NFL Free Agency: Eric Weddle, Roman Harper Options for Buffalo Bills at Safety
The Buffalo Bills are in the process of turning around a franchise that hasn't made a postseason appearance since 1999. Part of that rebuilding means adding key free agents.
In my last posts I reviewed options at right tackle, quarterback, and most recently, linebackers that Bills General Manager, Buddy Nix, may want to send invitations.
With questions surrounding safety Donte Whitner's return to Buffalo, as he is slated to become an unrestricted free agent pending the agreement of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Bills may need to look to the open market for his replacement.
The Bills drafted Da'Noriss Searcy out of North Carolina in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, but it is doubtful he will be a day one starter, and the only other safeties on the roster are Jairus Byrd, George Wilson and Bryan Scott.
Eric Weddle—San Diego Chargers
After O.J. Atogwe and Bob Sanders were snatched off of the free agent market, San Diego Chargers safety, Eric Weddle, is going to be a hot commodity whenever free agency commences.
The 26-year-old has been a playmaker for the Chargers defense, racking up 96 tackles while defending 10 passes and intercepting two last year.
In his five seasons with the Chargers, Weddle recorded 358 tackles, defended 28 passes, made four sacks, and intercepted six passes.
Weddle is strong against the run and rarely is out of position. He doesn't make the bone-jarring hits, but he is reliable in open space to make tackles.
Quintin Mikell—Philadelphia Eagles
Quintin Mikell may be near the back end of his career at 30 years of age, but he still manages to play at a high caliber every year. In his nine years in the National Football League, he missed just three games and has been a leader of the Philadelphia Eagles defense.
Mikell even contributes on special teams.
Last year he made 86 tackles, defended 15 passes, and picked off three. Mikell has 346 tackles, 46 passes defended, four sacks, seven forced fumbles, and 10 interceptions over his nine-year career.
Mikell is an instinctive playmaker in the secondary, and is equally skilled in defending the pass and the run.
Mikell would bring a veteran leadership to an extremely young Buffalo Bills defense, even if it were only for two to three seasons.
Roman Harper—New Orleans Saints
Roman Harper is another great strong safety that is due to hit the free agent market this offseason.
He was part of the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints, and if he isn't re-signed, the Bills should jump on him.
He can drop back in coverage, as well as play on the line of scrimmage and cover the best of tight ends.
Last season, Harper had 98 tackles, three sacks, and an interception, while defending eight passes.
Harper would be a huge improvement over Donte Whitner, and would allow the Bills to bring pressure from the secondary as well.
Michael Huff—Oakland Raiders
With the Oakland Raiders losing not only their best player, but one of the best players in the National Football league in cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, Al Davis may not want to let the next best defensive back on the roster walk.
However, if Huff were to hit the open market, he could be a solid addition to the Buffalo Bills. While never missing a game in his six-year career, he has racked up 344 tackles, deflected 38 passes, recorded 5.5 sacks, forced five fumbles, and intercepted seven passes since being drafted in the first round out of Texas.
Bernard Pollard—Houston Texans
I like the idea of bringing him to Buffalo to see him twice a year. Pollard is a big and physical safety that can play at the line of scrimmage or drop into coverage.
Last season, Pollard has racked up 111 tackles while forcing four fumbles. He added 2.5 sacks, and is significantly better in coverage than Donte Whitner.