Every offseason, teams often look to sign free agents who have ties to their coaching staff. As it currently stands, the 2018 Bills coaching staff will mainly be the same as it was in 2017. However, there are new faces at offensive coordinator, wide receiver coach, and defensive backs coach.
For your convenience, here is a compilation of logical player-coach connections with pertinent player information for the Bills among impending free agents. We'll update this list when necessary.
They’ve been labeled as "Direct Connections," which means that player played for the coach in 2017 on that coach’s side of the ball.
As the head coach, Sean McDermott is the exception here. Any impending free agent who was with Carolina in 2016 will fall under a "Past Connections" label.
Brian Daboll spent 2017 at the University of Alabama, so his Direct Connections will be anyone who played on the offensive side of the ball with the Patriots in 2016, when Daboll was the tight ends coach in New England.
Only direct connections are listed for non-coordinators. Coaches with an “assistant” tag on their job title are not included. Also, the age listed for each player is how old they’ll be when the 2018 regular season begins.
Players who did not play in 2017 are not included.
Sean McDermott, Head Coach
DT Star Lotulelei
Lotulelei was picked in the first round of the 2013 draft out of the University of Utah. The 28-year-old appeared in all 16 games for the Panthers in 2017 and had 25 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
G Andrew Norwell
Norwell was an undrafted free agent out of Ohio State in 2014. The 26-year-old played 100 percent of Carolina's offensive snaps (1,066) during the regular season in 2017.
DE Charles Johnson
The 32-year-old registered 16 tackles — and no sacks — in 12 games for the Panthers in 2017. He played 39.0 percent of the defensive snaps.
WR Brenton Bersin
The 6-foot-3, 211-pound 28-year-old wideout had eight receptions for 128 yards in 2017. He played 15.2 percent of the snaps.
TE Ed Dickson
Dickson played 81.6 percent of the Panthers' offensive snaps in 2017. The 31-year-old made 30 catches for 437 yards with one touchdown.
QB Derek Anderson
The 35-year-old quarterback went 2 of 8 for 17 yards in 2017 for Carolina.
OG Amini Silatolu
Picked in the second round of the 2012 draft out of Midwestern State, Silatolu's pro career has been marred by injury. He played in 14 games — three starts — at guard for the Panthers in 2017. He'll turn 30 early in the 2018 regular season.
Brian Daboll, Offensive Coordinator
RB Dion Lewis
The 27-year-old running back appeared on 35.5 percent of the Patriots' offensive snaps this past season. He averaged 5.0 yards per carry on 180 attempts with six rushing touchdowns. As a receiver, he caught 32 of 35 targets for 214 yards and three more scores.
OT Cameron Fleming
Fleming played 32.4 percent of New England's offensive snaps in 12 games at right tackle last year. He'll be 26 in early September.
WR Danny Amendola
Amendola was on the field for 49.8 percent of the Patriots' offensive snaps in 2017. He snagged 61 passes for 659 yards with two touchdowns. In the playoffs, the 32-year-old had 26 receptions for 348 yards and two scores in three games.
OT Nate Solder
Picked in the first round of the 2011 draft, Solder was New England's left tackle for 97.8 percent of its offensive plays during the regular season. He'll be 30 in April.
RB Brandon Bolden
The 28-year-old running back played just 3.6 percent of the Patriots' offensive snaps in 2017. He had 13 carries for 67 yards.
OT LaAdrian Waddle
Waddle, a soon-to-be 27-year-old tackle, played 29.3 percent of New England's offensive snaps this past season at right tackle.
WR Matthew Slater
RB LeGarrette Blount
Blount won back-to-back Super Bowls — with New England in February of 2017 and with Philadelphia in February of 2018. In 2017 with the Eagles, the 31-year-old runner accumulated 766 yards on 173 carries with two rushing touchdowns during the regular season.
WR Michael Floyd
Floyd was a member of the Vikings in 2017 after a brief stint with the Patriots in 2016. The 28-year-old made 10 catches for 78 yards last year.
John Butler, Defensive Backs
LB Ben Heeney
Heeney, a fifth-round pick in 2015, only played eight defensive snaps for the Texans in 2017. He's 25.
LB Brian Peters
Peters played 6.5 percent of Houston's defensive snaps in 2017 and registered eight tackles. He'll be 29 when the regular season starts.
LB Jelani Jenkins
Jenkins, appeared on 7.9 percent of the Texans' defensive snaps last season, and he made 10 tackles. He'll be 26 in March.
DL Angelo Blackson
The 25-year-old defensive lineman played 18.8 percent of Houston's defensive snaps in 2017 and had nine tackles.
CB Johnathan Joseph
The soon-to-be 34-year-old corner played 72.8 percent of the Texans' defensive snaps last season. He registered 47 tackles, nine pass breakups and two interceptions.
CB Marcus Williams
Williams, who'll be 27 in March, played five games with the Jets before being released by the team which led to the Texans signing him off waivers. In 10 games in Houston, Williams had 10 tackles, four pass breakups and one pick.
Terry Robiskie, Wide Receivers
WR Harry Douglas
The 33-year old wideout played just 2.2 percent of Tennessee's offensive snaps in 2017 and had one catch for eight yards.
WR Eric Decker
The soon-to-be 31-year-old wideout played 71.7 percent of the Titans' offensive snaps last year and had 54 receptions for 563 yards with one score.
OG Quinton Spain
Spain, who'll be 27 in August, appeared on 87.5 percent of Tennessee's snaps on offense in 2017.
OG Brian Schwenke
Schwenke played 14.4 percent of Tennessee's offensive snaps last year and will be 27 in March.