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Free agency focus: What to do with DT Corbin Bryant

Unrestricted free agency opens in the NFL with the start of the new league year on March 9. With 22 players set to hit the open market, the Buffalo Bills have plenty of decisions to make between now and then. The Buffalo News will take a look at each player with an expiring contract, and offer a verdict on what the team should do. Next: Jordan Mills.

Position: Defensive tackle. Age: 29. 2016 stats: Eight games (six starts), 11 tackles.

Working in his favor: Bryant has provided the Bills with quality depth along the defensive line since working his way onto the roster and into the rotation in 2013. He has started 16 games over the past two years, and is a highly intelligent player capable of learning new systems quickly. Bryant had a career year in 2015, with 45 tackles.

Working against him: A shoulder injury limited Bryant to just eight games in 2016. Asked to play nose tackle in Rex Ryan's 3-4 scheme, his production took a dip. It's possible the Bills will want to go with younger, cheaper depth along the D-line, and might have it on the roster in 2016 draft pick Adolphus Washington.

Verdict: The Bills have to protect themselves against the possibility of Kyle Williams retiring and be mindful of the fact Marcell Dareus is one bad decision away from a 10-game suspension. Assuming he can make a full recovery from shoulder surgery, Bryant would offer that protection. At exactly 300 pounds, he was undersized to play in the middle of Ryan's scheme, but won't be asked to do that in the 4-3 defense that's expected to be implemented by new coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. He won't come with a big price tag, so keeping Bryant on a short-term, low-money deal should be a priority.

 

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