Five Under-the-Radar Free Agent Targets for the Buffalo Bills

Kenny Britt has the size the Bills need at wide receiver — and should come cheap. (Photo: Don McPeak — USA TODAY Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Ryan Talbot

The NFL’s free agency period doesn’t begin until March 11, but it’s where the Buffalo Bills’ focus will quickly shift following the NFL Scouting Combine.

Buffalo general manager Doug Whaley has already stated that the Bills have a value plan.

“I think we’re going to stay that course, value picks, guys that can come in and contribute and we get a real good return on our investment,” Whaley told WGR’s The John Murphy Show on Jan. 21. “We just set it up before we came down here. We set up the unrestricted free agents by position. What we’ll do is we have certain positions that we think will be interesting to us and we’ll pull out certain guys that we think we’ll be able to look at and talk to or try to get and when we get back we’ll give it to the coaches and have a free agent board set up just like a draft board by position and regardless of position.

Besides possibly resigning Jairus Byrd, Whaley’s comments make it seem unlikely that the Bills will target the top free agents on the market. Instead, the Bills should be looking for valuable, under-the-radar free-agent signings, such as the five possibilities below.

Mike Pollak, OG

Pollak spent the 2013 season with the Cincinnati Bengals, his third team in six years in the league. Pollak played on a modest, one-year, $780,000 deal and appeared in eight games, starting five of them. Pollak performed very well on the field, earning a +6.2 overall grade for the season from Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

Six of Pollak’s appearances were at right guard, but he played one game at center and one game at left guard. His versatility could help Buffalo along its interior offensive line.

Akeem Jordan, ILB

Brandon Spikes and Donald Butler are big-name free agents at inside linebacker, but Akeem Jordan is a free agent to watch. In 2013, Jordan played in all 16 games for the Kansas City Chiefs, starting 10 of them. Jordan’s greatest strength is playing against the run; in fact, Pro Football Focus ranked Jordan as the NFL’s fifth-best inside linebacker in the NFL against the run in 2013.

Jordan isn’t a three-down linebacker, but he would fit a need on the Bills as a run-stopper.

Kenny Britt, WR

Britt is still a big name, but he has had quite a fall from grace. After piling up more than 1,400 receiving yards between his first two seasons, Britt’s production has fallen off significantly in the past three years, in which he has totaled less than 1,000 receiving yards.

Britt has had injury issues, off-field problems and his fair share of drops, but he should receive a second opportunity somewhere in the league. Looking for a large wide receiver, Buffalo could be intrigued by Britt’s 6’3″ frame. While Britt guaranteed that he’ll be a No. 1 receiver in 2014, he’ll most likely have to settle for a short or incentive-laden deal. For the Bills, Britt could be a low-risk, high-reward free agent signing.

Chris Clemons, FS

If Jairus Byrd leaves the Bills, Chris Clemons is a solid replacement option. Clemons is unlikely to receive a deal close to what Byrd or T.J. Ward will get on the market, but he’s a rather productive safety. In 2013, Clemons started all 16 games for the Miami Dolphins and accounted for 93 total tackles.

In coverage, Pro Football Focus gave Clemons a +7.2 rating, the ninth-best among all NFL safeties 9th in the league among all safeties. Clemons isn’t as strong as Byrd against the run, but he’d still be an instant starter in Buffalo should Byrd go to a new team.

Kassim Osgood, ST

Technically, Osgood is a wide receiver, but whoever brings him in will do so for his special teams ability.

Doug Marrone said following the end of the 2013 season, according to Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News, that the Bills needed to add core special teams players. Osgood is an older player at 33 years old, but he still ranked eighth in the NFL with 15 special teams tackles last season. Signing Osgood wouldn’t garner much press, but he’d be an important part of Buffalo’s “core” on special teams.

Tags: 2014 NFL Offseason, 2014 Offseason, Akeem Jordan, Chris Clemons, Free Agents, Kassim Osgood, Kenny Britt, Mike Pollak

10 Responses to “Five Under-the-Radar Free Agent Targets for the Buffalo Bills”

  1. grif says:

    Nice. I hate how everyone is thinking the Bills are going to go after Eric Decker, Greg Olsen or Brandon Albert. The Bills don’t go after guys like that.

    Some other names to look at:

    Pat Angerer, ILB
    Daryl Sharpton, ILB
    Kavell Conner, ILB
    Mike Johnson, OT
    Anthony Collins, OT
    Jon Asamoah, OG
    Shawn Lauvao, OG

    • Ryan Talbot says:

      There are some good names on your list, grif. Looked at Angerer, but he’s not much of a run stopper. I really like Conner but I believe he’s a RFA.

  2. TJ Never says:

    Nice breakdown. Thank you. I am intrigued most by Chris Clemons and Akeem Jordan. Seem to be good players for probably not a lot of money.

  3. Denis Whitford says:

    Would trade out Kenny Britt for Hakeem Nicks or even Andre Roberts but love the list!!

    • Ryan Talbot says:

      Thanks for the kind words Denis. I wouldn’t consider Nicks an under-the-radar guy personally. I think he’ll get a decent deal somewhere (I’m guessing Detroit). Roberts is certainly an under-the-radar guy, but his height (5’11″) is a little too similar to Goodwin/Graham in my opinion. I appreciate you reading the article!

  4. Paul in Beijing says:

    Thanks for this article. It is great to see a more realistic appraisal of what the Bills might be thinking.

    I was wondering if you had considered any under-the-radar cornerbacks that might be able to step in if either of our outside starters goes down. While Nickell Robey is good as a nickel, I’m not sure we want him playing the outside for any extended period of time.

    • Ryan Talbot says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Here are a very solid CB options:

      Captain Munnerlyn: Small at 5’8″ but had a nice season in Carolina. Probably not a fit but someone will get him at a great price.

      Corey Graham: Fared pretty well in Baltimore last season. He started in five games and played significant snaps the entire season.

      Alterraun Verner: He may not be considered under the radar, but I’m a big fan.

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