AFC East: Todd Johnson

AFC East: Free-agency primer

March, 4, 2010
Buffalo Bills

Potential unrestricted free agents: DE Ryan Denney, LB Chris Draft, DB Todd Johnson, G Seth McKinney, WR Terrell Owens, WR Josh Reed, S Bryan Scott, G Kendall Simmons, LB Josh Stamer.

Potential restricted free agents: LB Keith Ellison, QB Gibran Hamdan, G Richie Incognito, TE Joe Klopfenstein, TE Derek Schouman, T Jonathan Scott, S George Wilson, CB Ashton Youboty.

Franchise player: None.

What to expect: The Bills are in a rebuilding mode and shouldn't be in too much of a hurry to sign their free agents. In fact, they took the unusual step of publicly announcing they wouldn't offer Owens, Reed or Denney contracts. The most attractive players are Incognito and Wilson. Most of the rest were bit players and injury replacements.

Miami Dolphins

Potential unrestricted free agents: NT Jason Ferguson, CB Nate Jones, QB Chad Pennington, OLB Jason Taylor.

Potential restricted free agents: RB Ronnie Brown, TE Anthony Fasano, OLB Quentin Moses.

Franchise player: None.

What to expect: The Dolphins have a tough decision to make on Ferguson. He'll turn 36 during the 2010 season and is coming off a serious quadriceps injury. Without him, however, the Dolphins have a massive void in their 3-4 defense at a position that's difficult to replace. Pennington, Jones and Taylor all could be gone.

New England Patriots

Potential unrestricted free agents: OLB Tully Banta-Cain, CB Leigh Bodden, OLB Derrick Burgess, RB Kevin Faulk, DE Jarvis Green, P Chris Hanson, G Stephen Neal, ILB Junior Seau, TE Benjamin Watson.

Potential restricted free agents: K Stephen Gostkowski, G Logan Mankins, OLB Pierre Woods.

Franchise player: NT Vince Wilfork.

What to expect: Several starters are about to go up for bids, and the Patriots can't keep them all. Expect Faulk to be re-signed without much fuss. Neal, Bodden and Banta-Cain comprise a group they'd have trouble replacing. All three could fetch offers the Patriots would rather not match. Don't count on Watson coming back.

New York Jets

Potential unrestricted free agents: LS James Dearth, DE Marques Douglas, K Jay Feely, LB Ryan Fowler, TE Ben Hartsock, LB Larry Izzo, FB Tony Richardson.

Potential restricted free agents: QB Kellen Clemens, CB Drew Coleman, WR Braylon Edwards, DT Howard Green, T Wayne Hunter, WR Brad Smith, S Eric Smith, RB Leon Washington.

Franchise player: None.

What to expect: As a "final eight" team, the Jets have to window shop until one of their UFAs sign elsewhere. General manager Mike Tannenbaum is creative. Don't be surprised if the Jets use trades to upgrade. The key restricted free agent to monitor will be Washington, who received a second-round tender. His agent has been tweeting alarms the Pro Bowler could sign an offer sheet and dare the Jets to match.

Make that 21 Bills on injured reserve

January, 2, 2010
So make it 21 and hope the Buffalo Bills stand.

Add another name to the injured reserve list I posted below. The Bills on Saturday placed defensive back Todd Johnson on IR and signed linebacker Ryan Manalac for Sunday's regular-season finale against the Indianapolis Colts in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

"A lot of the things that happened to this team this year injury-wise is unbelievable," new general manager Buddy Nix said Thursday. The Bills added two more players to the IR since. "And that's a major concern, and I think something you've got to address and see if it's something that we're doing or not doing or whether it's just bad luck. But I think we've had it two or three years in a row. That keeps you from getting better."

Johnson didn't start a game, leaving the Bills with 13 starters on IR.

Jauron a vanishing act in team photo(shop)

December, 3, 2009
Even at first glance, the Buffalo Bills team photo simply didn't look right. Without serious examination, something is out of kilter.

Upon closer inspection, several items are amiss -- and one notable person is a-missing.

Before Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins, the Bills gave away team photos as fans passed through the turnstiles at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Former head coach Dick Jauron, fired two weeks ago, was removed from the team photo as though he never existed.

Jauron evidently was seated to owner Ralph Wilson's right when the photo was snapped in mid-September, but Jauron was erased and the rest of the row altered to fill in the vacancy. Interim head coach Perry Fewell is stationed on a back row with the rest of the assistants.

Bills fan Matt Irving grabbed a few of the freebies Sunday. Friend and fellow Bills loyalist Joshua Fitzgerald scanned a copy and posted it on the fan message board at

The Bills' team photo was taken between Weeks 1 and 2. Terrell Owens posted personal pictures from the shoot on his Twitter page Sept. 19.

Besides, there are several lapses of logic to indicate the rubout.

Players acquired before Jauron was fired (tackle Jamon Meredith, linebacker Chris Draft, defensive back Todd Johnson) aren't in the photo. Players cut before Jauron was fired (running back Xavier Omon, linebacker Alvin Bowen) are present.

More telling is the visual evidence Jauron was erased like he was Leon Trotsky.

Other players seemingly were jockeyed around to keep the numerical-order motif, with the player on the left in the first row wearing the lowest uniform number and running through the highest number to the right of the fifth row.

The sequence was interrupted only by Wilson in the center and chief operating officer Russ Brandon to his left in the second row.

So who was depicted in the prominent spot to Wilson's right? Rookie cornerback Jairus Byrd, a fine player. He's tied for the NFL interceptions lead and could be defensive rookie of the year. But he didn't start a game until Week 3.

Furthermore, there's a phantom khaki pant and sneaker underneath Byrd in the team photo. The players are in jerseys and game pants. Coaches are in khakis.

And there's more. Defensive backs Terrence McGee and Ellis Lankster, on the left of the second row, have the same torso. The shadows and wrinkles on their jerseys are identical. The only difference is a doctored digit.

At the right end of the second row is defensive back Cary Harris, who looks like he has been amputated from the left knee down. It appears McGee was sitting in front of him, but was moved up to the second row so everyone could slide toward center and fill in the big blank.

Various body parts have been copied and pasted to fill in spaces that had been covered. Cornerbacks Ashton Youboty and Leodis McKelvin have the same left arm, noticeable by the six-fingered hand dangling from it. Their hands are resting on imaginary legs.

The Bills declined to comment on the photo.

If only Bills fans could wipe Jauron from their brains as easily as he was removed from the picture.

Good afternoon from Bills-Jets at Meadowlands

October, 18, 2009
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The flags are flapping hard on a dank afternoon at the Meadowlands.

New York Jets will try to get back to their winning ways against the reeling Buffalo Bills at 4:15 p.m.

The Jets have lost two straight and are tied for last in the NFL with four sacks. The Bills are 1-4 and going with a starting offensive line that has a combined 47 NFL starts.

The inactive list was just released. Jets receiver Jerricho Cotchery and cornerback Donald Strickland will not dress.

Erstwhile running back Danny Woodhead was summoned from the practice squad and will play at receiver. Woodhead also has been named one of Rex Ryan's revolving captains for the game along with center Nick Mangold, receiver David Clowney, cornerback Darrelle Revis and former Bills safety Jim Leonhard.

The most notable inactive player for the Bills is punt returner Roscoe Parrish. Running back Fred Jackson will handle the return duties.

Here are all of the scratches:

Buffalo Bills
New York Jets

Defensive help on its way for Buffalo

October, 14, 2009

Posted by's Tim Graham

With Buffalo Bills head coach Dick Jauron's approval rating hovering one percentage point above low-fat milk, he could use a little pick-me-up.

Maybe two of his better defensive players can help him out be returning for Sunday's game against the New York Jets at the Meadowlands.

The Buffalo News, citing an unnamed source, reports captain and middle linebacker Paul Posluszny has been telling teammates he expects to return from the broken forearm he suffered on opening night.

Safety Donte Whitner also suggested he will play against the Jets. Whitner has missed two games after thumb surgery, but his return would give the Bills half of their starting secondary. Right cornerback Leodis McKelvin is done for the year with a leg injury. Safery Bryan Scott has missed two games with a high ankle sprain.

The Bills on Wednesday morning announced they've signed a pair of injury replacements formerly of the St. Louis Rams: linebacker Chris Draft and defensive back Todd Johnson.

Spots were open on the roster because the Bills lost linebackers Kawika Mitchell (also a captain) and Marcus Buggs to season-ending knee injuries in Sunday's 6-3 snooze-and-lose to the Cleveland Browns.