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Buffalo Bills GM: ‘Rex is salivating’ over Shaq Lawson

February 10, 2017
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By way of the direct replacement theory, the Buffalo Bills were beyond thrilled to swap departed and disgruntled edge rusher Mario Williams for their first-round draft pick, Shaq Lawson.

“Very few times that you can go into a draft and have a really big need and that guy there standing out like a sore thumb is the guy you want and the guy that fills that need,” general manager Doug Whaley said, via The Buffalo News. “We’re extremely excited to have Shaq Lawson and cheap authentic NFL hats. We never thought he’d drop to us at 19.”

For coach Rex Ryan, a Clemson superfan whose son plays for the Tigers, it was thrilling for multiple reasons. Mostly, it was another first-round pick Ryan got to spend on defense.

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“Rex is salivating with this guy,” Whaley told the team’s official site.

Earlier in the night, Whaley added: “He walks in as a Day One starter, opposite Jerry Hughes jersey. He can set the edge from the outside, he can rush speed-to-power, and that gives us two nice rushers off the edge. And then you’ve got the push in the middle with our defensive tackles.”

The pick, however, continues an odd trend for Ryan, who has not been the head coach of a team that has used a first-round pick (or top second-round pick if No. 1 is unavailable) on an offensive player since 2009. That was the year the New York Jets drafted Mark Sanchez jersey.

In the ensuing years, Ryan oversaw the drafting of cornerback Kyle Wilson, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson jersey, pass rusher Quinton Coples, cornerback Dee Milliner, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, safety Calvin Pryor and finally with the Bills, cornerback Ronald Darby.

The Bills released cornerback Leodis McKelvin, the team announced Friday. The move will save the Bills $3.9 million and bring the team roughly $13 million under the cap, per ESPN’s Mike Rodak.

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Nike Bills Men's Ugly Sweater_1McKelvin makes for an interesting addition to the free-agency pool. The selection of available cornerbacks is shallow, meaning the 30-year-old defender is bound to draw interest.

McKelvin, 30, suffered through an injury-ravaged season, playing nine games after spending half the year on the team’s non-football injury list with an ankle injury he suffered in 2014 due to wholesale jerseys.

As the 11th overall pick of the 2008 draft, McKelvin started 60 games over eight seasons in Buffalo, with some of his finest work coming in 2013.

“Tyrod’s our starter. Tyrod’s the guy we’re going into the season with,” Whaley said, via the Buffalo News. “… He’s not the type who’s insecure like (about his status).”

Whaley added the Bills haven’t received any trade offers regarding Taylor.

Much of this offseason in Buffalo has been spent haggling over Taylor’s future with the franchise. The quarterback’s agent has been vocal about getting his client a new long-term deal that would compensate Taylor at the level of a starting quarterback. Taylor is set to make $1 million on cheap NFL and NBA jerseys this season.

For his part, Taylor said he’s not focused on the contract situation.

“The business side handles itself, whether it gets done or not,” he said, via WGR 550, on Tuesday. “Like I said it handles itself. I am just here to work and get better as a player.”

The Bills have balked at paying Taylor after just 14 starts. Instead of using Wednesday to grab more negotiating leverage, Whaley stamped Taylor as the starter in 2016.

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Enjoying a career year as the most effective after-catch threat in the game, Harvin was tied for the NFL lead in receptions, first in YAC, second in kickoff return average and second in receiving yards when an ankle injury prematurely ended his 2012 season in early November.

Although Harvin was in line for a lucrative new contract the next offseason, the Vikings deemed him too risky following heated exchanges with two different head coaches in a three-year span. Five months after joining the MVP conversation despite playing in Adrian Peterson’s shadow, Harvin was shipped to the Seahawks for first-, third- and seventh-round draft picks.

At the time, NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell hailed the Harvin acquisition as “a movable chess piece that advances the continuing evolution of NFL offense” in Seattle.

One of the NFL’s model franchises thought so highly of Harvin that they committed to a six-year, $67 million contract, making him one of the league’s highest-paid players.

After playing just 20 snaps in his Seattle debut season, Harvin waltzed into Super Bowl XLVIII and nearly walked away with Malcolm Smith’s MVP award after generating 137 electric yards on his first four touches.

Seven months later the Seahawks shocked the football world, trading Harvin on the cheap following multiple altercations with teammates.

Harvin was impressive enough in an eight-game audition with the Jets that the organization seriously contemplated exercising his $10.5 million option for 2015.

Settling for a one-year, $6 million deal in Buffalo, Harvin was outplaying the more ballyhooed Sammy Watkins when nagging hip pain brought another season to a halt.

If this is the end of the line, Harvin will be remembered as one of the great “what might have beens” of his authentic football jerseys.

He never developed as as an intricate NFL route runner, missed extensive time to injuries and wore out his welcome with two different franchises. On the flip side, he was a unique playmaker capable of breaking a game wide open every time he touched the ball.

As former teammate Sidney Rice once put it, “the league has never seen a player like Percy Harvin.”

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