Jauron and Levy plan busy offseason

New Buffalo Bills general manager Marv Levy and coach Dick Jauron have some tough decisions in the coming weeks. On their plates will be deciding the fates of two former pro Bowlers, CB Nate Clements and WR Eric Moulds.

Nate Clements, the Bills Pro Bowl corner in 2004, may be slapped with the team's franchise tag. Clements, who has 20 career interceptions in five NFL seasons, is the best cornerback this side of Charles Woodson in free agency this season. If the Bills decide to retain Clements via the tag, he will count is $5.89 million against the cap next year. That's still a bargain, almost $3 million cheaper than last season's price: $8.8 million.

Clements wants to be the top paid player at his position in the NFL- meaning he'd have to top the $63 million seven-year deal that Champ Bailey signed in 2004 with Denver. Bailey received an $18 million signing bonus. They are currently in contact with Nate's agent trying to work a deal before the franchise tag deadline of next Thursday.

The decision on Moulds may come a bit later- as Levy and Jauron must wrestle with his immense $10.8 million salary cap figure. While Jauron nor Levy said they had yet to speak personally with Moulds, they are still very interested in keeping him on the roster.

Once these two issues are resolved, the Bills need to settle their quarterback situation. Unlike his predecessor- Mike Mularkey- Jauron is in no hurry to anoint JP Losman as the undisputed starting quarterback to open camp. Holcomb went 4-4 as a starter in 2005 while Losman struggled to a 1-7 record. Holcomb finished with a better completion percentage (67.4 to Losman's 49.6), threw for two more touchdowns (10-8) and had a vastly better quarterback rating (85.6-64.9). Jauron met the media earlier in the week and expressed "Somebody will be named heading into camp, but there is always going to be competition. We'll try to name that guy going through the spring, but if we don't, we don't. We hope to have a feeling."

While supportive of both his signal callers, he remained non-committal on who would be under center opening day. However, he left it quite clear Losman needed to make big strides in his development. "You have a veteran quarterback in Kelly, who is comfortable with his game," Jauron said. "J.P. is a young quarterback and plays like one. ... He needs to be better for what he went though last year."

(Billszone.com)


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