Don't count out the Bills retaining cornerback Jabari Greer quite yet.
Reports surfaced Sunday that the Detroit Lions were close to signing Greer, but according to Scout.com's Adam Caplan, the Bills may not be out of this horse race.
Caplan's source said that Greer is not close to signing with the Lions. While he did visit Detroit on Saturday and received a contract offer, Greer hasn't agreed on a deal. Buffalo made another effort to re-sign its shutdown corner this weekend and remains a player in negotiations.
Greer is expected to visit more teams over the next few days.
After releasing Derrick Dockery, Buffalo added to its already generous salary cap space. Through three days of free agency, the Bills have filled two needs. Ryan Fitzpatrick fills the backup spot behind Trent Edwards, as Geoff Hangartner is expected to start immediately at center.
Detroit seemed to address its dire secondary needs already. The Lions dealt quarterback Jon Kitna to the Dallas Cowboys for Anthony Henry, who had six interceptions two years ago. The Lions also signed Eric King from Tennessee. Henry is capable of doubling at safety if Greer came aboard.
In two seasons as a starter in Buffalo, Greer has quickly emerged as one of the most reliable cover corners in the NFL. He returned two interceptions for touchdowns last season and has 21 pass breakups in 26 games as a starter. It seemed as if Greer was destined to nickel duty when the Bills drafted Leodis McKelvin 11th overall last April, but he easily fended off the rookie in training camp and improved every game.
McKelvin – one of the best return men in the league – grew into an above-average cornerback as the season wore on. Buffalo was reluctant to play McKelvin on defense early on, but injuries vaulted him into a starting role by December. And McKelvin responded. His 0-to-60 pick-six at Kansas City revealed the kind of speed Buffalo can't afford to keep on the sideline. For more on McKelvin click here.
Still, his pure coverage skills remain a question mark. Greer's track record against top-tier receivers will demand a sizeable contract. He may be looking for a contract in the range Indianapolis gave Kevin Hayden (five years, $43.5 million).Whether Buffalo is willing to spend more than other teams is uncertain.
Another rumor swirling on the web was that Greer was close to reaching an agreement with New England. That is also false, says Caplan. According to Caplan, the Patriots are perfectly content plugging veterans like ex-Bill Jason Webster in at cornerback for the time being.
The Boston Herald reported that the Patriots have been in touch with McKelvin but do not have any visits lined up.
So don't discount No. 33 being in another uniform just yet. The Bills haven't broken the bank on any big-money free agents yet and during the offseason, Jabari Greer has openly expressed his desire to remain a Bill.
Greer's decision should come soon as he meets with more teams.
Laveranues Coles should remain Buffalo's top priority for now. The offense is starving for playmakers – and Coles is arguably the best on the market left. Reports indicate that Coles' choices are down to the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo. Of course, Coles is good friends with Chad Pennington and it was Bill Parcells who drafted him in the first place. Still, the Dolphins have been very cost-conscience under Parcells. The Bills should be able to offer Coles much more money.
Once Coles' situation is settled, the Bills should shift focus to Greer. There's no guarantee that McKelvin can instantly replenish Greer at corner. And also, the Devin Hester Wide Receiver Experiment in Chicago is living proof that double-duty can affect one's performance in the return game. After doubling at receiver, Hester's explosiveness in the return game suffered. He only averaged 21.9 yards per kick return last season (31st in the NFL) while starting at wide receiver for the Bears.
Maybe McKelvin is best used as a returner first and a cornerback second. It's a tough call. Either way, keeping Greer is imperative if Buffalo is able to secure Coles first. The fact that Greer is visiting more teams over the next few days should buy Buffalo some valuable time.