The Buffalo Bills had great success the last time they signed an offensive lineman to a one-year prove it deal. Could they go to the well again and find success?
Jake Long, a former No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, told ESPN that he's the healthiest he's been in years.
"I'm finally healthy," Long said. "This is the healthiest and best I've felt in probably about five, six years. My knee's back. I've just been working out, feeling good and ready for the opportunity when it comes along."
"When I wake up and my knee doesn't hurt, you know what I mean," Long stated. "I feel the strength back. You can see it. You can feel it. My body feels good the way I'm moving, working out and how good I feel moving on it."
Long's situation isn't the same as the situation that Richie Incognito faced back when the Bills signed the guard to a one-year deal. Most people felt that Incognito could still play, but there were character concerns surrounding the guard. Long doesn't have any character concerns, but there are questions about whether or not the offensive tackle can still play. He tore his ACL in back-to-back seasons and last season he served as a backup with the Falcons.
It's unlikely that the Bills pursue Long right now, but it's possible that he receives a call during training camp. The Bills seem prepared to start Cordy Glenn and Jordan Mills at left and right tackle, but the depth behind them is a major question mark. Seantrel Henderson is looking to come back after missing time last season due to Crohn's disease, but it's unknown how productive he'll be on the field. Cyrus Kouandjio, a former second round pick, continues to struggle on the field. At mandatory minicamp, I.K. Enemkpali dominated the offensive tackle. Behind Henderson and Kouandjio, the Bills have UDFA Marquis Lucas, and recent signings Chris Martin and Justin Renfrow. If these players don't step up at training camp, the Bills may be tempted to offer Long a one-year deal at the NFL veteran minimum.
In Buffalo, expectations would be low for Long as a reserve. However, if he's as healthy as he claims to be, signing Long could be an underrated signing for the Bills.