The Buffalo Bills have stayed away from making any huge moves in free agency, but may have missed out on a chance to land an All-Pro linebacker.
Syracuse.com’s Ryan Talbot reported earlier this month that the Bills showed interest in signing free-agent linebacker Lavonte David, who hit the open market after 11 seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. David ultimately ended up returning to Tampa on a one-year contract worth $7 million, but said he may have considered moving to the Bills had their chief player-turned-recruiter had reached out.
Lavonte David Says Bills May Have Missed Out
In an appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show” on March 24, David said he did hear from the Bills during his free-agency process, but by then he was already deep in discussions to return to Tampa.
“Yeah, I heard a little chatter (from the Bills),” David said. “You know, it was basically when I was just starting to get a little tight with the Bucs. When I was about to, you know, the deal was about to get pulled (off), I heard a little chatter from the Bills. But I was already locked in with Tampa. It’s where I wanted to be for obvious reasons.”
Eisen then asked David if he had heard from Bills edge rusher Von Miller, who has been active in recruiting talent from around the league to Buffalo. Miller publicly pushed former teammate Odell Beckham Jr. to sign with the Bills, and caused a stir while going through offseason workouts with rumored trade target Derrick Henry.
David said he never heard from Miller, which he admits could have tilted his free-agency decision toward the Bills.
“I didn’t have no conversation with Von. Oh no,” David told Eisen. “If he would have reached out, it would have been a different conversation.”
Even Miller’s input may not have been enough to sway David away from Tampa, however. Shortly after returning to the Buccaneers, David said he had a strong desire to return and prove himself after a disappointing playoff exit in the Wild Card round.
“When you’re a competitor and prepare like me, I feel like the best place for me to redeem myself was in Tampa, to stay in Tampa,” David said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “You know, kind of finish what I started. I’ve been here my whole career, and I wouldn’t want to be nowhere else.”
Bills Need Help at Linebacker
The Bills will likely need to make an addition at linebacker after Pro Bowler Tremaine Edmunds left to join the Chicago Bears on a four-year, $72 million contract. ESPN’s Bill Barnwell believes the Bills could be the “best fit” for veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner as a replacement for Edmunds.
“Buffalo lost Tremaine Edmunds to a mammoth offer from the Bears, leaving them with a hole next to Matt Milano,” Barnwell wrote. “A.J. Klein is also a free agent, and although the team drafted Terrel Bernard to serve as a possible replacement for Edmunds, the 2022 third-round pick played just 111 total snaps as a rookie.”