranteed one-year salary at the average of the five highest-paid players at the position or a 20 percent raise, whichever is greater) or one transition tag (a guaranteed one-year salary at the average of the 10 highest-paid players at the position).

"Exclusive" franchise tags prohibit the player from negotiating with other clubs. A team that uses a "nonexclusive" franchise tag on a player and then declines to match an offer sheet from another club will receive two first-round draft choices from that team. Transition tags offer no such compensation.

  • • Jairus Byrd, safety
  • • Tashard Choice, running back
  • • Tarvaris Jackson, quarterback
  • • Spencer Johnson, defensive end
  • • Andy Levitre, left guard
  • • Ruvell Martin, wide receiver
  • • Corey McIntyre, fullback
  • • Leodis McKelvin, cornerback
  • • Shawne Merriman, defensive end
  • • Kyle Moore, defensive end
  • • Chad Rinehart, offensive lineman
  • • Bryan Scott, linebacker
  • • Tyler Thigpen, quarterback

Restricted free agents (3)

The player may negotiate with other teams. But if the original club extends a qualifying offer to the player, then it retains right of first refusal to match any outside contract offer. There are three types of qualifying offers, offering different levels of payment and draft compensation if the player leaves.

Exclusive-rights free agents (2)

ERFA's are free agents in name only. They are players with two years of NFL experience or less and have expiring contracts. They may not negotiate with other clubs. If they are extended a contract offer, they must accept or not play at all.

  • • Mike Caussin, tight end
  • • Dorin Dickerson, tight end/fullback
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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 | [email protected]


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 | [email protected]


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 | [email protected]

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