Buffalo out to slow start in free agency

February, 28, 2009
2/28/09
9:32
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

Buffalo Bills fans aren't too thrilled with their team these days.

They haven't been to the playoffs since 1999. They have gone 7-9 three seasons in a row.

Last year, they went 0-6 against the rest of the AFC East.

Two days into the free-agency period, the gulf between the Bills and the rest of the division seems to have widened.

The Bills haven't sat on their hands. They released left guard Derrick Dockery and tight end Robert Royal. They re-signed a bunch of their backups. They added backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and center Geoff Hangartner.

But what has transpired around the AFC East is making Bills fans anxious. The other three teams have made dramatic moves.

The New England Patriots on Friday signed running back Fred Taylor and tight end Chris Baker. Taylor visited only the Bills and the Patriots, but he said his decision was a no-brainer.

But those two signings shouldn't worry the Bills as much as what happened Saturday. The Patriots came up with $19 million in salary-cap space by trading quarterback Matt Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Remember, the Patriots went 11-5 last year. Tom Brady is coming back. Now they have $19 million to spend.

The New York Jets have overhauled their defense in the span of 48 hours, signing linebacker Bart Scott and trading for cornerback Lito Sheppard. They are expected to sign cornerback Corey Ivy and safety Jim Leonhard. Jets head coach Rex Ryan loves Leonhard, who played for him last year with the Baltimore Ravens after the Bills declined to re-sign him.

Since the free-agency period opened at 12:01 a.m. ET Friday, the Dolphins have hosted one free agent -- reserve offensive lineman Joe Berger. They signed him to a three-year contract, a transaction that ranks a smidgeon above the pizzas the Jets front office ordered Saturday.

But the defending AFC East champs made several big moves in the days leading up to free agency. They re-signed three key starters in right tackle Vernon Carey, inside linebacker Channing Crowder and strong safety Yeremiah Bell, last year's leading tackler. They also added free safety Gibril Wilson.

There's still time for the Bills to do something.

Problem is, the other three AFC East teams probably aren't done yet either.

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