In the opening statement of new Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan’s press conference back in January, he made the statement that he wanted to “build a bully”.
Just a month later, those remarks seem to be quite ironic, as the Bills made it official today of their signing of offensive lineman Richie Incognito, infamously known for his role in the 2013 Miami Dolphins bullying scandal.
While the team did not officially disclose terms of the deals, multiple media outlets report that the deal is for one-year for $2.25 million.
When looking at the move from a football standpoint, it kind of is a no-brainer for Buffalo.
The Bills offensive line play was horrible this past season, and Incognito, as long as he can shake the rust from missing over a season and a half, due to the eight-game suspension in 2013 and then no team picking him up this past season, seems to be an improvement over what the team had with last season’s starters Erik Pears and Kraig Urbik. Pears will also become a free agent in March, and isn’t guaranteed to return, which would open up at least one starting spot anyways.
Chris Williams, who signed a four-year, $13.5 million deal last off-season, missed 13 games last year with a lower back injury. His return, along with the most recent move will give the Bills two potential new starters along the line at the guard position for the up-coming season.
While the move does raise questions from a character standpoint, it seems to being made a bigger deal than what it actually is.
The bottom-line is, you don’t win football games with a bunch of choirboys.
While Incognito does has a checkered past, the real interest is what he can bring to the football field.
Especially on an offense that is suppose to be turning to a more run-heavy approach under Ryan and new offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
Incognito is no stranger to trouble, but at this point it looks like the Bills finally realized that you don’t win football games with choirboys. Good character only goes so far in today’s NFL.
It is a very low risk/ high reward move for the Bills.
If he can return close to the player he was in his last full season in 2012, in which he was named to the Pro Bowl for the Dolphins, the small salary deal will be a slam-dunk.
If he can’t return to form, or becomes a problem in the locker room or off the field, the Bills can easily cut their loses and move on.
You want a player with a mean streak playing on your line, and also one as durable as Incognito, who has started all of his 102 career games played in for his career.
It will be also be Incognito’s second stint in Buffalo, as he was also with the team in 2009, when he started three games.
The signing certainly wasn’t a quick decision by the Bills. Incognito meet with the new Bills team owners before the deal was reached, and he did enough to show them the Bills brass that his troubled past was far behind him.
“I personally met with Richie, along with Doug Whaley, Rex Ryan and Kim regarding an opportunity to earn a spot on the Buffalo Bills roster. Obviously, we all discussed Richie’s past experience in the NCAA and NFL,” said Bills owner Terry Pegula in a statement to the media.
“We are convinced that Richie is prepared to move forward and has and will continue to take the necessary steps to improve himself as a person and a teammate. Following discussion with the rest of the coaching staff, we as an organization will provide him with the opportunity to do so.”
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