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Saturday, March 7, 2009
Bills shake up their offense with Terrell Owens

  Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
  Terrell Owens agreed to a one-year, $6.5 million deal with the Buffalo Bills, according to sources.

Posted by's Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills have gone 7-9 three straight years under Dick Jauron, who was retained because owner Ralph Wilson claimed the club would be "better served by continuity in the coaching staff rather than a disruptive overhaul."

Even though the Bills haven't gone to the playoffs in nine seasons, their front office essentially stayed the same. Wilson opted to continue without a traditional general manager. The pro personnel director and top college scout remained in place.

The only way the Bills could expect results to change would be if the same administrators -- after years of doing business the same way -- adopted a totally different approach and made the sort of bold move nobody expected.

  Owens introduced Video
  Bills WR Terrell Owens meets the media for the first time after being introduced in Buffalo.

Bringing aboard Terrell Owens certainly would qualify.

The Bills on Saturday signed Owens for one year at $6.5 million guaranteed.

The price tag is amazingly cheap compared to other contracts being made with wide receivers. The Bills had pursued Laveranues Coles, but he signed a four-year, $28 million deal with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Owens is the last guy people would expect the Bills to sign, precisely the sort of player they wouldn't have courted in years past.

The Bills have an aversion to prima donnas, and although they have made some head-scratching decisions in free agency -- making guard Derrick Dockery the highest-paid player in team history, for example -- they are not prone to impulse buys on big-ticket merchandise.

Plus, the Bills already have one of the most expensive receivers in the NFL.

Lee Evans has been the clear-cut No. 1 target in Buffalo's offense and one of the faces of the franchise for years. Last year, the Bills signed him to an in-season extension for four years and $37.25 million.

Who will be Buffalo's No. 1 receiver now?

Owens has a history of being divisive in the locker room. While the Bills have failed to reach the postseason since Wade Phillips was their coach, they prided themselves on their chemistry. The team is loaded with character individuals.

It will be interesting to see whether Owens becomes a distraction, especially if he doesn't get enough passes thrown his way. Offensive coordinator Turk Schonert and quarterback Trent Edwards will be responsible for keeping Owens satisfied.

But the Bills must be applauded for trying something different. They badly needed another offensive weapon and more help to overcome the likely suspension of running back Marshawn Lynch.

Status quo wasn't going to cut it.