NFL free agency technically begins around 4 p.m. on Wednesday but courting players officially began around noon today, when what is known as the legal tampering period kicked off. It is during this period that NFL teams can start conversations with current or impending free agents and their representatives about the aspects of a potential NFL player contract. Figures can be exchanged, but nothing can be agreed upon or announced until Wednesday.
Well on this first day of “legal tampering” the Bills got to work inviting a guard not named Richie Incognito to town and tendering three of their six remaining restricted free agents.
Former Saints’ G Jahri Evans was at One Bills Dr. today, meeting with Bills’ brass about a potential deal. Evans first confirmed the visit on his own accord via Twitter, when he posted a picture of Niagara Falls alongside a screen shot of Bob Marley’s song Buffalo Solider.
— JAHRI EVANS (@J_7TRE_E) March 7, 2016
About an hour later the Bills announced that the six-time Pro Bowler was at their team facilities meeting with Buffalo. Since Evans was cut by New Orleans a few weeks ago he has the ability to sign a contract at anytime and does not have to wait until 4 p.m. on March 9. While the Bills have of course emphasized the importance of bringing back Pro Bowl G Richie Incognito, Evans could make a nice consolation prize if they’re unable to do so. At this point in time it would seem that talks between Buffalo and Incognito are at a standstill, making Evans visit that much more intriguing.
The Bills also made sure to tenure three of their remaining restricted free agents on Monday, offering qualifying contracts to DT Corbin Bryant, WR Chirs Hogan and T Jordan Mills.
Bryant had a solid season starting in place of the injured veteran Kyle Williams for 10 games. The 28 year old recorded 45 total tackles, six quarterback hits and two tackles for a loss. He’s important for the Bills moving forward in terms of bolstering their depth on the defensive front.
The 27-year old Hogan is coming off the most productive year of his career having logged a single-season personal best of 450 receiving yards, also scoring two touchdowns. While Hogan may not have established himself as a number two receiver the Bills desperately need, his presence as a third or fourth option is helpful.
As for Mills – who just turned 25 in December – he was able to appear in 10 games this past season and started five of them while Seantrel Henderson sat out because of Crohn’s disease. He adds some depth to Buffalo’s offensive line and could easily be part of the team’s open competition at right tackle.
The team did not disclose which level of the tender amounts they offered to each player, but reports indicate at Hogan was offered the lowest tender amount of $1.671 million. Given the state of Buffalo’s cap it’s likely they offered that low tender to Bryant and Mills as well, which would eat up about another $3 million in cap space. The trio will have until April 22 to sign their offer sheets if they want to remain in Buffalo, but are free to negotiate with other clubs.