Corey Graham, Bills Agree to New Contract: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2016

Oct 11, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Buffalo Bills safety Corey Graham (20) reacts after a penalty call during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. The Bills won 14-13.  Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills and veteran defensive back Corey Graham reached an agreement Thursday on a restructured contract.  

Chris Brown of the team's official site confirmed the new deal is in place. He stated the deal will "provide the Bills with some 2016 cap relief," but the official terms were not immediately released.

Spotrac provided potential baseline numbers for the reworked contract:

Graham has done just about everything for the Buffalo defense over the past couple of seasons. He's played all over the secondary depending on need and provided the Bills with reliable play throughout.

He racked up 127 combined tackles and two interceptions while mostly serving as a safety last season. Pro Football Focus rated him at No. 45 in the league in the position out of 87 qualified players, basically right in the middle of the pack.

The Bills came into the offseason with some serious cap concerns, however. So working out a new deal with some of their older players to create some flexibility became a priority. Graham was originally scheduled to have a $4.7 million cap hit for 2016, per Spotrac.

Last October, Graham made it clear how much he enjoyed playing in his hometown. Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News passed along the 30-year-old's comments about trying to help end the team's 16-year playoff drought, which is the longest in the NFL.

"It definitely is [special to play for Buffalo]," Graham said. "I grew up watching the Bills. It won't wear off until we win, make it to the playoffs, make it to the Super Bowl, things like that. My goal wasn't just to come back to Buffalo and play for the Bills. It was to win here. Until we accomplish that, it'll still be fresh."

Now that the contract situation is sorted out, that quest will continue.

Graham should assume the same wide-ranging safety role he played last season. The reliability he provides on the back end is even more important with fellow safety Aaron Williams facing an unsettled future due to a neck injury, which could leave Buffalo a bit thin.

As a whole, the Bills defense will be under a lot of pressure heading into the 2016 campaign after falling well below expectations last season, ranking 19th in yards allowed. Graham can certainly be part of the solution if he's playing his best football.