Saturday, March 9, 2013

Bills a step closer to completing free-agent wish list


Two down, one to go.

Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix said during the NFL Combine just two weeks ago that he had three key free agents to solidify before March 12. He got one step closer Saturday, as the team reportedly re-signed cornerback and return man Leodis McKelvin to a multi-year contract. (photo: Matt Britt, Flickr)

According to Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News, McKelvin agreed to a four-year contract worth a little more than $20 million. More than a third of that, $7.5 million, is reportedly guaranteed money.

Nix pegged McKelvin as one of the team’s starting cornerbacks during the Combine, saying that he saw him winning that spot over teammate Aaron Williams. McKelvin temporarily took over for Williams when he went down with an injury in Week 8, and he tallied 21 total tackles and an interception in all of last season.

While Nix’s intention to keep McKelvin on as a defensive back is clear, where he’ll end up in defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s scheme is not. McKelvin started out at the slot corner position last season and struggled, but he showed improvement in the outside role for Williams as the season went on.

The pool of free-agent cornerbacks has gotten a bit fuller in the past week, and signing a sure-fire cover man could really solidify Pettine’s defensive back situation.

The team already took care of its primary need in the backfield by slapping the franchise tag on safety Jairus Byrd, who was another of Nix’s “needs” from the team’s free agent list. The last task for Nix’s wish list is offensive lineman Andy Levitre, who has drawn considerable interest from a number of teams around the league. With free agency officially starting on Tuesday, there has yet to be any confirmed communication between the two sides.

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