Add outside linebacker to the off-season wish list.
Despite expressing his desire to return to the Bills merely weeks ago, unrestricted free agent Angelo Crowell appears to be finished with the team. Scout.com's Adam Caplan has learned that Crowell probably will not be re-signed.
Crowell missed all of the 2008 season with a knee injury. The injury surely will work against him on the market, despite his stellar 2007 season. Two years ago, Crowell had 126 tackles, two sacks and one interception. His versatility to play on the strong side and the weak side works in Crowell's favor.
But it appears now the Bills are prepared to continue its re-load at linebacker. Two years ago, the Bills drafted Paul Posluszny out of Penn State in the second round and last season the team signed Kawika Mitchell in free agency to a five-year, $17.5 million contract. Last season, the duo played an integral role in Buffalo's defense. Posluszny led the team in tackles with 110, as Mitchell made several game-changing plays. The former Kansas City Chief tied for the team-lead in sacks (4.0) and had two interceptions. Both picks were crucial in wins against San Diego and Denver.
The crop of free agents at outside linebacker is strong this spring. Baltimore's Bart Scott tops the list after making 82 stops as part of the Ravens' second-best defense in the NFL. His teammate, DE/OLB Terrell Suggs will probably demand a contract out of Buffalo's price range. Also in the market is Atlanta's Keith Brooking, Marcus Washington and Michael Boley.
Boley could be a big catch Friday. The fourth year Falcons linebacker is hitting his prime after totaling 182 tackles in the past two seasons. Though undersized at 223 pounds, he's always around the ball.
Another option for the Bills will be in the draft where Wake Forest's Aaron Curry, Ohio State's James Laurinatis and the USC duo of Brian Cushing and Ray Maualuga combine to make this linebacker class one of the best in recent memory.
The Bills' chief operating officer Russ Brandon recently discussed Crowell on the team's website. He didn't sound overly enthusiastic to re-sign him, as he did about cornerback Jabari Greer.
"Obviously it was disappointing that he was injured prior to the season," Brandon said. "He was an integral part of what we were trying to do and we'll see how it all comes out and how the free agency plan works out for us and for him.
"I had a long conversation with Cro at the postseason physical and he had some talks with some other people within the organization and we assured him that the door is never shut. We're going to have continual dialogue with his representatives and we'll just see how it plays out."
.We'll have more analysis on the BFR as free agency nears…