Bills WR Sammy Watkins (foot) made his offseason practice debut on Thursday, taking part in individual drills. (Here's a video clip of him in action.) "It's one day at a time at this point," HC Sean McDermott said of Watkins' status. He underwent a 2nd foot surgery in January after reportedly playing through a broken foot last season. It at least looks like he's on track to be ready for the start of training camp. Watkins' health will be worth monitoring closely this summer.
Bills WR Zay Jones was a full participant in Thursday's minicamp practice, according to insider Chris Brown. The rookie ended up missing about 3 weeks with a sprained knee. He's still in line to serve as Buffalo's #2 WR this season. We'll see if the Bills land either Jeremy Maclin or Eric Decker.
Bills HC Sean McDermott admitted that he's "concerned" with TE Charles Clay's knee. "It's something we have to manage moving forward in order to have him on the field for us, which is important moving forward," McDermott said. "He's a weapon for us." Clay has dealt with knee trouble since arriving in Buffalo back in 2015. It didn't cost him any games last year, but he was a regular on the injury report. A coach admitting concern this early in the year is certainly worrisome. Clay ranked 16th among TEs in PPR points last season and shouldn't be drafted as more than a TE2 this summer.
Bills QB Tyrod Taylor told the team website that he has noticed the "maturation process" speeding up for WR Sammy Watkins this offseason. "His attention to detail each day has definitely been different than the years past that I’ve been around him," Taylor said. "He’s always been a hard worker, but you can definitely tell that he’s out there with the right mindset and with the positive attitude, trying to help the guys that are around him.” The QB specifically mentioned aspects such as eating right, which is often a lesson young players need to learn -- in various sports. Watkins' big problem has obviously been staying on the field, and eating a salad or some salmon isn't going to keep his foot from breaking. But preparing his body better could certainly affect Watkins' health and durability. In any event, increased focus -- and the motivation of a contract year -- can't hurt a player who has always flashed the talent.
Bills WR Zay Jones suffered a knee injury in Tuesday's OTA practice. The team is calling it a "knee sprain" and labeling the rookie "week to week." We should get more details in the coming days. For now, there's no reason to believe Jones is in danger of missing any regular-season or even training-camp time. But any time on the sidelines is a missed opportunity for a rookie expected to play a significant role this year.
The Bills have declined the 5th-year option on WR Sammy Watkins' contract. That year -- along with the $13 or so million it would have paid him -- is guaranteed for injury only prior to the start of the 2018 league year. So Buffalo is (perhaps rightfully) worried that Watkins will suffer another serious injury. He's now set to become a free agent next offseason. Getting out of run-heavy Buffalo might help Watkins' fantasy stock. Rookie Zay Jones, meanwhile, could find himself as the Bills' #1 WR as soon as next year.
The Bills added QB Nathan Peterman in the 5th round of the 2017 NFL Draft. A broken hand and the emergence of Josh Dobbs crushed Peterman’s first 2 college seasons at Tennessee. He transferred to Pitt in 2015 and started the past 2 years, completing 61.1% of his passes with 47 TDs vs. 15 INTs. He ranked 8th in the nation in passing efficiency in 2016. Peterman is solid-but-unspectacular on tape, drawing Kirk Cousins comparisons from scouts and our own Matt Schauf. He’s also coming from a pro-style offense, which will help his transition to the next level. The Bills have been unwilling to commit to Tyrod Taylor as their long-term starter, so Peterman has a shot to get on the field sooner than later.
The Bills traded up to the 37th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft to select East Carolina WR Zay Jones. He certainly checks the production and measurables boxes. Jones set Division I records for single-season catches (158 last year) and career catches (399). Then he went to the Combine and earned a 94th percentile SPARQ score, running a 4.45-second 40 and faring well in the agility drills for a 6’2, 201-pounder. Jones is decidedly less impressive on tape, though. Much of his production at East Carolina was manufactured. And he doesn’t appear to play as athletically as he tested. On the plus side, he understands how to create separation — especially against zone coverage — and possesses a strong pair of mitts. In Buffalo, he has a pretty clear path to the #2 WR job, with only guys like Philly Brown and Andre Holmes to beat out. But, at least in the short term, Jones will be clearly behind Sammy Watkins for targets in a run-heavy offense. He'd do well to return WR3 value in 2017.
After trading down from 10th overall, the Bills drafted LSU CB Tre'Davious White. He should find an immediate shot to replace CB Stephon Gilmore, who signed with the Patriots in free agency. White picked 6 passes across 4 years, with no more than 2 in any season. He defensed a career-high 14 passes as a senior. White also delivered punt-return TDs in each of the past 3 seasons. Should he start, playing across from CB Ronald Darby might help direct throws to his side of the field. There's fantasy upside here if he starts.
The Bills have added Andre Holmes to their ragtag WR group. He joins Philly Brown, Dezmin Lewis, Kolby Listenbee and Walt Powell behind Sammy Watkins. Holmes is probably the most intriguing name of the bunch. He turned in a 47-693-4 line for the Raiders in 2014 before being phased out the past 2 years. He's still only 28 and boasts a 6'4, 210-pound frame. Holmes will be worth keeping an eye on this summer. Buffalo, meanwhile, remains a candidate to use an early-round pick on a WR next month.
The Bills have signed WR Corey "Philly" Brown. The 25-year-old totaled just 79 catches, 1,019 yards and 7 TDs in 3 seasons with the Panthers. He's best-suited as a team's #3 or #4 WR but will have a chance to climb higher than that on Buffalo's depth chart. The Bills now have Brown, Dezmin Lewis, Kolby Listenbee and Walt Powell behind Sammy Watkins. They'll likely add to the position in the draft.
The Bills agreed to a 4-year, $12.4 million deal with K Steven Hauschka. He replaces K Dan Carpenter, who was released earlier this week. Hauschka owns a career 87.2% FG conversion rate and has topped 88% in 4 of the past 5 seasons with the Seahawks. Kicking in Buffalo can be a challenge late in the year, but Hauschka dealt with plenty of inclement weather in Seattle.
The Bills have signed RB Mike Tolbert. The notorious TD vulture has 45 scores on 833 career touches, although just 5 of those TDs have come over the last 3 seasons. Tolbert is 31 now and certainly won't be a 2017 fantasy option in Buffalo. But he could prove frustrating to LeSean McCoy owners.
The Bills and QB Tyrod Taylor have agreed to a restructured contract, the team announced on Wednesday. No word yet on the terms of the deal. The Bills had seemingly been going back and forth over the past couple of months on whether to retain Taylor, with a recent report surfacing that the front office wanted to let him go and the coaching staff wanted to keep him. So it looks like HC Sean McDermott won out here. While Taylor's accuracy comes and goes (62.6% completion rate over the past 2 seasons), he takes care of the ball (just 12 INTs over the last 2 seasons) and threatens defenses on the ground. He's posted back-to-back top 14 finishes in fantasy points per game and is a good bet for similar production in 2017.
Bills QB Tyrod Taylor has been medically cleared from his January groin surgery, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Buffalo has until March 11 to decide whether to pick up Taylor's $27.5M option bonus. Reports on whether they'll do so have been all over the board. If they don't, it'd start another rebuilding process at the position for the Bills. That'd be bad news for WR Sammy Watkins.
The Bills have hired Rick Dennison as OC. Dennison spent the past 2 years as Denver's OC under Gary Kubiak -- and also coordinated Kubiak's Texans offenses from 2010 to 2013. It's notable that Dennison worked with Tyrod Taylor as Baltimore's QB coach in 2014. We'll see if Taylor is Dennison's QB in Buffalo in 2017 and beyond.
The Bills have hired Sean McDermott as their HC. He's spent the past 8 seasons as a defensive coordinator -- 1st in Philadelphia, then in Carolina -- but has no HC experience. McDermott and the Bills should make an OC hire within the next couple of weeks.
Bills QB Tyrod Taylor is undergoing surgery on Thursday to address a core muscle injury, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. This is presumably the "severe groin injury" that he played through over the last month of the season. Taylor is expected to need 6 weeks to recover, so it shouldn't impact his offseason much. The big question, of course, is whether he'll remain in Buffalo.
Bills WR Sammy Watkins will undergo another foot surgery this week, according to the Buffalo News' Tim Graham. Watkins went under the knife to repair his fractured foot back in April and was reportedly playing through a still-broken foot when he returned in Week 12. It's unclear how long he'll be sidelined this go-around, but Watkins will be 1 of the biggest injury risks in 2017 fantasy drafts. On top of the foot, he's dealt with rib, groin, hip, calf and ankle issues through his first 3 NFL seasons.
Bills RB LeSean McCoy suffered a high-ankle sprain in Sunday's loss to the Jets. It's a tough break for those who used him in fantasy lineups -- he finished with just 16 scoreless yards -- but the injury shouldn't impact his 2017 offseason. McCoy was as good as ever this year, averaging a career-best 5.5 yards per carry and scoring 14 total TDs. He turns 29 in July but has shown no signs of slowing down.
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