The activity at One Bills Drive Tuesday didn’t come close to matching that of many other NFL outposts at the start of the league’s free-agency signing and trading period.
There weren’t the blockbuster deals that happened elsewhere at a head-spinning pace, but there was plenty of noteworthy action, starting with the introduction of newly acquired running back LeSean McCoy during a news conference.
“It feels good to be here, it feels good to be appreciated,” said McCoy, whom the Bills acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso. “Since I heard about the trade, the Bills organization has been great. It’s been excellent. They’ve accepted me and my family with open arms, embracing us.
“The people here are so nice. I can’t wait to get to work. I can’t wait to see my teammates and work hard with them to get that goal and that’s to get a championship.”
Meanwhile, General Manager Doug Whaley and the rest of the team’s player-personnel staff were busy positioning the Bills for other moves they are looking to make in the coming days, if not hours, such as:
>Submitting an offer sheet for tight end Charles Clay, who received a transition tag from the Miami Dolphins. The Bills are so determined to land Clay, whom they’ve identified as their top target in the open market, that team co-owners Terry and Kim Pegula gave him a ride on their private jet from South Florida to Western New York Tuesday. Clay not only is getting a tour of the Bills’ facility, as the team announced Tuesday night, but The News has learned he also will look for potential places to live in the area. Team president Russ Brandon and chief contract negotiator Jim Overdorf have been working on structuring the offer so that it has enough money in the first year to discourage the Dolphins from matching and trumps the strong interest Clay also is receiving from the Cleveland Browns. The Bills aren’t expected to present the offer until Thursday at the earliest, and the Dolphins would have five days to decide whether they wish to match.
>Finalizing a contract for free-agent fullback Jerome Felton, who has spent the past three seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. The basic parameters of the deal are in place, although the Bills would only announce that he was visiting team headquarters; the News has learned that they flew Felton to Western New York Tuesday on a private jet from Atlanta (separate from the one that transported Clay to WNY). His contract will cover four years and pay him an average of $2.7 million per season. The holdup is resulting from the offer sheet for Clay. The Bills might have to move some of Felton’s money around so that they have the cap space to maximize their ability to front load Clay’s offer. They also might have to rework the contract of defensive end Mario Williams, whose cap number for this year is $19.4 million.
>Having free-agent wide receiver Percy Harvin, who played for Bills coach Rex Ryan last year with the New York Jets, in for a visit. Ryan and his offensive coaches see Harvin providing an additional dynamic presence to the Bills’ offense, along with Sammy Watkins. Harvin is a threat as a pass-catcher, returner, and runner on jet sweeps.
>Making official last week’s trade with the Minnesota Vikings for quarterback Matt Cassel. The News has learned that the deal was held up because Cassel initially didn’t pass his physical examination due to a foot problem, but the Bills decided to approve the trade anyway because they wanted the 10-year veteran.
Here’s one thing the Bills didn’t do, despite national media reports to the contrary – they did not make a play for free-agent cornerback Darrelle Revis, who helped the New England Patriots win the Super Bowl, before he agreed to return to the New York Jets.
And a day after re-signing defensive end Jerry Hughes, the Bills also suffered a couple of free-agency losses: safety Da’Norris Searcy signed with the Tennessee Titans and tight end Lee Smith signed with the Oakland Raiders.
>News Sports Reporter Tim Graham contributed to this report.