With the Buffalo Bills' recent decision to part ways with Marcus Stroud, a former starter at defensive end, it is clear that they are trying to do what is necessary to fortify what has been a leaky defensive line in their new 3-4 defensive alignment.
This article will look at possible plugs to the leaky line that the Bills could pursue before next season.
(The following options are ranked in no particular order.)
Option No. 1: In-House Promotion
Alex Carrington: A Bills rookie last year, moving him into the starting spot will challenge him to take his game to the next level. Based on last season's efforts, in which he showed loads of potential, it's a shot he deserves.
Cost: Faith and patience.
Option No. 2: Sign the Proven Veteran
Cullen Jenkins: Jenkins, a standout player for the Super Bowl champions this year, has been agitated over the lack of a new contract. He is not likely to be retained by Green Bay due to concerns about the size of contract he is expecting. Jenkins, originally from Michigan, is familiar with a Buffalo type of climate and could thrive with the Bills.
Cost: Estimated to be around $50 million for four years. A move like this for an older player (30) with an injury history could be a big mistake.
Option No. 3: Draft a Top-Tier Talent
Marcell Dareus: This Alabama stud has proven to be an impact player at the collegiate level in a pro-style 3-4 defense. His rare size-strength production combo is an enticing option for the Bills at the No. 3 pick.
Nick Fairley: Another Alabama stud, though from Auburn, who could be there for the Bills at the No. 3 pick. Scouts are up and down on him due to questions about his character and work ethic. Overall, Fairley could prove to be a better fit at DT in a 4-3 alignment.
Cost: The third overall pick (contract between $60-68 million over five years based on Gerald McCoy/Ndamukong Suh contracts from 2010).
Option No. 4: Trade Down and Stock Up
Cameron Jordan, J.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward and even Da'Quan Bowers (based on injury concerns) could all be had after the 17th pick if the Bills were to trade down and stock up on picks to meet other needs.
Cost: Willingness to pass on elite talent by moving down. Contract estimated to be between $9.7-20 million over five years based on 2010 rookie deals.