The Buffalo Bills have made several moves since the start of free agency, but they are not done. On Friday, March 24, ESPN analyst Tiffany Blackmon broke the news that the Bills are interested in signing one of the most decorated defensive ends in the league, Calais Campbell.
Blackmon tweeted, “A source told me that Calais Campbell’s visit with the Falcons on Wednesday went really well… also met with the Jags last week and has visits set up with the Jets and Bills this coming week,” news which quickly caught Bills Mafia’s attention.
The 6-foot-8, 300-pound disruptor, who won the Walton Payton Man of the Year Award in 2019, most recently signed a two-year, $12.5 million contract with the Baltimore Ravens in August 2022, but the team released him earlier this month, saving $7 million against the salary cap, per NFL.com‘s Kevin Patra.
While the six-time Pro Bowler will turn 37 in September, “Campbell remains a force along the line, able to eat up multiple blockers and get into the backfield,” Patra wrote. “In three seasons in Baltimore, he generated 11 sacks and 113 tackles in 41 games. He recorded 5.5 sacks and 14 QB hits in 2022… The 36-year-old has said he wants to continue his NFL career and chase the elusive Super Bowl ring. Now the question is where…”
Throughout his 15-year career, Campbell has recorded 809 tackles, 99 sacks, 16 forced fumbles, 12 fumble recoveries, and 165 tackles for loss in 227 career games.
Bills Mafia Strongly Reactied to Campbell’s Pending Buffalo Visit
After losing Tremaine Edmunds to the Chicago Bears, and the likelihood of having to start the 2023 NFL season without superstar edge rusher Von Miller, Buffalo’s defense could use a future Hall-of-Famer like Campbell. Cover 1 host Greg Thompsett noted, “Monstrous Veteran FA DT Calais Campbell was released by BAL, so signing him would not jeopardize the Bills current 3rd Rd comp pick.”
The bulk of Bills Mafia were hyped at the prospect of adding the three-time All-Pro. One Bills fan tweeted, “We cannot let him leave without a contract,” while another person simply wrote, “LFG.”
Several fans pointed out that he’s already good friends with Miller, and coming to Buffalo would reunite him with his mentee, Gregory Rousseau. In June 2021, Campbell was seen taking his fellow Miami alum, Rousseau, under his wing at the Hurricanes’ Paradise Camp, and slammed reports criticizing the athleticism of the then-21-year-old defensive end who would become the Bills’ 2021 first-round pick.
“I wonder what the scouts were saying when I was coming out,” Campbell tweeted on April 20, 2021. “Not athletic enough? Not strong enough? I am not a scout and I know they have a tough job. But I hope they don’t overthink this one. (Greg Rousseau) can play football. He is a playmaker! Shows up in both the run and pass game.”
Buffalo has been interested in landing Campbell before, but it seems the veteran would have to be willing to take a pay cut to join the Bills. According to OverTheCap.com, Buffalo has approximately $9.8 million in cap space, a large chunk of which will go toward signing prospects at the 2023 NFL Draft.
There’s Still a Chance Campbell Remains in Baltimore
Campbell, who spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Arizona Cardinals, played for the Jaguars for three years before signing with the Ravens in 2020. While several teams will vie for his talent, there’s still a chance he remains in Baltimore.
“Calais defines what it is to be a Raven,” Ravens’ general manager Eric DeCosta said in a statement upon Campbell’s release. “He personifies professionalism, and his contributions to our organization – both on and off the field – are immense. With his passion, leadership and toughness, Calais has undoubtedly produced a Hall of Fame-worthy career.
“While this is the worst part of the business, we have not closed the door on the possibility of him returning to our team in the future.”
Campbell’s future in Baltimore could hinge on what happens with Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted on March 13, “Campbell could return if Baltimore gets some cap relief (i.e. in a QB deal) but Campbell has good football left and wants to keep playing.”