AFC East: Jordan Dangerfield

Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd signed his franchise tender, the team announced late Tuesday.

Byrd
It was really just a matter of time before the Bills had Byrd back in the fold. After not reaching a long-term deal by the July 15 deadline, the franchise-tagged safety did not report to training camp in late July.

For a Pro Bowler like Byrd, skipping out on camp was a logical move. With about eight months standing between him and his next shot at unrestricted free agency, his risk of injury -- and any potential financial losses in his next contract -- were minimized by remaining at home.

But the Bills will pack up their training camp at St. John Fisher College later this week, and make the 90-mile trek back to their facility in Orchard Park, NY. With dorm living in the rearview mirror and roster cut-down dates approaching, it was also time for Byrd to make the trip back to Buffalo.

It's unlikely that Byrd will see any action in Saturday's preseason game in Washington, if he suits up at all. And while you can bet that Byrd has been doing some distance learning of defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's playbook over the last month, he will still need to get up to speed on the field.

Once Byrd is ready to play, the Bills will have some decisions to make at safety.

Through their first two preseason games, here's a look at how the Bills divided snaps at the position, without Byrd:

Aaron Williams (starter): 16 snaps versus Indianapolis, 27 snaps versus Minnesota.
Da'Norris Searcy (starter): 22 snaps versus Indianapolis, 31 snaps versus Minnesota.
Jonathan Meeks: 35 snaps versus Indianapolis, 20 snaps versus Minnesota.
Duke Williams: 29 snaps versus Indianapolis, 16 snaps versus Minnesota.
Jordan Dangerfield: 13 snaps versus Indianapolis, 24 snaps versus Minnesota.
Dominique Ellis: 8 snaps versus Indianapolis, 19 snaps versus Minnesota.

At this point, it's a good bet that the Bills will stick with Aaron Williams in one of their starting roles. The converted cornerback, a second-round pick in 2011, has come on strong this offseason after an underwhelming start to his career in Buffalo.

Searcy, a fourth-round pick in 2011, played in 15 games last season and was among the team's leaders in snaps on special teams at 56 percent, according to data compiled by FootballOutsiders.com. He figures to return to a similar role and back up both Byrd and Williams at safety.

Beyond that, the Bills invested a pair of 2013 draft picks in Meeks (fifth round) and Duke Williams (fourth round). Barring injury, both should make the 53-man roster.

Bills slowly trimming active roster

August, 19, 2013
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The Buffalo Bills have been busy on the NFL's transaction wire over the past week. With the team's third preseason game approaching -- they travel Saturday to face the Washington Redskins -- the Bills have begun the process of paring down their 90-man roster.

Here's a snapshot look at their moves since last Tuesday, which have cleared eight roster spots:

Aug. 13: Waived P Brian Stahovich
Aug. 14: Waived/injured TE Mike Caussin; signed LB Jamaal Westerman
Aug. 15: Placed Caussin on injured reserve; waived DT Aaron Tipoti
Aug. 18: Placed WR Kevin Elliott on injured reserve; waived OT Tony Hills, WR Terrell Sinkfield, CB Don Unamba, and S Mark LeGree
Aug. 19: Released K Rian Lindell

In the last week, the Bills have settled their kicker battle by releasing Lindell, as well as their competition at punter by cutting Stahovich. Meanwhile, Tipoti and Caussin had missed most of training camp with injuries, and Elliott suffered a season-ending injury in Friday's preseason game.

As of Monday afternoon, the Bills' roster stands at 82 players. All NFL teams must trim their roster to 75 players by Aug. 27 at 4 p.m. ET.

Here's an early look at where the Bills can make some further snips to their squad:

Offensive line -- The Bills are carrying 15 offensive linemen on their active roster. According to the Buffalo News' Jay Skurski, only Keith Williams and Thomas Welch were held out of practice Monday. Meanwhile, tackle Chris Hairston remains on the active/physically unable to perform list. Moving him to the reserve/PUP list would clear a roster spot, but keep him out at least the first six weeks of the regular season. Either way, the Bills look to carry only about half of these 15 players into the regular season.

Defensive line -- The Bills have a pair of big-name players who are working back from injuries (Mario Williams and Kyle Williams), which could lead Buffalo to stay heavy on their defensive line numbers through the final two weeks of the preseason. Yet a longshot such as Izaan Cross (11 snaps vs. Minnesota) could be part of the 75-man trim.

Safety -- Even as franchise-tagged Jairus Byrd remains unsigned, there's not a whole lot of intrigue at this position. Aaron Williams and Da'Norris Searcy have filled in well in Byrd's place and will stay in those spots for now. Beyond that, the Bills invested two draft picks in safeties (Jonathan Meeks and Duke Williams), and unless there's a late injury, they also will be in the mix. That might mean Jordan Dangerfield (13 snaps vs. Minnesota) and Dominique Ellis (eight snaps vs. Minnesota) could be soon on the outs.

Depth at cornerback tested for Bills

August, 16, 2013
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With three of their top cornerbacks not playing in tonight's preseason game against Minnesota, the Buffalo Bills will be digging down their depth chart to find healthy bodies at the position.

Cornerbacks Leodis McKelvin, Justin Rogers, and Crezdon Butler all will sit out the contest. Undrafted rookie Nickell Robey will start opposite Stephon Gilmore.

The Bills started Ron Brooks in that spot in last Sunday's win over Indianapolis, but Brooks projects to man the slot cornerback position this season for Buffalo, and the team wants to keep him there.

Robey, 21, is one of the youngest players in the NFL, having left USC after his junior campaign. He is also the smallest player on the Bills' roster, at 5-foot-8, 165 pounds. He should see extensive action tonight.

Otherwise, here is how the Bills' depth chart in the secondary could shake out tonight:

First team
Cornerback: Gilmore, Robey
Slot: Brooks
Safety: Aaron Williams, Da'Norris Searcy

Second team
Cornerback: T.J. Heath, Jumal Rolle
Safety: Duke Williams, Jonathan Meeks

Third team
Cornerback: Don Unamba, Kip Edwards
Safety: Dominique Ellis, Jordan Dangerfield, Mark LeGree

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