The Buffalo Bills get an A+ for working salary cap magic in free agency, restructuring several veteran contracts in order to add depth to nearly every area of their roster. However, they still haven’t found a new cornerback, which has long been a dire issue.
While numerous top cornerbacks have already been snatched up, waiting thing long to select may actually work in the Bills favor. One of the best remaining cornerbacks available, Denver Broncos’ Bryce Callahan, is now available at a “bargain-bin” price, per Bleacher Report‘s Kristopher Knox.
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“Callahan remains available, probably at a below-market price,” Knox wrote. “Injuries have limited Callahan to 13 games or fewer in each of his pro campaigns, and a foot setback caused him to miss all of 2019.”
“Before free agency started, Pro Football Focus projected a two-year, $10 million deal for the seventh-year defender,” Knox added. “That’s already a team-friendly price for a reliable corner, but Callahan might settle for even less this late in free agency.”
The 30-year-old corner who went undrafted out of Rice in 2015, spent the first four seasons of his NFL career with the Chicago Bears before signing a three-year, $21 million contract with the Broncos in 2019.
“He has allowed a passer rating below 92.0 in each of his past three seasons and a rating of just 47.8 in 2020,” Knox continued. “Yes, Callahan carries injury concerns, but he could still be a key role player, primarily in his usual role as a nickel corner. ”
The Bills were Linked to Callahan Back in February
Back in February, Pro Football Focus named the Bills as one of the teams that would be interested in adding a reliable cornerback like Callahan, who was ranked as the No. 50 top overall free agent available this offseason.
PFF‘s Adam H. Beasley wrote, “Callahan’s health has been a big concern throughout his career, particularly during the three years he spent with the Denver Broncos. He appeared in just 21 games — starting 16 — during his time with Denver. That’s on top of the 19 games he missed in his four years with the Chicago Bears. It’s not hard to understand, then, why Callahan is outside the top 10 in PFN’s list of best available defensive backs.”
In 2021, “Callahan missed six games, including five straight during a stint on injured reserve, after suffering a non-contact knee injury in November and then catching COVID-19 in December. But when healthy, he was more than a solid contributor to a talented Broncos defensive backfield. Callahan allowed just 56.8% of passes thrown in his coverage area to be completed.”
In addition to the Bills, Beasley mentioned other possible landing spots for Callahan could include AFC East rival, the New England Patriots, who just lost star cornerback J.C. Jackson to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Can the Bills Afford to Sign Callahan?
While it was largely expected for the Broncos to re-sign Callahan, that seems more unlikely to happen with each day that passes. After the Broncos reached a two-year, $7 million deal with free agent cornerback K’Waun Williams on March 22, the odds of Callahan remaining in Denver grew even less.
In 2020, Callahan’s best season to date, he recorded 29 combined tackles, four passes defended, and a sack across 11 games. When targeted, he allowed a passer rating of only 47.8, which was the lowest in the entire NFL, per PFF.
After making the Bills made the splashy move of signing eight-time Pro Bowler Von Miller, trading for backup quarterback Case Keenum, and adding wide receiver Jamison Crowder, the Bills still have $2,891,126 in open cap according to the NFLPA’s public salary cap report.
While the Bills need a chunk of that money to sign players from the 2022 NFL Draft, they could free up more cap space by restructuring wide receiver Stefon Diggs’ contract, or cornerback Tre’Davious White’s deal.