The Bills have the option to add a fifth year onto Shaq Lawson's contract by virtue of selecting him in the first round of the draft. But the decision must be made before Lawson's fourth NFL season, meaning the deadline is coming this offseason (May 3, to be exact). Should the Bills do it?
"Well, we’ve still got time," general manager Brandon Beane said in a radio interview this week. "Right now our focus is on the draft. Shaq’s out training and (we) have checked in with him through a couple people a couple of times just to see how he’s doing. I know he’s looking forward to coming back. We’ll probably wait and approach that a little bit closer to the deadline. Again, we’re just getting done with free agency and now all focus is on the draft."
Beane doesn't seem to be in any hurry to get Lawson locked down. The fifth-year option would provide a healthy raise that Lawson's performance hasn't necessarily warranted (10 career sacks). Still, there's a line of thought that someone with the talent of a first-round pick can be made into a productive player with the right opportunity, and paying the salary increase is a small price to pay if the player reaches his full potential.
Beane's unassertive response also leaves open the thought that Lawson could become a trade chip at the draft. The new team could pick up Lawson's option and give him two years to flourish with a change of scenery.
Remember, Lawson was drafted to be an "off the bus" starter in Rex Ryan's defense and was inherited by Beane and Sean McDermott, who already declined to pick up the fifth-year option on Sammy Watkins. Add in the fact that the Bills are still in on Ziggy Ansah and it raises more questions about how Lawson's role in the future.
Wait, what about Ziggy Ansah? The Bills had Ansah in for a visit last week and remain in contention to sign him. "We had a great visit with Ziggy," Beane said. "He’s a great young man. You know, he had a tough shoulder injury last year and he’s still rehabbing that. I know he went on a couple other visits, or at least one other that I’m aware of. We had great talks with him and his agent, and it’s kind of just at a standstill right now, but it doesn’t mean it will or it won’t happen. We’ll see going forward. We’ll stay in touch with him and his representatives."
Report: Bills set to host tackle-turned-tight end Jake Fisher: What better player to bring in as a blocking tight end than a former tackle? Fisher has reportedly shed weight and worked on his hands to transition to tight end. The Bills have seemingly taken notice.
Bills free agent tight end Logan Thomas signs with Detroit Lions: Speaking of converted tight ends, the QB-turned-TE Logan Thomas is no longer with the team. He signed with the Lions this week after the Bills chose not to extend him an offer.
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Story topics: Shaq Lawson