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Free agency focus: What to do with FB Jerome Felton

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: Sergio Brown.

Position: Fullback. Age: 30. 2016 stats: 15 games (four starts), 8 carries, 13 yards, 6 catches, 57 yards.

Working in his favor: After being released at final cuts, the Bills brought Felton back following the season opener and he rewarded them with a solid year as LeSean McCoy's lead blocker. While his stats aren't eye-popping, Felton did get some short-yardage carries, but his true value is in opening holes for McCoy, with whom he's developed a definite chemistry. The two are as close off the field as they are on it.
Working against him: A new offensive system that will be installed by Rick Dennison might not emphasize the running game as much as Rex Ryan's "ground and pound" philosophy did. Felton is also going to be 31 next season. At that age, the Bills might want to try and get younger and more athletic at the position. His special-teams contributions are minimal, as well, making Felton rather one dimensional.

Verdict: Felton shouldn't cost much, so the Bills should re-sign him and pick up an undrafted free agent to compete with him at training camp. If Felton beats him out, the Bills will have a solid lead blocker – and one of McCoy's close friends – on the roster. Last year, the Broncos used a fullback on more than 20 percent of offensive snaps, so there is a role for the position in the offense.


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