The Buffalo Bills made an expected move when they exercised the fifth-year option on Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcell Dareus on Friday.
That means Dareus will be under the team’s control for the next two seasons.
“We’re excited about it, and we look for great things from him,” Bills General Manager Doug Whaley said in making the announcement at the team’s annual pre-draft luncheon.
Dareus’ option calls for a salary equal to that of the transition tag for defensive tackles in 2014 – $8.06 million. It’s guaranteed for injury only until the start of the 2015 league year.
By picking up the option, the Bills give themselves some time to work out a long-term extension with Dareus.
“We’re going to focus on the draft right now, and then after the draft we’ll start looking at issues such as Marcell,” Whaley said. “We’ll start doing a pecking order of what we want to do.”
Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon said the impending ownership transition after the death of Ralph C. Wilson Jr. will have no impact on the team’s football decisions.
“It’s business as usual in every facet of our operation,” he said.
Dareus, 24, had career highs with 71 tackles and 7.5 sacks last season.
The Bills conducted a pre-draft visit with Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio on Friday.
Kouandjio, an expected first-round selection, is a 6-foot-7, 322-pounder with ideal arm length at 35≤ inches.
The first-team All-American is considered a bit of a “raw” prospect in that he’s leaving school a year early, but his physical size makes him an intriguing prospect.
There were questions at the NFL Scouting Combine in February about Kouandjio’s surgically repaired knee, with concerns that it may be arthritic. But orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews sent a letter to all 32 NFL teams to deem Kouandjio healthy.
“I think he’s just a powerful, big guy,” Bills director of college scouting Kelvin Fisher said of Kouandjio. “I’ve been around guys like him who’ve been successful in the league. ... He reminds me a lot of Max Starks from Pittsburgh. Big, powerful guy, long arms, could ride you out or sit and squat on you, settle down, good pass blocker and run blocker.”
Kouandjio was the Bills’ 29th pre-draft visitor.
Teams can bring in up to 30 prospects from nonlocal schools for visits, but with the deadline for this year’s draft being Sunday, Whaley said the team has likely concluded its visits.
Former Bills receiver Naaman Roosevelt, a St. Joe’s and University at Buffalo graduate, signed with the Detroit Lions on Friday.
Roosevelt, 26, played in 16 games for the Bills in 2010 and ’11, making 25 catches for 396 yards and one touchdown. He was with the Cleveland Browns during training camp last season but released during final cuts.