A major story line for the Buffalo Bills this off-season has been their youth movement at the top of the organization. Russ Brandon (President), Doug Whaley (General Manager) and Doug Marrone (head coach) are all significantly younger th...
A major story line for the Buffalo Bills this off-season has been their youth movement at the top of the organization. Russ Brandon (President), Doug Whaley (General Manager) and Doug Marrone (head coach) are all significantly younger than the men they're replacing in those roles, giving the team a new outlook.
The Bills are also young across their roster. Just seven of the team's 90 players currently under contract will be 30 years old or older when the 2013 regular season begins, and just one more - Brad Smith in December - will be joining that group. Let's take a look at the full list of the Bills' elder statesmen, and their future prospects under a new coaching staff:
Rian Lindell (36): He's been the kicker in Buffalo for a full decade now, but it seems highly unlikely that he'll make it to year No. 11 in Buffalo. Lindell, who wasn't allowed to kick from distance by the previous coaching staff, is scheduled to make $2.1 million in base salary this season - and if he's going to make that money, he'll have to beat out sixth-round pick Dustin Hopkins, who is the favorite to be Buffalo's kicker next season.
Fred Jackson (32): The highly popular running back will forever be a fan favorite, but after an incredible start to the 2011 season, he's landed on IR twice and been generally beaten up over the last season and a half, and is now a clear second to C.J. Spiller at the running back position. He'll be on the team and contribute for at least the 2013 season - albeit in a reduced role, ideally, as the team features Spiller more - and is only under contract through the 2014 season.
Bryan Scott (32): Buffalo re-signed the underrated Scott earlier this off-season, and he fits into any plans that Mike Pettine has on defense thanks to his positional versatility as a safety-by-trade with experience playing inside linebacker. As a part-time player, Scott has recorded 172 tackles, six interceptions, four sacks, five fumble recoveries and three touchdowns over the last three seasons.
Erik Pears (31 in June): Signed to a contract extension in 2011, Pears was hurt throughout most of the 2012 campaign, which hindered him while on the field and eventually kept him off of it. Now at full health, Pears will likely be competing with third-year pro Chris Hairston for the starting right tackle job this summer.
Tarvaris Jackson (30): The Bills acquired Jackson via trade with Seattle last fall, then promptly left him on the inactive list for 16 games. He has yet to even don a Bills uniform for regular season action, but the team re-signed him this off-season and will make him part of a three-way quarterback competition also featuring Kevin Kolb and rookie E.J. Manuel. It's a strong possibility that one of Jackson and Kolb will be released before the season.
Mark Anderson (30 this Sunday): Signed to a lucrative four-year free agent deal last spring, Anderson appeared in just five games - registering one sack - before two knee surgeries ended his season. Now he profiles as a pass rusher able to play on the line or standing up in Pettine's defense, and unless he's beaten out by one of the younger players on Buffalo's roster, he'll be on the team for one reason: his contract.
Kyle Williams (30 in June): Williams is now the only Bills player drafted before 2008 on the roster. The 2006 fifth-round pick is widely regarded as one of the best and most underrated defensive linemen in the league, and has two Pro Bowl bids (albeit as an injury replacement in each case) to show for it. How he profiles into Pettine's defense long-term remains a mystery, but the well-compensated Williams will be a major part of the team's plans on defense for the foreseeable future as its most consistent player against the pass and the run.