Good morning, everyone.
The Bills' off-season continued this week with the team locking up another one of its core players long term in Cordy Glenn. On a per-year basis, he's the second-richest offensive tackle in NFL history. Great news for a team looking to pound teams on the ground again in 2015. Buffalo couldn't afford to start over on the O-Line and prioritized Glenn and Richie Incognito all along.
Below are notes on Glenn, if Stephon Gilmore is next and undrafted linebacker Eric Striker...
The Bills know who they are on offense. And, no, that hasn't always been the case. They've stumbled through an identity crisis seasons past, spending money in the wrong places and/or ignoring the wrong positions. After leading the NFL in rushing in 2015, they've invested in the players who made that happen. That's good business. Left guard Richie Incognito and left tackle Cordy Glenn anchored the line. So after inking a three-year, $15.75 million deal with Incognito, the Bills eventually extended their 26-year-old left tackle at five years, $65 million ($26.5 million guaranteed).
It was an easy call. Glenn has proven to be durable and productive.
At 6 foot 6, 345 pounds, he can maul defenders in the run game. While there are questions elsewhere on offense, he's as sure a thing as you'll find, capable of getting out in front of runs in Greg Roman's complex running scheme. Glenn and Incognito both found a rhythm with top back LeSean McCoy and the entire Bills' backfield. And in the pass game, he mostly handled the opponent's top pass rusher one on one. The likes of Kansas City's Tamba Hali, Philadelphia's Brandon Graham and Miami's edge rushers were complete non-factors against Glenn.
Finding starter-worthy tackles is not easy. Mike Remmers was abused in the Super Bowl by Von Miller was still re-signed by the Carolina Panthers. No, the Bills couldn't afford to lose Glenn after his tag expired. Want toughness? Glenn played through the entire 2014 season after having a kidney removed. You want grit like this on your offensive line. Smart move by Doug Whaley and the Bills front office to get this done.
All of this from a player who many NFL scouts believed would need to kick inside to guard out of Georgia. The knock on Glenn was that he wouldn't be quite long enough to corral pass rushers at the next level. Well, Buddy Nix had something to do with that narrative himself. The ex-Bills GM admitted afterward "Hell no he’s not a guard. He started 50 games and the last 16 were at left tackle. We put it out there and tried to spread the rumor that he was a guard to hope somebody wouldn’t take him.”
Nix missed on some picks, but he nailed this one. And the 2016 Bills have a very clear identity. They'll be running the ball early and often.
So what now? Cornerback Stephon Gilmore and quarterback Tyrod Taylor are entering contract deals and these ones will be a bit trickier.
Taylor's reps won't be holding back after seeing the Houston Texans sign Brock Osweiler at four years, $72 million contract and Gilmore can make the case right now that he's more valuable than Josh Norman, who signed with the Washington Redskins at five years, $75 million. While the Bills could pay up for Gilmore and back-load the deal to save dough in 2016, why wouldn't Gilmore want to test his market value next March? It wasn't just Norman who got paid. Janoris Jenkins, who has been mostly good not great, was paid $62.5 million over five years.
Injuries have snakebitten Gilmore at times, no doubt. He'll need to prove he can stay healthy for a full season.
But when he's on the field, Gilmore has handled No. 1 receivers alone on an island. Those corners are difficult to find. It wouldn't be a shock if he bet on himself and played into a contract year.
Judging by the words of his agent, Taylor doesn't seem to be anywhere near an extension with the Bills. And it's wise for the Bills to see if the quarterback can stay healthy, work the middle of the field and finish more games. Check all those boxes through a playoff season and he'll be worth the extension.
Eric Striker gets his shot in Buffalo. By releasing a trio of vets this week, the Bills opened the door a little wider for undrafted players to make the team. Out of the whole lot --- at least here on May 4 --- Striker has as good a shot as anyone to make the 53-man roster.
Striker, possibly The Most Interesting Man at his position in the draft, didn't get picked and the world lived through him on an emotional video that went viral. This week, he assured this draft-day slide wouldn't be forgotten.
Of course, Striker is also a realist. He knows why he slid in the draft and admitted that he sort of expected a fall after going on zero official visits. Teams couldn't get past the fact that he's 5 foot 11, 227 pounds, very small for a linebacker. He also ran a 4.80, slow for a safety. Striker is the quintessential player with no position.
And yet sometimes, the film doesn't lie. Striker dominated games in totaling 46.5 tackles for loss, 23 sacks and 12 pass break-ups during his three years starting. Count on one Bills tackle remembering. As a sophomore, Striker worked over Cyrus Kouandjio with his speed off the edge again and again and again. Striker finished with three of the Sooners' seven sacks in a 45-31 Sugar Bowl win. It was such a rough night that Kouandjio apologized to Alabama fans afterward.
Striker is undersized, yes, but our good Twitter pal, bre_88, might've put it best in emoji form.
He brings eye-popping explosion that can be used in a defense some way, somehow.