Jabari Greer never had a chance to make choices.
Maybe that's why this feels so weird.
Once a hope-and-a-prayer cornerback just trying to crack an NFL roster, Greer could now command a contract in the $5 million-per-year range when free agency hits in a month. Shutdown cornerbacks are an endangered species in today's league that seems to cater ‘n coddle to wide receivers more every season. The Bills certainly know quick you can lose a solid corner. Nate Clements, who many may view as overrated, became the richest defensive player in NFL history a couple years ago.
In two seasons, Greer proved his muscle as a lifetime starter. He routinely blanketed opposing receivers. And last season, he made several big plays, including a game-changing interception for a touchdown at St. Louis. After the season, Greer's lingo sounded a lot like a cornerback on his way out the door. Click here for that story.
But with a few weeks to sit back and reflect, it appears Greer's mood may be changing. And maybe --- just maybe --- he's willing to take a pay cut to stay in Buffalo. Don't admit yourself into an asylum just yet. In a recent interview with ESPN's Tim Graham --- a former sports writer for the Buffalo News --- Greer opened up.
He wants to stay in Buffalo. You don't hear that much from free agents these days. Zero playoff appearences this decade and snowstorms like the one today make for a brutal combo.
"I definitely want to get something done with Buffalo," Greer told Graham. "It's a spot that I have so much appreciation for. I appreciate the opportunity that they gave me.
"It's kind of weird to be in this situation, to have a choice. But at the end of the day, I know the community. I know my teammates. They're a spectacular group of guys, and it's a fun place to play."
While Greer missed six games with a knee injury, he showed plenty in 10 games. Both of his interceptions were interceptions and he knocked away nine passes --- all after a admirable training camp in which he fended off rookie Leodis McKelvin for the No. 2 job.
After barely making it into the league, it looks like Greer is here to stay.
"I'm just waiting for Buffalo to approach me with an offer, and once they do I'll consider it and go from there," Greer told Graham. "I want to see what they're looking for for their future of the franchise.
"I know my worth in a sense. If it comes down to being in the market, that's the business of the game. But I don't think I value my worth by what another team is willing to offer. I know what type of player I am and what I bring to the field."
It'd have to be an ultimate compromise, but maybe the Bills and Greer can work this out. Greer is the kind of glue player that'd help elevate a good defense into the league's top 10. Better yet, he's just hitting his prime.
Complicating matters --- and it's a good problem to have --- is how McKelvin played down the stretch. All season, Dick Jauron and the coaching staff handcuffed McKelvin to return duties where he was arguably the best weapon in the conference. But with a pick-six at Kansas City and improved coverage play in December, McKelvin made Greer seem expendable. Ashton Youboty and Reggie Corner are nickel and dime backs on the rise, too, so it's not like Buffalo has depth issues.
Don't expect Russ Brandon to break the bank for Greer. A five-year, $25 million contract isn't prudent considering how many other glaring needs the Bills have on offense. If Greer is willing to sign for less though, he could be around next year. Tough to tell where each side is genuinely at right now but I'd expect Greer to take the bait on a big deal elsewhere. In the free agency frenzy it's hard to say no. Some other team will undoubtedly out-bid Buffalo.
Tyler Dunne is the Publisher of the Buffalo Football Report and also writes for The Packer Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.