ORCHARD PARK, NY – A large contingent of Buffalo Bills fans grew worrisome, that restricted free agent OL Ryan Groy was on his way to Los Angeles, earlier this week. Worry no more.
According to ESPN’s Adam Kaplan, the Bills have agreed to match the Rams offer sheet of two years, $5 million, to keep their top backup offensive lineman in Buffalo. As a restricted free agent, Groy was initially tendered at the original-round level, which would have paid him 1.797 million next season, and gave Buffalo a chance to match any opposing offer extended to the 25-year-old. Groy signed the Rams offer sheet on Tuesday, giving the Bills five days to match it. They only needed two.
The two-year deal includes base salaries of $1.5 million and roster bonuses of $1 million in each of the next two seasons. $3.5 million is guaranteed.
After refusing to match the Patriots offer sheet for WR Chris Hogan last offseason, it appears the Bills didn’t want to lose another valuable restricted free agent in back-to-back offseasons.
I know there were quite a few people out there advocating the Bills to cut Eric Wood and sign Groy, which is a pretty absurd take given how solid Wood has been when healthy. Losing Groy wouldn’t have been as devastating as some made it out to be, but keeping him is a great decision.
Last season, Groy was immensely valuable for Buffalo after Wood broke his leg. As the team’s top backup he stepped right in and didn’t miss beat. Having a guy like Groy, who is only 25, ready to fill in at a moment’s notice is a luxury, especially when you consider Wood and G Richie Incognito are on the wrong side of 30 heading into the 2017 season.
Not only that, but this deal is very manageable for the Bills. They’ll only owe him $2.5 million over each of the next two seasons and if he continues to play well it could easily lead to a long-term deal in 2019, as Incognito’s contract expires.
Outside of the right tackle spot – which remains an obvious need for the Bills at this point – Buffalo is in great shape along the offensive line. They re-signed Jordan Mills over the weekend, ensuring all five of their 2016 starters up front are back next season and have players like Patrick Lewis, Cyrus Kouandjio, Groy and new addition Vlad Ducasse on standby. The idea of Mills starting at right tackle certainly isn’t a popular one after his up-and-down performance this past season, but keep in mind that even with a revolving door there last year the Bills still led the league in rushing. Obviously upgrading there would be preferred though, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see an open competition at training camp.
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