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Tag:Buffalo Bills
Posted on: November 2, 2011 11:56 pm
 

Fred Jackson confident about getting deal done

Jackson

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Aside from Chicago’s Matt Forte -- who feels like the Bears are grinding him to a pulp -- the running back who’s most deserving of a raise is Buffalo’s Fred Jackson.

Forte is making a paltry $600,000 and is a free agent after this season, though a prime suspect to be franchised by Chicago, and he’s the league leader with 1,091 yards from scrimmage. Jackson, meanwhile, makes $1.75 million this year and is slated to earn $1.83 million in 2012, and he has accumulated 1,074 all-purpose yards.

It’s clear Forte is underpaid, but so is Jackson, and while the former gets nowhere in negotiations with his squad, the latter has apparently received assurances from his organization that it’ll make Jackson happy with a new deal.

According to 550 WGR radio, Jackson and Bills general manager Buddy Nix had a meeting three weeks ago, and now Jackson expresses his belief that a deal will get done eventually.

“He let me know that he was thinking about me, but they just had some other stuff that they had to take care of first,” Jackson said. “I've got a lot of faith in him and that's what I'll continue to do. Just put my faith in him and see what happens."

First, the Bills -- who already have re-signed Ryan Fitzpatrick for six years and $59 million -- have to take care of Rian Lindell and offensive tackle Erik Pears. They’ll also have to decide if they want to re-sign receiver Stevie Johnson, who’s a free agent after this season.

But as we talked about Wednesday on the CBSSports.com experts chat (and Pete Prisco was outspoken about the issue), is it really worth it to pay running backs top-notch money? Our consensus: probably not.

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 2:33 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2011 9:05 pm
 

Is $59 million for Fitzpatrick really worth it?

FitzpatrickPosted by Josh Katzowitz

While I probably shouldn’t be surprised that the Bills have given quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick a reported six-year contract extension worth $59 million with a $24 million guarantee, I just don’t know if it makes sense.

He’s been solid the past two seasons as Buffalo’s No. 1 guy (and he’s been better this year than he was last season), but I can’t erase the visions of his play in 2008 when he replaced an injured Carson Palmer in Cincinnati. I thought he was nothing more than a backup then, and though, in a few ways, he’s proven that he is a capable starting quarterback, you have to wonder how long his career peak will last.

And if this deal ultimately will be worth it for the Bills.

As CBSSports.com’s Clark Judge writes, “I just wonder why they were in such a rush. I mean, the guy has been a backup most of his career, then broke into the starting lineup off and on the past two years after Trent Edwards fizzled. Now, six games into the season we've seen enough to believe he's a franchise quarterback? Geez, I don't know. I mean, he's 15-17 as a starter with Buffalo.”

I have little doubt that the Bills love the guy (obviously), and I know he’s a Harvard-educated man that plays the game in a smart way. Plus, pairing him with coach Chan Gailey might be the best thing that ever happened to Fitzpatrick. But $59 million for Fitzpatrick seems like a steep price to pay for a quarterback who’s probably hit the ceiling on how well he can play.

Hell, maybe I’m wrong. After all, Fitzpatrick went from being a backup who played minimally during the first three years of his career to a guy who commands nearly $10 million a year. The odds of that happening -- and Fitzpatrick could probably give us the exact figure -- could not have been good.

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Posted on: October 27, 2011 11:39 am
 

Keep an Eye On: Week 8's finer points of analysis

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



Giants vs. Dolphins
One of the more confounding issues with the Dolphins this season has been the decline of their pass-rush. After recording 39 sacks in 2010 (tied for 10th best in the NFL) Miami entered last week’s game against Denver with just eight. They wound up recording seven sacks in the game, but that was in part because of Tim Tebow’s inability to make quick reads or get the ball out.

The Giants’ reshuffled offensive line has been hit or miss in pass protection thus far (more “hit” than “miss”). At Arizona in Week 4, their brilliant protection practically won the game. But the next week it waffled against Seattle’s underrated D-line (Chris Clemons rather enjoyed facing left tackle Will Beatty).

The Dolphins have one of the game’s best all-around edge-rushers in Cameron Wake, the reigning AFC sack leader. His leverage and tenacity give him strength that’s much better than his size indicates. Wake has been oddly quiet in non-two minute situations this season, though he abused Denver’s somewhat lumbering right tackle, Orlando Franklin, last week.

Giants right tackle Kareem McKenzie is more polished than Franklin but has slower feet. He’ll need help. On the other side, Miami may have an under-the-radar pass-rushing talent in Jared Odrick, who somewhat resembles a thicker Jason Taylor.

Ravens vs. Cardinals
The Ravens offense owes everyone a good performance after ruining one of our 17 precious Monday night games. They should be able to get on track against a Cardinals defense that has struggled to generate a consistent pass-rush despite aggressive blitzes from new coordinator Ray Horton.

The intrigue is on the other side of the ball. Roughly two months after the trade and $20-million-plus investment in Kevin Kolb, some Cardinal fans are actually wondering if the 27-year-old quarterback should be benched. That’s the kind of ridiculous thinking that those who don’t actually contribute any skin in the game can get away with. Ken Whisenhunt knows that he’d never get another coaching job if he were to bench Kolb for John Skelton.

Kolb hasn’t been great, but he’s hardly the problem. Arizona’s “non-Fitzgerald” receivers have not been able to get open. General manager Rod Graves may deserve some heat for letting Steve Breaston get away this past offseason, though Graves’ logic was understandable at the time. Third-round rookie Andre Roberts showed intriguing potential as a speedy slasher last season.

Roberts looked like a future starter, and he cost a fraction of what Breaston would have cost. So Graves banked on him. Roberts has responded by failing to reach 40 yards receiving in every game this season. The good-looking prospect prior to Roberts, Early Doucet, has been equally ineffective.

Teams can sometimes get away with having only one quality wide receiver, but not if their offensive tackles stink. And there’s no denying that Levi Brown and Brandon Keith – two heavy-footed lumberers with inconsistent technique – stink.

So far Kolb has been awful when throwing off-balance. It’s doubtful he’ll get to be on balance much against a staunch Ravens D.

Bills vs. Redskins
Don’t pick the Redskins this week. It’s a matter of principle, if nothing else. No team should have expectations placed on it after making a change at quarterback and losing its top wide receiver, running back, tight end, left tackle and left guard in a two-week span. This will look like a preseason version of the Redskins. How will they cope?

It helps that Mike Shanahan’s system runs more fluidly with John Beck than it does with Rex Grossman. Beck is smoother reading the field and much better at play-action rollouts and bootlegs than Grossman. Accuracy is a bit of a concern, however. As for the other injuries and replacement ...

RB Tim Hightower (knee – out for season) had found his niche in this zone-run scheme, but he’ll be missed most in the passing game. Ryan Torain is a decent upright power-runner with a spring in his step, but he can’t stick pass-rushers the way Hightower could.

WR Santana Moss (hand – out 5-7 weeks) was Washington’s only creator on offense. He could generate his own space and turn an underneath catch into a 60-yard scamper. Either Niles Paul or Anthony Armstrong will replace him. Both have flashed at times, but neither is completely trustworthy. And, unlike with Moss, defenses won’t have to even ponder the possibility of double coverage.

TE Chris Cooley (finger, knee – out for season) was trending down and losing his role to Fred Davis prior to get hurting. Davis can fill Cooley’s receiving shoes. But the Redskins are now down a good in-line blocker in the run game. With Cooley and Davis, Washington had the benefit of balancing its formation with a viable pass-catching tight end on each side. This often compelled defenses to stay in basic front seven looks. New backup tight end Logan Paulsen won’t command that kind of respect.

LT Trent Williams (high ankle sprain – out 0-4 weeks) has missed most of the last two games. Pretty easy to identify the impact of his absence: backup Sean Locklear is experienced but much slower than Williams all-around.

LG Kory Lichtensteiger (knee – out for season) was one of the unheralded heroes for this team down the stretch last year and prior to going down in Week 6. Center Will Montgomery moved one spot to the left to fill Lichtensteiger’s void. Montgomery is interchangeable that way, but his replacement in the middle, Erik Cook, a seventh-round pick in ’10, was a noticeable downgrade coming off the bench. He had issues snapping the ball and was overwhelmed by defensive tackle Mike Peterson on a few plays. The Redskins can only hope those were Cook’s jitters working themselves out.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 8 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: October 25, 2011 10:53 pm
 

Eye on Football NFL experts chat: 1 pm Wednesday

Posted by Will Brinson

The midway point of the NFL is nearly upon us (or at least close) and it's time to start separating the contenders and the pretenders. Oh, and guessing who will sign Terrell Owens.

Does your team qualify for any and/or all of those things? Would you want your squad inking T.O.? Join Mike Freeman, Clark Judge, Pete Prisco, Josh Katzowitz, Ryan Wilson and myself Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET to discuss.

We'll also chat about whether Chris Johnson can get things going against defensively incapable Colts, if the Steelers can keep their strong roll going against a team in the Patriots that's had their number recently and everything Week 8 related.



For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: October 25, 2011 5:09 pm
 

Bills Shawne Merriman placed on injured reserve

Posted by Will Brinson

Shawne Merriman's 2011 season is over as he was placed on injured reserve with an Achilles tendon injury, the Bills announced on Tuesday.

Merriman, signed by Buffalo this offseason on a two-year, $10.5 million deal, injured his Achilles tendon again before Week 6's loss to the Giants and didn't play.

"Shawne has worked extremely hard, but unfortunately, his Achilles flared back up and it doesn't appear that he will be able to return to the field anytime soon," Bills general manager Buddy Nix said in a statement released by the team. "So we felt it was in the best interest of our team and for Shawne to put him on IR."

Merriman played in just three games with the Bills in 2010 (Buffalo claimed him off of waivers after the Chargers decided to release him last November) before suffering the same Achilles injury and missing the remainder of the year.

His career's been rocky from the start with Buffalo, as Merriman was injured in his first practice as a Bill and the former superstar only has one sack since switching teams.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 9:18 am
 

Report: Bills, Fitzpatrick close on new contract

The Bills have no plans of letting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick get away this offseason. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the former seventh-round pick out of Harvard who was destined for a life as an NFL backup quarterback, is close to getting a shiny new contract from the Bills. The two sides have made significant progress the past two weeks, according to multiple reports, and the hope is that a deal is in place shortly.

Buffalo is on their bye week, and the organization has closed the building through the weekend, which means that talks are temporarily on hold. Still, the 4-2 Bills owe much of their early-season success to Fitzpatrick, who has been one of the league's best quarterbacks (66.3 completion percentage, 1,477 passing yards, 12 TDs, 6 INTs).

According to NFL Network's Jason La Canfora, Fitzpatrick's new contract is expected to pay him somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million a season, "but the sides still were trying to resolve issues such as guaranteed money (the Bills traditionally keep those figures relatively low)."

ESPN's Chris Mortensen hears something similar, noting that Fitzpatrick's new contract should fall in the $9 million-to-$12 million range, and adds that the Bills QB is in the last year of a three-year, $6.9 million deal he signed as a backup. His base salary is $3.195 million for 2011 and "it's expected he will be paid at least in the range of Kansas City's Matt Cassel, who signed a six-year, $63 million contract with the Chiefs."

The annual salary is considered "second-tier" quarterback money, which is about where Fitzpatrick falls at this stage in his career. He's not yet elite, but certainly something more than just a reliable starter.


A full set of predictions for the 7th week of the season! Charles Barkley joins Cris Collinsworth, Phil Simms, and Warren Sapp for a super-sized web-exclusive from Inside the NFL.

After taking care of Fitzpatrick, expect the Bills to start working on new deals for wide receiver Stevie Johnson and running back Fred Jackson, two players who have blossomed under second-year head coach Chan Gailey. If Buffalo and Fitzpatrick can't come to an agreement, the organization almost certainly will franchise him in 2012.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: October 15, 2011 3:45 pm
 

For the gambler in you, Week 6

Posted by Josh Katzowitz



Each Saturday, we’ll take the best -- and most clever -- odds collected by bodog.com for the upcoming week and give our take. This is important stuff, perhaps the most important post you’ll read all week. Because if you can’t lose money while watching a game in which you have absolutely no effect, what’s the point of watching sports at all?

Regular season win total -- Philadelphia Eagles 

Over 7½ (+110)

Under 7½ (-140)

The fundamental question here (obviously) is whether you believe the Eagles will get themselves together and play like the team most of us thought they could be (not at Dream Team expectations per se, but better than what they’re currently shoveling each week on the field for us to examine). They’re 1-4 right now. Looking at the rest of their schedule, they should beat the Cardinals, Seahawks and Dolphins. Then, they’d have to get four more wins against the likes of the Redskins (twice), Cowboys, Bears, Giants (twice), Patriots and Jets. Honestly -- and I don’t know why -- I’d go with the over, but man, I’d be nervous about that pick.

Which team will win the Number 1 pick in the 2012 NFL draft?    

Indianapolis Colts 3/1       

Miami Dolphins 7/2     
 
St. Louis Rams 7/2    
  
Jacksonville Jaguars 4/1

Carolina Panthers 6/1

Denver Broncos 7/1       

Minnesota Vikings 9/1    
  
Arizona Cardinals 10/1    
 
Any Other Team 9/1    

Ah, the Suck for Luck special. I think the Colts will play well enough to win some games, and I have a suspicion the Rams will turn around their season a bit. But I have no faith in the Dolphins. With each loss, the team gets further away from Tony Sparano, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team completely quit in the second half of the season. Then, replace the injured Chad Henne with Andrew Luck, and we’ll see if Miami can resurrect its organization.

Which New York state team will have the best regular season record?
 
Buffalo Bills 5/4       

New York Giants 2/1       

New York Jets 2/1 

I love this question, and I love this answer: the Bills.

Tim Tebow - total starts in the 2011 regular season?   
    
Over/Under 7 ½

How do you go back to Kyle Orton in this situation? You don’t. Unless Tebow gets injured, I think he’s the starter the rest of the season. I’d go over.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: October 12, 2011 9:43 am
Edited on: October 12, 2011 10:51 am
 

Eye on Football NFL Awards: Week 5



Posted by Will Brinson

Every week, our NFL experts will hand out the Eye on Football hardware to the best of the best from the NFL week that was.

Week 5 NFL Awards
Expert Offense Defense STeams Coach
Freeman     Cutler  Rogers  Janikowski  Harbaugh
Prisco     Best  Wilson  Novak  Jackson
Brinson Green-Ellis  Allen  Janikowski  Frazier
Katzowitz  R-berger  Wilson  Janikowski  Harbaugh
Wilson  R-Berger  Barnett  Janikowski  Schwartz
Week 5's in the books and so are our ballots -- let's recap exactly why people won what they won.

Jay Cutler got a vote because even though he lost, the Bears offensive line is embarrassing. But Ben Roethlisberger, who plays behind an inept line as well, got more votes for his ability to play through injury and do what Ben do.

On defense, beating the Eagles is still considered impressive apparently, because George Wilson (and Nick Barnett) were mentioned the most and pick up our Eye on Defense awards.

Sebastian Janikowski, aka the Polish Cannon, was nearly a unanimous selection for Eye on Special Teams -- he was one Nick Novak vote away from sweeping the award this week, and it's understandable given he bombed three fifty-yard field goals.

For Eye on Coaching, things were much different -- Hue Jackson was the emotional favorite heading in, but Jim Harbaugh's business-like beatdown of the Bucs garnered him enough support to pick up the award.

Leave your votes in the comments below or scream angrily at us on Twitter @EyeOnNFL.

Eye on Offense Award
Mike Freeman Ryan Wilson
Jay Cutler Jay Cutler, QB, Bears
He didn't the win game. His statistics weren't great but it's rare to see a quarterback get the living hell beat of him like that and keep fighting. Fighting. That's not a word commonly associated with Cutler especially since half of league went on Twitter and trashed his toughness during that debacle of a playoff game last season. The only guy I saw get beat up more was Mark Sanchez against Baltimore. Cutler and Matt Forte almost single-handedly kept the Bears in the game.
Darren McFaddenBen Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
It took a sprained left foot to the franchise quarterback and injuries up and down the roster, but the Steelers' offense -- and Roethlisberger -- looked crisp and efficient against the Titans. Big Ben finished with five touchdowns, and 24 of 34 passing, with many of the completions coming on three-step drops. Funny how that works.
Pete Prisco Will Brinson
Jahvid Best Jahvid Best, RB, Lions
Best ran for163 yards on 12 carries, including an 88-yard touchdown run against the Bears Monday night that helped give the Lions a 21-10 win. He averaged 13.6 per carry. Best has big-play ability that compliments the Lions' wide-open passing game.
BenJarvus Green-EllisBenJarvus Green-Ellis
"The Law Firm" was supposed to lose carries to Stevan Ridley heading into the Jets game. So much for that -- Ellis won on summary judgment against Rex Ryan's defense, running for 136 yards and two TDs on 27 carries, using a punishing physicality to help the Patriots seal a crucial division victory.
Josh Katzowitz
Ben RoethlisbergerBen Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
We got word that Roethlisberger and his bad foot were limping around the locker room before the game. But after throwing for five touchdowns in Pittsburgh’s blowout win, Roethlisberger was either faking or it was just another “too tough to know any better” performances. He also did a nice job of adjusting in order to make up for a beat-up offensive line.
Eye on Defense Award
Freeman Wilson
Carlos RogersCarlos Rogers, CB, 49ers
He returned a Tampa Bay interception 31 yards for a touchdown. It was a good play but the truth is that entire 49ers defense deserved the award. They gave up just three points and you can see the 49ers start to take on the no-nonsense personality of the coach. This is what the 49ers had hoped to do when the organization hired Mike Singletary.
Nick Barnett Nick Barnett, LB, Bills
He intercepted Vick twice, including a pick-six. Of course, beating the Eagles isn't quite as prestigious as it was a month ago, but given the Bills' recent history, I'm guessing they won't quibble.

Prisco Brinson
George WilsonGeorge Wilson, S, Bills
Wilson doesn't get a lot of due, but he should. He was all over the field against the Eagles. He had 11 tackles, three passes defensed, an interception and a tackle for loss. He was everywhere in the Bills upset of the Eagles.
Jared AllenJared Allen, DE, Vikings
Allen did what he's done all year -- disrupt the passer. But this time, the Vikings finally won. Allen harassed Kevin Kolb into an absolutely horrible game, sacking him twice, picking up three tackles, three QB hits and recovering a fumble. Give Minny's D credit for finally holding a lead.
Katzowitz
George Wilson George Wilson, Nick Barnett, Bills
The Bills just keep on winning, and Sunday’s victory was a credit to their D. Wilson was all over the field with 11 tackles and a pick, and Barnett returned a Vick interception for a TD and then picked Vick again in the fourth quarter as the Eagles were driving for a potential game-tying touchdown.
Eye on Special Teams Award
Freeman Wilson
Sebastian JanikowskiSebastian Janikowski, K, Raidersy K
Janikowski tied an NFL record with three field goals of 50 yards or more. Not bad for a former fat boy party dude. Few players not named Vick have improved their public image over the years better than Janikowski. He's always had a strong leg but these days he's more disciplined and his accuracy and ability to boot long kicks makes him a terrific scoring threat.
Sebastian Janikowski Sebastian Janikowski, K, Raiders
He was 4 for 4 on field-goal attempts, none closer than 42 yards. Janikowski also converted from 55, 54 and 50. We almost expected him to run on the field and intercept Matt Schaub in the end zone on the last play of the game, too.
Prisco Brinson
Nick NovakNick Novak, K, Chargers
When the Chargers lost Nate Kaeding for the season on opening day with a knee injury, there was great concern about the kicking game. Novak has alleviated those fears. He made all five of his field goals against Denver and hasn't missed this season.
Sebastian JanikowskiSebastian Janikowski, K, Raiders
As awesome as the Polish Cannon's headshot is, I might just name him special teams player of the week every week from here on out. But he deserved it in Week 5, accounting for 13 of the Raiders 25 points with a 4-4 day, including three field goals longer than 50 yards each.
Katzowitz
Sebastian Janikowski Sebastian Janikowski, K, Raiders
He kicked a 54-yard field goal and followed that up with a 55-yarder. Then, one from 50 and one from 42. It was fitting on this day in particular because he had been selected in the first round of the 2000 NFL draft. By Al Davis.
 
Eye on Coaching Award
Freeman Wilson
Jim HarbaughJim Harbaugh, 49ers
The 49ers are 4-1. Repeat: the formerly sorry ass 49ers and their formerly sorry quarterback Alex Smith are 4-1. Harbaugh has been able to make Smith into a viable quarterback threat. Repeat: Alex Smith is good. How'd that happen?: Harbaugh, that's how.
Jim SchwartzJim Schwartz, Lions
The Lions are 5-0, including Monday night's win over the Bears in their biggest game in more than a decade. For some perspective, Detroit won five games in a season or fewer six times during Matt Millen's eight-year reign of terror.

Prisco Brinson
Hue JacksonHue Jackson, Raiders
With the death of owner Al Davis hanging over this team, Jackson got his team ready to upset a good Houston team on the road. That takes keeping the focus. The Raiders are playing much better this season, and Jackson deserves the credit.
Leslie FrazierLeslie Frazier, Vikings
Good on Frazier for holding onto a lead and winning his first game as a full-time head coach in Minnesota -- Frazier's tenure with the Vikings started off ... interestingly, with the Vikings blowing a slew of double-digit leads. Sunday was a critical win for Frazier and the Vikes.
Katzowitz
Jim Harbaugh Jim Harbaugh, 49ers
I thought about giving this award to Hue Jackson, just because of the emotion of the weekend with Al Davis’ death, but the 49ers are 4-1 and coming off a 48-3 destruction of pretty decent Buccaneers squad. You read that right: 4-1 and 48-3. That’s on Harbaugh.
 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com