Most Important Signing For Buffalo Bills Should Be Marcell Dareus


Amidst the buzz of NFL free agency, the importance for the Buffalo Bills to re-sign All-Pro Marcell Dareus should not be forgotten. In my opinion, the Bills should sign Dareus to a contract extension at some point before the season starts. Finalizing this extension prior to training camp could be icing on the cake to an offseason that has already been filled with intrigue. 

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Reporters have been expecting contract negotiations to ramp up after the free agency period has settled and May’s draft concludes. Even though Dareus is still under team control for the upcoming season, it would certainly be nice for the two sides to work something out before training camp. The Bills currently have a huge amount of money tied up in their defensive line, even before a potential Dareus extension. With that being said, it is clear that the line has been the biggest part of the defense’s overall success the past two seasons. While freshly re-signed Jerry Hughes will only be 27 years old by the time the season starts, the other starters on the Bills defensive line (Mario Williams and Kyle Williams) are both now in their 30’s. Dareus turns 25 tomorrow (3/13), and should be considered an anchor and cornerstone within the Bills defense for years to come. Doug Whaley has taken an aggressive approach when it comes to trades, player signings, and the draft during his stint thus far as the team’s GM. Bills fans are certainly hoping he continues that approach in his efforts towards re-signing Dareus.

Dareus graded out as Pro Football Focus’s 4th rated defensive tackle in 2014, slotting in right behind Ndamukong Suh. In 2013, Dareus finished 6th on the list. Dareus is also averaging just over seven sacks a year throughout his first four seasons, while grading out as PFF’s 17th best pass rushing defensive tackle for 2014 (Kyle Williams topped the list). Undoubtedly, Marcell’s agent will be looking at the massive contract that Suh just signed with the Dolphins as a baseline for his negotiations with the Bills. Dareus is a clear top ten defensive tackle in the league, and could arguably become a perennial top five player at his position if he continues on his current path. Based on his age, it is scary to think that his best football may be ahead of him, and a reason the Bills front office should believe he is worthy of a massive contract. While he may not get the same type of money as Suh, it’s not unreasonable to think that Dareus could land a $100 million dollar contract with $50+ million guaranteed. The Bills have already lost some key pieces in the middle of the defense. Between trading away Kiko Alonso, letting Da’Norris Searcy and Brandon Spikes walk in free agency (although the door is slightly open for a Spikes return), the Bills now appear somewhat thin up the middle, behind the line. While the remainder of free agency and May’s rookie draft should bring more clarity to how Whaley and Rex Ryan plan to shape this year’s Bills defense, one thing is certain; Dareus needs to be on Buffalo’s roster beyond 2015.

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