Bills Free Agent Shopping: Patriots Edition

New England has quite a few free agents that could appeal to the Bills. This includes three players in New England's backfield, a possible Jerry Hughes replacement and one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.

After looking at free agent options from the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins, there's one team left to look at in the AFC East. The New England Patriots, Super Bowl XLIX Champions, have ruled the AFC East, winning the division title 12 times in the last 14 seasons. It's been an amazing run for the team, and as long as Tom Brady is their quarterback, the team will likely compete for the division. This offseason, New England has plenty of talented players hitting free agency that could appeal to the Bills. Here's a look at the top five Patriots that the Bills may look at starting on March 10.

5. Akeem Ayers, OLB

If the Bills cannot sign Jerry Hughes to a long-term extension, Ayers could be seen as a decent consolation prize. The OLB was traded to the Patriots during the season and he played extremely well with his new team. In nine games, Ayers recorded 20 tackles, four sacks and an interception. In Buffalo's 3-4 defense, Ayers could fit nicely as a pass rusher at OLB. Ayers did have offseason surgery on both of his knees in 2014, but his play with the Patriots showed that he was healthy and could play at a high level. 

4. Shane Vereen, RB

Shane Vereen has never seen more than 96 carries in a season (2014), but he's still an intriguing option for the Bills. C.J. Spiller is set to test free agency and isn't likely to return to the team. If the Bills want to add a running back who is a reliable pass catcher, Vereen is a solid option. In the last two seasons, Vereen has a total of 99 receptions for 874 yards and six touchdowns. As a runner, Vereen has averaged four yards per carry or more (4.0, 4.7, 4.1) in the last three seasons. Vereen hasn't shown much as a blocker and has a history of injuries. The 2014 season was the first time that Vereen played all 16 games. 

There was a rumor that Vereen was looking to make $5 million per season but the back dismissed those rumors on Twitter.

The running back market continues to grow, so a back like Vereen could be had at a reasonable price.

3. James Develin, FB

The Bills have gone on the record to say that they'll be adding a free agency and there are some terrific options in free agency. James Develin is one of these options. The fullback was Pro Football Focus' fourth best FB in 2014. Buffalo simply wants a player who can open lanes for their backs and that's something that Develin does well. 

2. Stevan Ridley, RB

Another player from New England's backfield? Yes. Sure, Ridley has fumbling issues. In 2012 and 2013, the back fumbled eight total times. This obviously isn't ideal for a running back. Ridley is also coming off of a torn ACL and MCL, which also hurts his value. However, Ridley may be one of the best bargains in free agency at the position.

In 2012, Ridley was New England's workhorse running back. He carried the ball 290 times for 1,263 yards (4.4 YPC) and 12 touchdowns. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman had a workhorse back of his own in San Francisco, and would ideally like to have one in Buffalo. Ridley showed in 2012 that he could carry the load. In 2013, Ridley's carries dropped to 178 but he still averaged 4.3 yards per carry. In addition to his success as a rusher, Ridley is also a terrific in pass protection. If Buffalo is looking for value, Ridley may be their best bet. 

1. Darrelle Revis, CB

Adding one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL would be nice, but Buffalo would have to pay a steep price to add Revis. Technically, Revis is still under contract with the Patriots, but unless the team work out a long-term deal, he'll probably get to test free agency. The cornerback joined the Patriots after a brief stint in Tampa Bay and reminded everyone that he could play at the highest of levels at cornerback. PFF rated Revis as fourth among all cornerbacks in pass coverage. 

Rex Ryan would love to have his old cornerback join him in Buffalo. Last season, there was mutual interest in a reunion from Revis and Ryan, but the higher-ups on the Jets decided against pursuing the cornerback. Rumors have already circulated that Buffalo will pursue Revis and if the Bills signed him, he'd be joining a talented cornerback group. The Bills already have Stephon Gilmore, Corey Graham, Leodis McKelvin and Nickell Robey. Having Revis and Gilmore on the field would create nightmares for opposing offenses. Both players have shown the ability to shut down one side of the field. If the Bills want to spend the money it'd cost to add Revis, he'd certainly be their top priority signing in free agency.


Buffalo Football Report Top Stories

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The running back market continues to grow, so a back like Vereen could be had at a reasonable price.

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3. James Develin, FB

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The Bills have gone on the record to say that they'll be adding a free agency and there are some terrific options in free agency. James Develin is one of these options. The fullback was Pro Football Focus' fourth best FB in 2014. Buffalo simply wants a player who can open lanes for their backs and that's something that Develin does well. 

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2. Stevan Ridley, RB

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Another player from New England's backfield? Yes. Sure, Ridley has fumbling issues. In 2012 and 2013, the back fumbled eight total times. This obviously isn't ideal for a running back. Ridley is also coming off of a torn ACL and MCL, which also hurts his value. However, Ridley may be one of the best bargains in free agency at the position.

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In 2012, Ridley was New England's workhorse running back. He carried the ball 290 times for 1,263 yards (4.4 YPC) and 12 touchdowns. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman had a workhorse back of his own in San Francisco, and would ideally like to have one in Buffalo. Ridley showed in 2012 that he could carry the load. In 2013, Ridley's carries dropped to 178 but he still averaged 4.3 yards per carry. In addition to his success as a rusher, Ridley is also a terrific in pass protection. If Buffalo is looking for value, Ridley may be their best bet. 

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1. Darrelle Revis, CB

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Adding one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL would be nice, but Buffalo would have to pay a steep price to add Revis. Technically, Revis is still under contract with the Patriots, but unless the team work out a long-term deal, he'll probably get to test free agency. The cornerback joined the Patriots after a brief stint in Tampa Bay and reminded everyone that he could play at the highest of levels at cornerback. PFF rated Revis as fourth among all cornerbacks in pass coverage. 

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Rex Ryan would love to have his old cornerback join him in Buffalo. Last season, there was mutual interest in a reunion from Revis and Ryan, but the higher-ups on the Jets decided against pursuing the cornerback. Rumors have already circulated that Buffalo will pursue Revis and if the Bills signed him, he'd be joining a talented cornerback group. The Bills already have Stephon Gilmore, Corey Graham, Leodis McKelvin and Nickell Robey. Having Revis and Gilmore on the field would create nightmares for opposing offenses. Both players have shown the ability to shut down one side of the field. If the Bills want to spend the money it'd cost to add Revis, he'd certainly be their top priority signing in free agency.

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After looking at free agent options from the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins, there's one team left to look at in the AFC East. The New England Patriots, Super Bowl XLIX Champions, have ruled the AFC East, winning the division title 12 times in the last 14 seasons. It's been an amazing run for the team, and as long as Tom Brady is their quarterback, the team will likely compete for the division. This offseason, New England has plenty of talented players hitting free agency that could appeal to the Bills. Here's a look at the top five Patriots that the Bills may look at starting on March 10.

5. Akeem Ayers, OLB

If the Bills cannot sign Jerry Hughes to a long-term extension, Ayers could be seen as a decent consolation prize. The OLB was traded to the Patriots during the season and he played extremely well with his new team. In nine games, Ayers recorded 20 tackles, four sacks and an interception. In Buffalo's 3-4 defense, Ayers could fit nicely as a pass rusher at OLB. Ayers did have offseason surgery on both of his knees in 2014, but his play with the Patriots showed that he was healthy and could play at a high level. 

4. Shane Vereen, RB

Shane Vereen has never seen more than 96 carries in a season (2014), but he's still an intriguing option for the Bills. C.J. Spiller is set to test free agency and isn't likely to return to the team. If the Bills want to add a running back who is a reliable pass catcher, Vereen is a solid option. In the last two seasons, Vereen has a total of 99 receptions for 874 yards and six touchdowns. As a runner, Vereen has averaged four yards per carry or more (4.0, 4.7, 4.1) in the last three seasons. Vereen hasn't shown much as a blocker and has a history of injuries. The 2014 season was the first time that Vereen played all 16 games. 

There was a rumor that Vereen was looking to make $5 million per season but the back dismissed those rumors on Twitter.

Haha not true but who wouldn't be?!?! RT @_D_Flo: “@jeffphowe: Source: @ShaneVereen34 hopeful for $5 ... http://t.co/GMrXQZenQU

— Shane Vereen (@ShaneVereen34) February 26, 2015

The running back market continues to grow, so a back like Vereen could be had at a reasonable price.

3. James Develin, FB

The Bills have gone on the record to say that they'll be adding a free agency and there are some terrific options in free agency. James Develin is one of these options. The fullback was Pro Football Focus' fourth best FB in 2014. Buffalo simply wants a player who can open lanes for their backs and that's something that Develin does well. 

2. Stevan Ridley, RB

Another player from New England's backfield? Yes. Sure, Ridley has fumbling issues. In 2012 and 2013, the back fumbled eight total times. This obviously isn't ideal for a running back. Ridley is also coming off of a torn ACL and MCL, which also hurts his value. However, Ridley may be one of the best bargains in free agency at the position.

In 2012, Ridley was New England's workhorse running back. He carried the ball 290 times for 1,263 yards (4.4 YPC) and 12 touchdowns. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman had a workhorse back of his own in San Francisco, and would ideally like to have one in Buffalo. Ridley showed in 2012 that he could carry the load. In 2013, Ridley's carries dropped to 178 but he still averaged 4.3 yards per carry. In addition to his success as a rusher, Ridley is also a terrific in pass protection. If Buffalo is looking for value, Ridley may be their best bet. 

1. Darrelle Revis, CB

Adding one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL would be nice, but Buffalo would have to pay a steep price to add Revis. Technically, Revis is still under contract with the Patriots, but unless the team work out a long-term deal, he'll probably get to test free agency. The cornerback joined the Patriots after a brief stint in Tampa Bay and reminded everyone that he could play at the highest of levels at cornerback. PFF rated Revis as fourth among all cornerbacks in pass coverage. 

Rex Ryan would love to have his old cornerback join him in Buffalo. Last season, there was mutual interest in a reunion from Revis and Ryan, but the higher-ups on the Jets decided against pursuing the cornerback. Rumors have already circulated that Buffalo will pursue Revis and if the Bills signed him, he'd be joining a talented cornerback group. The Bills already have Stephon Gilmore, Corey Graham, Leodis McKelvin and Nickell Robey. Having Revis and Gilmore on the field would create nightmares for opposing offenses. Both players have shown the ability to shut down one side of the field. If the Bills want to spend the money it'd cost to add Revis, he'd certainly be their top priority signing in free agency.

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