by Paul Wanecski
The jostling of AFC East rosters is almost comical this time of year. The Buffalo Bills have been trying to give the illusion that they will be sticking a contract on the Miami Dolphins with TE Charles Clay. In response, Miami signed another TE, Jordan Cameron and at this point has yet to remove the transition tag placed on Clay, knowing that any offer the Bills could make would place quite a bit of pressure on the 2015 salary cap and beyond. On top of that, the Jets overpay LB David Harris prior to the start of free agency to make sure he didn’t sign with the Bills. The Bills respond by picking up Percy Harvin who had just been released by the Jets, however, the Jets were able to lay down the trump card by grossly overpaying for CB Darrelle Revis. Meanwhile, the Patriots giggle and sign Scott Chandler. The games will continue.
Calvin Pace will be the focus for the remainder of this article. He is on the final year of his contract, making 2.25 million. He has been a consistent force at the at the OLB position. The Jets wisely exercised an option for this season, however, none of that is guaranteed as they will look to draft his replacement. Is it conceivable that he will be able to stay on the active roster given the small salary? Sure it is, however, with Todd Bowles now in town, he may want to continue to purge and reinvent the Jets defense and move the 34 year old linebacker of the roster. Do not expect him to be released prior to final roster cuts in the pre-season. The Jets would not make a move to release a player, even with the pretty decent decline he showed last season, without knowing if his replacement would be able to handle the position. If they find a marginal replacement, Pace will be shown the door and the Buffalo Bills will be the first in line for his services.
Pace would not have the deficiency of having to learn a new system. Actually, he and the Browns would have a scheme similar to what the Buffalo Bills are anticipated to employ which would make for a smoother transition to either team. He will not be expensive and he will not be highly sought after, but, he would bring experience and a track record of success to the position in a rotational role. This would spell Jerry Hughes during passing downs, as Pace is much stronger in coverage (much like Manny Lawson), which would allow the high-motor Hughes the ability to rest in situations that do not best fit his skill set. Pace has the size to drop down to DE in 4-3 looks, but, he would more likely be dropped back into coverage allowing for a corner or linebacker to blitz. Either way, Pace would be a welcome and versatile addition to the Buffalo Bills roster.