- Mike Rodak, ESPN Staff Writer
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With the free-agent signing period approaching, we'll take a closer look at each of the Buffalo Bills' free agents, finding the closest matches in last offseason's free-agent class:
Pending Bills free agent: Arthur Moats
Experience: 4 seasons
2013 stats: 16 games played (12 starts), 54 tackles
2013 snaps: 25.6 percent (defense), 34.6 (special teams)
Last offseason's closest match: Akeem Jordan
Experience: 6 seasons (entering 2013)
2012 stats: 14 games (7 starts), 44 tackles, 2 forced fumbles (for Philadelphia)
2012 snaps: 31.5 percent (defense), 61.4 percent (special teams)
Signed with: Kansas City Chiefs
Contract: 1 year, $715,000 base salary, $10,000 signing bonus
Overview: Andy Reid brought Jordan along from the Eagles, where Jordan had been a fill-in starter since 2007. The deal -- which came at the veteran minimum, giving the Chiefs a slight cap credit -- paid off. Jordan started 10 games, notched 67 tackles and tied his career high with two forced fumbles.
Last offseason's second-closest match: Jonathan Casillas
Experience: 4 seasons (entering 2013)
2012 stats: 14 games (1 start), 31 tackles, 1 pass defensed (for New Orleans)
2012 snaps: 21.1 percent (defense), 59.9 percent (special teams)
Signed with: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Contract: 1 year, $1.1 million base salary, $150,000 roster bonus
Overview: The Buccaneers moved quickly to sign Casillas, who was a defensive role player and core special teams player for the Saints. He wound up starting four games in Tampa, recording 23 tackles, two passes defensed, and one forced fumble.
Verdict: Moats' value on the open market will depend on two factors: (1) How teams view his 12 starts last season, and (2) If teams consider him to be a core special teams player. Moats started 12 games but played in only a quarter of defensive snaps, which has been an increasing trend among "third" linebackers in the NFL. Since he wasn't part of the Bills' sub packages, Moats was relegated to a run-stopping role on early downs. Because of that, teams aren't likely to view Moats as anything more than a part-time player on defense, which could limit his next contract. It's also unlikely that teams value Moats' impact on special teams as highly as Casillas'.