- Mike Rodak, ESPN Staff Writer
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Now we'll ask this: What do we expect to learn about the Bills in March?
As the Bills move into the third month of the offseason, here's what is on the radar:
Does Byrd stay grounded in Buffalo? We'll get a better sense for this later Monday, when the NFL's deadline to assign the franchise tag passes. If the Bills don't tag Jairus Byrd, then he can begin negotiating with other teams Saturday. The Bills, according to the Associated Press, are no longer negotiating with Byrd after offering him a deal that would have paid him $30 million over the first three seasons. Regardless of the Bills' offer, Byrd has waited a long time to hit the open market and will soon get his chance. His days in Buffalo could be numbered.
What will happen to the Toronto series? The Bills have played a regular-season game in Toronto for the past six seasons, but that could soon come to an end. The Bills have delayed sending invoices to their season-ticket holders, which are typically sent in early February. The delay could be related to the team needing to make a decision on hosting an eighth home game, which would be added to the slate if the Toronto series is ended. In January, CEO Russ Brandon said the team would "evaluate" the game after concerns about game atmosphere and dwindling attendance.
Where do Bills turn in free agency? With the NFL salary cap set at $133 million and the Bills carrying over almost $18 million of unused cap space, they are in relatively good cap health entering the start of the free-agent signing period. If they do not franchise Byrd and do not give him a lucrative extension, they will have greater spending power on the open market. As of Saturday, the Bills were $25 million under their adjusted 2014 salary cap. Where may that money go? The Bills will need help at safety if Byrd leaves, while they could add veteran help at wide receiver, tight end, and offensive line to supplement potential draft choices at those positions.
Testing the trade market: General manager Doug Whaley used the trade market to his advantage last offseason, dealing linebacker Kelvin Sheppard to the Indianapolis Colts for defensive end Jerry Hughes. That move paid dividends for the Bills' defense and could open the door for similar deals to happen this offseason. The NFL allows trades beginning March 11.
Cap cuts: Even with $25 million in cap space, the Bills could create more room by releasing quarterback Kevin Kolb. At 29, the future of his NFL career is in doubt after a season-ending concussion last August. Kolb is due a $1 million roster bonus this month and the Bills would avoid paying it -- and his $2 million base salary -- by releasing him.