The Buffalo Bills haven't made a blockbuster deal in their favor for over a decade, so now is the time to take a look at this offseason's free agency class.
Keep in mind that these players are all free agents according to the current Collective Bargaining Agreement that expires at midnight on March 3rd.
This article is part one of a two-part series, analyzing both offensive and defensive players that the Bills should definitely go hard after if they wish to contend in 2011...if there is a 2011 season.
Part 1: Offense
RB Jason Snelling, Atlanta Falcons
Bills running back Fred Jackson is turning 31 this season, and while he only has 647 carries for the Bills, he had approximately 1,000 carries in his time with the Indoor Football League's Sioux Falls Bandits, and the NFL Europa franchise, Rhein Fire.
Jason Snelling is just 27 and has four years of NFL experience under his belt, rushing 257 times for 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns, as a backup to Pro Bowler Michael Turner.
Snelling is a downhill, powerful runner and is patient in the backfield. Bringing in Snelling would be an upgrade over Quinton Ganther and would add a receiving threat out of the backfield.
FB Lawrence Vickers, Cleveland Browns
Lawrence Vickers is one of the best fullbacks in the National Football League, and while they are too often overlooked, Vickers would improve any offense that he plays for. His time in Cleveland is likely up, as there are questions of his role in the new West Coast offense the Browns are transitioning to.
Standing at 6'0," 250 pounds, the 27-year-old out of Colorado is great in his run blocking, as noted after leading Peyton Hillis to 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns last year and a great run for Jerome Harrison in the previous year.
Vickers has no problem taking on mike linebackers and has great power and burst off the ball to be an upgrade in the Bills backfield, as current fullback Corey McIntyre is best suited for his special teams play.
TE Kevin Boss, New York Giants
The Bills haven't had a solid tight end for as long as I can recall, and from what I'm seeing, Shawn Nelson isn't going to be that guy. Each year, the National Football League is transitioning to more of a spread pass attack, in which tight ends are required to block, receive and occupy safeties.
Boss will be a highly coveted free agent this year, as the 6'6," 253 pounder out of Western Oregon has had a productive four-year career.
In those four years, Boss has caught 119 passes for 1,600 yards and 18 touchdowns. However, his statistics slipped a bit last season as he was needed as a blocker on the Giants line that had issues throughout the year.
TE Owen Daniels, Houston Texans
Owen Daniels will be another highly coveted tight end prospect on the free agency market, but after two seasons of nagging injuries, he may be a little less costly than Kevin Boss.
Both have similar skill sets, but Daniels was more of a receiving threat than Boss. In his five-year career, he has caught 245 catches for 2,972 yards, scoring 17 touchdowns.
In the 2007 and 2008 seasons, he really exploded, combining for 133 receptions for 1,630 yards and five touchdowns, but he missed eight games of the 2009 season, and only appeared in 11 games this past year.
Texans' tight end Joel Dreessen's emergence in Daniels absence makes Daniels a little more expendable in this free agent class.
RT Tyson Clabo, Atlanta Falcons
The Bills offensive line has been in shambles over the past three seasons. While the major question entering the 2010-2011 season was who would be the solid left tackle to fill the void left by Jason Peters, now the right tackle spot is wide open.
Demetrius Bell played the entire season at left tackle and seems to be emerging into a promising bookend on the offensive line.
However, Coach Chan Gailey couldn't decide on a full-time starter at right tackle, after releasing veteran Cornell Green and shuffling between Mansfield Wrotto and Cordero Howard down the stretch of the season.
Tyson Clabo has started all 53 of his games for the Atlanta Falcons and is an excellent run blocker and pass protector. At 6'6," 331 pounds, he would add the bulk and physicality that Coach Gailey is seeking.
RT Tony Ugoh, Indianapolis Colts
Signing Tony Ugoh of the Indianapolis Colts would be a bit of a gamble, and he is very inconsistent. The 6'5," 301 pound, 27-year-old out of Arkansas has great strength, and a natural knee bend that you look for in a pass blocker.
However, more often than not, he tends to stay too high, allowing pass rushers to get leverage on him.
His footwork is inconsistent at times, and he is more of a finesse tackle than a power-type guy who will drive defenders down the field.