MOBILE, Ala. — Negotiations will soon begin between free agents and the Buffalo Bills' brass. General manager Doug Whaley said he met with coaches and soon Senior VP of Football Administration Jim Overdorf would reach out to agents.
Tackle Cordy Glenn and guard Richie Incognito have already been pegged the top priorities publicly by the Bills. And they could both command a lot of money on the open market.
One source in the know here at the Senior Bowl predicted that Glenn's "floor" could be $10 million per year.
Why? This is a perfect storm for the left tackle. He plays a premium position, he's still young at 26 years old, there isn't much else available at all in free agency and the transition from college to the pros for rookie tackles has been particularly brutal the last few years. Buffalo can either pay up long term or pay up short term with the franchise tag. That number is expected to be north of $10 million. Last season's projected tag for offensive linemen was $12.9 million.
The Bills could ink Glenn to such a one-year pact, gradually put themselves in a better salary-cap situation and then lock up their tackle for multiple years at some point during the 2016 season.
There haven't been any substantive talks between the two sides yet because the Bills financially couldn’t even go there after extending defensive tackle Marcell Dareus long term at six years, $108 million.
And the $10 million floor shouldn’t be too surprising. Tackles have been getting paid.
The top five in total pay for 2016, according to Spotrac, are currently Washington’s Trent Williams ($17 million), Minnesota’s Matt Kalil ($11.1 million), the New York Jets’ D’Brickashaw Ferguson ($10.4 million), San Francisco’s Joe Staley ($10.1 million) and Dallas’ Tyron Smith ($10 million). Behind them, both Cleveland’s Joe Thomas and Denver’s Ryan Clady are scheduled to make $9.5 million.
Williams' deal could be a potential point of reference. He signed with the Redskins last August at five years, $66 million ($13.2 million per year).
It hasn't helped Buffalo's cause that 2014 second-rounder Cyrus Kouandjio hasn't been able to get onto the field through two seasons. When Seantrel Henderson battled his illness, midseason pick-upJordan Mills got the nod at right tackle instead.
Glenn's resume is impressive.
Buffalo's No. 1-ranked rushing attack was most effective running to the left side of the line last season behind the two free agents. Glenn is the rare tackle who can roll up his sleeves in the ground game, while also keeping premier pass rushers at bay — in the loss at Kansas City he dominant against an elite pass rusher, Tamba Hali. He was dependable, too. Glenn played all but 16 snaps last season. And the year prior, it was later revealed, Glenn played on after having a kidney removed.
While they're still figuring out if Tyrod Taylor is the answer, the Bills have a great thing going between Glenn, Incognito and offensive line coach Aaron Kromer and will be trying to keep that all intact.
History suggests the franchise tag is the most likely scenario. Glenn’s agent, Pat Dye, previously inked tags with three other players in such a position — Jeff Backus, Charles Grant and Ryan Clady — and all were able to then sign long-term deals with their respective teams before those tags expired. Here with Glenn, however, there would be more money at play.