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Free agency focus: What to do with LB Lerentee McCray

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 will 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: Marquise Goodwin.

Position: Linebacker. Age: 26. 2016 stats: 13 games, 16 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 blocked punt.

Working in his favor: The Bills gave up an asset to acquire McCray shortly before the season started, trading a 2017 seventh-round draft pick to Green Bay. That shows that General Manager Doug Whaley sees some value in him. McCray played a primary role on special teams, taking 55 percent of the snaps there – third most on the team. He played 15 percent of the defensive snaps.
Working against him: A concussion late in the season cost McCray three games. The team is also expected to transition from a 3-4 scheme to a 4-3, which means McCray will have to adapt to a new position. He failed to show much of a pass-rush presence in his few defensive opportunities, failing to record a sack.

Verdict: Entering his fourth season, McCray should be able to be retained on a veteran-minimum contract. The new coaching staff has shown a willingness to re-sign players who have filled important special-teams roles, so it would make sense to bring him back on a one-year contract as low-cost depth.

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