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Behind enemy lines: breaking down the former Panthers on the Bills

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When Matt Warren asked me to reach out to rival blogs for insight on the newest Buffalo Bills[1], I joked that it would be easy to do, since most of Buffalo’s signings came from one place. Yes, the Carolina Panthers[2] connections are strong in Orchard Park, so the majority of our discussion comes from one place.

Our friends over at Cat Scratch Reader[3] were gracious enough to discuss Buffalo’s newest former Panthers—specifically, Vernon Butler[4], Mario Addison[5], and Daryl Williams[6]. While they absolutely could have weighed in on A.J. Klein[7] and Josh Norman[8], we figured that would have led to an undue burden for them.

Here’s what managing editor Bradley Smith and editor Erik Sommers had to say about Buffalo’s new additions.

Vernon Butler[9]: “Butler[10] took a step forward last season while being thrust into more duty due to the injury to Kawann Short. While he is still not close to living up to his original first-round pick status, some of the things that made the Panthers salivate over him occasionally flash. He is still fast off the ball, and actually displayed some impressive power to hold the point of attack against the run, even though the Panthers’ defense was a mess in that area on the whole. The major concerns with him are consistency and his injury history, with him generally missing time almost each year since going pro. I would caution against an overreaction to his somewhat impressive sack total of six last season. A lot of that was the Panthers generating excellent edge pressure and the quarterback simply running out of room, but there were a couple of standout plays in that bunch as well.”

Mario Addison[11]: “Addison[12] rose from NFL journeyman to premier pass rusher throughout Ron Rivera’s tenure with the Carolina Panthers, and most of that can be credited to his top-notch work ethic. The switch to multiple fronts was not particularly kind to the 32-year-old end, who although managing to maintain his sack total from the year prior, was pretty exposed on many reps. A breakdown of his game log tells a story of feasting on bad teams and disappearing against good ones. Addison is still quick off the edge, but dependent on that speed rush to win. He’s not a guy you’d want as your best rusher, but I think can still be a great complementary option. At 32 years old, the Bills paid a pretty heavy price for him, and I am not sure he will live up to it given his age. That said, the man is a WORKER, and will give you everything he has.”

Daryl Williams[13]: “Don’t play him at left tackle. Just don’t. Let me save you a lot of heartache. Don’t consider him a depth piece there. Nothing. Through his own admission, and through simply watching a game or two, you’ll find that Williams[14] thrives more on the right side than the left. Still, the book on him now is that he is more suited to play guard than tackle at the NFL level, even if you are talking right tackle. A right tackle in the modern NFL is no longer just a road-grader; they need to be able to hold up on their own in one-on-one pass pro as well, and unfortunately, Williams[15] lacks the lateral agility to hang in space with most NFL speed rushers. This was the case even before his major injuries in 2018, regardless of receiving numerous accolades in that 2017 season. Still, he is a very powerful guy, and by moving him to guard you limit the bubble he has to try and cover, which is ideal for his skill set.

As far as fan reaction, my (Smith’s) personal take is that these three losses led to mixed reactions. Fans were kinda upset that Addison left, but understood why a team with a new regime wouldn’t want to pay a 32-year-old defensive end when they can just go with youth. Fans were “meh” on Butler leaving because most fans don’t believe he lived up to the expectations of a first-round pick, and most fans were happy that someone else signed Williams before we did. Like Erik said, whatever you do, don’t play him at left tackle if you value Josh Allen[16]’s well-being.”

Many thanks to Erik and Bradley for their help and insight!

References :
  • Buffalo Bills (
  • Carolina Panthers (
  • Cat Scratch Reader (
  • Vernon Butler (
  • Mario Addison (
  • Daryl Williams (
  • A.J. Klein (
  • Josh Norman (
  • Vernon Butler (
  • Butler (
  • Mario Addison (
  • Addison (
  • Daryl Williams (
  • Williams (
  • Williams (
  • Josh Allen (
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    Bills' Brandon Beane explains Stefon Diggs trade

    Stefon Diggs standing on a baseball field: USA TODAY © USA TODAY USA TODAY Click to expand


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    Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane is excited about his team’s first-round pick from the 2020 NFL Draft.

    Technically, he doesn’t have an actually selection, but while speaking to reporters on Thursday[1] via video call, Beane called his new No. 1 receiver just that.

    “It is one of those things where I view it, ‘That’s our first-round pick,'” Beane said.

    As free agency started on March 16, the Bills lost their first rounder in a trade with the Vikings, along with a slew of other picks, but gained Stefon Diggs. Beane confirmed earlier speculation that the deal was a long time in the makings.

    Reports indicated during the 2019 trade deadline that the Bills were interested in adding Diggs, but the price was too high at the time. Beane then reached out, and also confirmed what Saints wideout Emmanuel Sanders[2] said this week. The Bills’ GM was looking into adding other pieces via free agent signings, but he clearly reached out to the Vikings that day too, and felt more comfortable with the trade route.

    Speaking of price tag, Beane also compared the price he paid for Diggs to the price he’d pay to move up in the draft. Beane said that he believed it would have cost Buffalo more to move up in the draft and find an immediate impact player such as Diggs.

    “The way I’m viewing it with the draft capital that we moved to acquire him is that we moved up, let’s just say, four spots. We traded up there and we got him and we know the player. It’s just a more proven thing right now,” Beane said.

    Buffalo originally held the No. 22 overall pick in the first round of the upcoming draft. The Bills sent that pick, along with a fifth-round pick, sixth-round pick and 2021 fourth-round pick for Diggs and a seventh-round pick in this year’s draft.


    Brandon Beane says Bills' Josh Norman has 'something to prove'[3]

    Amid COVID-19 pandemic, Bills' Brandon Beane prepared for anything[4]

    2020 NFL Draft: 4 RBs for Bills to consider in second round[5]

    Bills need to add another edge defender says B/R[6]

    4 Bills players land in PFF's 150 best fantasy football options[7]

    References :
  • speaking to reporters on Thursday (
  • Saints wideout Emmanuel Sanders (
  • Brandon Beane says Bills' Josh Norman has 'something to prove' (
  • Amid COVID-19 pandemic, Bills' Brandon Beane prepared for anything (
  • 2020 NFL Draft: 4 RBs for Bills to consider in second round (
  • Bills need to add another edge defender says B/R (
  • 4 Bills players land in PFF's 150 best fantasy football options (
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    The best athletes and sports celebrities on Cameo, from Mike Tyson to Boban Marjanovic

    It's getting more and more difficult to shop for that sports fan in your life, isn't it? It seems like they have everything — authentic jerseys, autographed balls, other assorted cheaply made products with a team logo slapped on them. But one thing they definitely don't have is a 30-second video from an athlete -- past or present -- with a personalized message just for them. And that's the beauty of Cameo[1], the site that allows people to send others messages from celebrities for as little as a few bucks all the way to up to a few thousand dollars. (Caitlyn Jenner is the most expensive sports-related celebrity[2] for $2,500.)

    You can use Cameo in a variety of ways. You can opt for sincere route and send a huge fan of a certain player a heartfelt message that will make his or her year. Or, you can do what most people do, and send someone an ironic message that's either making fun of the Cameo subject, the person you're sending it to, or both.

    That's really how to get the most bang for your buck on Cameo, and it's all the better if the celebrity doesn't take her- or himself too seriously. That's why John Daly ($750), Mike Tyson ($500), or Ric Flair ($500) might actually be worth it, especially if you're pooling money with a bunch of your friends.

    Athletes tend to have more pride than, say, a shameless reality TV star, but the mere fact they're hawking their wares on Cameo tells us they might be willing to have a little fun at their own expense. And given the situation we're currently in with everybody quarantined in their houses, you know these athletes have plenty of time on their hands.

    So, let's break down some of the best players, best values, and best opportunities to have some fun on Cameo if you're a sports fan.

    Best football players on Cameo

    The NFL is the most popular league in America, and you can tell by some of the prices in the Cameo football section[3]. If there are really people out there paying $1,000 a pop for personalized messages from Josh Johnson, Josh Norman, and Kam Chancellor, then we all need to take a long look in the mirror. Regardless, Cameo is perfect for football enthusiasts-- or, more accurately, fantasy football enthusiasts. Getting players who starred for your team to taunt your friends could be fun, but even better is sending your friends messages from players who busted on their teams. Some players might not want to make fun of themselves that way, but it's worth a try. Again, if they're on Cameo, there's a good chance they're game for just about anything within reason.

    Best players

    There is no shortage of Hall-of-Famers and noteworthy stars in the football section. If you don't want to pay $1,000 for Michael Vick (and you probably don't), you can always fall back on Troy Aikman ($600),Tony Gonzalez ($500), Marshall Faulk ($500), Terrell Davis ($500), Terry Bradshaw ($400), or Terrell Owens ($350). Or you can get the man widely considered the greatest player ever, Jim Brown, for cheaper than all of them ($320).

    Better yet, for less than the price of one Ted Ginn ($350...seriously), you can get one of the greatest running backs ever, Adrian Peterson ($200), and one of the greatest wide receivers ever, Calvin Johnson ($135). Throw in one of the great quarterbacks ever, Brett Favre ($250), and you have the start to a championship-winning 2009 fantasy team for under $600.

    Best values:

    Value is tough to find in the NFL section. The cheapest former player is Kristjan Sokoli ($4.50), who says he was the first Albanian player in the NFL in his bio[4]. So, that's something. There's a ton of $5-$15 players, but you probably had to be a fan of their college teams to really remember them. Brendan Langley ($5)? Quenton Meeks ($10)? Tashawn Bower ($10)? Asante Cleveland ($15)? Real people or players generated in franchise mode on Madden? You tell us.

    Once you get into the $15-and-up range, you start seeing some players who were actually on fantasy teams at one point. Ryan Grant ($15) had back-to-back 1,200-yard seasons and undoubtedly won some people their fantasy leagues (and lost even more people their leagues the next two years); Montee Ball ($20) is a great one to send to your buddy who wasted a first-round pick on him in 2014; and both Stevie Johnson ($20) and T.J. Houshmandzadeh ($20) were always undervalued in drafts, much like they are on Cameo. Steve Slaton ($25) is a classic fantasy blast from the past because many drafted him ahead of Chris Johnson the year CJ2K had over 2,000 rushing yards. Based on the fact Johnson is also on Cameo for $200, you can probably guess how that worked out.

    Story continues

    Tony Rice has underpriced himself at $35 (there are a lot of 40-plus-year-old Notre Dame fans out there), and getting Bart Scott to bark "Can't wait!"[5] about virtually anything (upcoming wedding, graduation, bris, etc.) for $60 is money well spent. The same goes for Charles Haley at $65, though you better not have the kids in the room when you watch it. Chad Ochocinco ($85) is a no-brainer, as well.

    Toni Harris ($35) and Katie Sowers ($75) can provide inspiration to little girls that they can do anything, including overcharge people on a personalized message site, while Vince Papale ($50) can also inspire by reminding us that no matter what you look like in real life, Hollywood may choose Mark Wahlberg to play you in a movie.

    Best opportunities for jokes:

    Jonas Gray ($25) is an all-time Bill Belichick special who had 37 carries for 201 yards and four TDs in a game in 2014 ... then 65 carries for 256 yards the rest of his career. Whoever blew the No. 1 waiver claim on him in your fantasy league back in '14 would certainly appreciate a Cameo from the man himself reminding them of that move. Kalen Ballage ($50) is a must for anyone who's a fan of really bad running backs.

    Ickey Woods($50) is a good value, but it's only funny if you ask him to do the Dirty Bird[6] or some other famous celebration that's not the Ickey Shuffle[7] (or you could pay $32 to have Jamal Anderson do the Ickey Shuffle). Plaxico Burress ($100) is a little pricey, but he might be worth it to taunt a Patriots fan[8] or an NRA member[9]. Finally, Manti Te'o ($100) is a good Cameo to send to someone who doesn't exist because he already has a lot of experience with that[10].

    Best baseball players on Cameo

    As with virtually every category on Cameo, you can waste hours going through the baseball section[11] and marveling at the long-forgotten names and surprising prices. Aramis Ramirez for $15? That's a steal. Junior Spivey for $65? That's not as much of a steal. (Seriously, who's paying $65 for a Junior Spivey Cameo? Bill Gates? Warren Buffett?)

    Best players:

    If money is no object, you can pay up for Mariano Rivera ($500) or Pedro Martinez ($500) and be guaranteed a classy message. If you want the big-name splash for a fraction of the price, you can go for Roger Clemens ($250) or Pete Rose ($150) (classiness not guaranteed), and if you just want a Hall-of-Famer, you can get Pudge Rodriguez ($100), Roberto Alomar ($100), Andre Dawson ($60), or Lee Smith ($50). If it's current players you want, Pete Alonso ($200) might be worth his high price, though the same can't be said for Hunter Pence ($250) or Kevin Pillar ($150). The nerve of those guys, huh?

    You can get some stars for cheaper prices, too. Jose Canseco ($100), Lenny Dykstra ($95), Curt Schilling ($75), and Ozzie Guillen ($50) might be worth it just to see what kind of craziness comes out of their mouths when they're ad-libbing, and throw Steve Garvey ($100) in there, too, and have him tell you about the time he bat-flipped on "Fantasy Island."[12]

    Best values:

    For current players, Byron Buxton ($25), Shane Bieber ($40), and Jesus Luzardo ($40) could see their careers really take off soon, so now's the time to lock in those low prices. Frankie Montas ($50), Franmil Reyes ($50), and Gavin Lux ($50) are right on that boarder, but once you get into the half-a-hundred-and-up range, a All-Star season should be guaranteed or your money back.

    Best opportunities for jokes:

    Chances are there is a surprising large contingent of fans who would like a Mickey Morandini Cameo for just $15. It's not every day you can get a player who hit 32 career HRs over 10 seasons to say happy birthday to a friend. You can also get Phillies minor leaguer Jose Pujols ($20) and just ask him to put on an Angels jersey and refer to himself as "Albert." (he's probably used to it). Jon Lieber ($25) is also a good value, but only if you have him refer to the fact that he gave up not one but two hits to one-handed pitcher Jim Abbott (Abbott's only two career hits).​ Jon Lieber needs to be reminded of this daily.

    You can pay $50 to have Chris Mazza explain who he is, $45 to have Corey Patterson apologize for ruining your fantasy season (he got everybody at least once), or $40 to have the guy who played Kevin Costner's dad in "Field of Dreams' (Dwier Brown) admit that he's not a real baseball player. The same goes for that Batting Stance Guy nerd, but at least he's appropriately priced at $15.

    Best basketball players on Cameo

    The Cameo basketball section[13] is...confusing. The priciest person is Harlem Globetrotter Briana Stewart ($950), while 10-year NBA vet Ben Gordon ($700), Euro-league and Israeli-league veteran Landon Milbourne ($700), Hall-of-Famer Gary Payton ($625), "YouTube basketball star" Tristan Jess ($500), famed riot starter and NBA champion Metta World Peace ($500), and all-time leading scorer in NBA history Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ($500) round out the top five. No offense to Payton, but talk about a "one-of-those-things-is-not-like-the-other" situation, huh?

    Best players:

    In addition to Kareem, you can get all-time greats Isiah Thomas ($222) and Rick Barry ($150), or you could opt for an all-time great dunker and pay $300 for Vince Carter. Compared to football and even baseball, the pickings are slim for top basketball players.

    Best values:

    Of course, you could pay just $75 for one of the best WNBA players of all-time, Lisa Leslie, which looks like a great value until you see Boban Marjanovic is the same price. You can't afford not to pay $75 for Boban. Matt Barnes would probably say something funny for $55, and you're not going to find a better deal on a former No. 1 overall pick than $50 for Greg Oden. Rob Strickland ($25) is one of the best deals on the whole site, especially if you just have him rap Raekwon's verse from "Triumph" that ends with "...sickenin'/guaranteed make him jump like Rod Strickland[14]."

    Oh, and there's one more value you might have heard of: Michael Jordan is just $20! I mean, it's the Michael Jordan who played offensive guard at Ohio State, but still...pretty close.

    Seriously, though, just pay $75 for Boban already.

    Best opportunities for jokes:

    You can probably get Smush Parker ($55) to talk about how Kobe hated him[15], so that's a good deal, and Larry Sanders ($50) would probably recreate his infamous "thumbs up[16]" ejection, so that's worth it, too. Mo Speights ($20) is cheap and you could just have him shoot baskets the entire Cameo instead of say a message because we all know there's nothing Mo Speights likes to do more than get shots up.

    You could also really splurge for an old Bulls fan and get them Stacey King ($50), Will Perdue ($50), and Bill Wennington ($40). Sorry, but there's no Luc Longley to complete the collection of big stiffs who rode the coattails of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, but maybe soon.

    Best hockey players on Cameo

    The hockey section[17] on Cameo is relatively small, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality.

    Best players:

    Mark Messier ($300) is the most expensive hockey player on the site, and all things being equal, he's a relative value. You can also get all-time great Bobby Hull for $175. Martin Brodeur ($150), Chris Pronger ($100), Doug Gilmour ($93), and Grant Fuhr ($75) give you more Hall-of-Fame exposure for under $200 -- and they'll say their messages in Canadian (or, in Brodeur's case, French Canadian) accents!

    Best opportunities for jokes:

    Paying $50 for Sean Avery is a good way to remind someone you're an enforcer, and shelling out $42 for Ron Duguay would just be confusing for all parties involved.

    Best soccer players on Cameo

    If you're looking for current stars in the soccer section[18] on Cameo, you're not going to find many, but there are several recognizable names, particularly from the USWNT.

    Best players:

    Douglas Costa ($250), Briana Scurry ($250), Viv Anderson ($200), and Henrik Larsson ($150) are the highest-priced soccer players, but Mia Hamm ($125), Michelle Akers ($110), and Brandi Chastain ($100) all have more cache with the casual fan -- at least ones over 40. And while we don't know this for sure, but we're guessing Chastain won't recreate her famous pose[19] from the 1999 World Cup.

    Jozy Altidore ($80) and Freddy Adu ($45) represent players who were supposed to put men's soccer in the US on the map, and even though that hasn't quite happened, you can still trick some people into thinking you were on the bandwagon early.

    Best NASCAR, Indy Car and F1 drivers on Cameo

    Cameo's racing section[20] is similar to the hockey section -- small but proud.

    Best drivers:

    "The King" Richard Petty is the highest-priced driver at $250, so you know things are going to be relatively affordable in this section. Rusty Wallace ($150), Brad Keselowski ($150), Tony Kanaan ($100), Helio Castroneves ($55), Austin Dillon ($55), and Juan Pablo Montoya ($50) are some of the other top drivers available at a wide range of prices.

    Best opportunities for jokes:

    At only $4, Nate Hamilton is the cheapest driver on Cameo. Budget $120 and get one Cameo from him every day for a month and see if by the end, you two become actual friends. You could do the same with NASCAR reporter Alex Weaver $5 a pop, and she's a lot easier on the eyes.

    References :
  • Cameo (
  • most expensive sports-related celebrity (
  • Cameo football section (
  • first Albanian player in the NFL in his bio (
  • Can't wait!" (
  • Dirty Bird (
  • Ickey Shuffle (
  • Patriots fan (
  • NRA member (
  • already has a lot of experience with that (
  • baseball section (
  • he bat-flipped on "Fantasy Island." (
  • basketball section (
  • sickenin'/guaranteed make him jump like Rod Strickland (
  • how Kobe hated him (
  • thumbs up (
  • hockey section (
  • soccer section (
  • her famous pose (
  • racing section (
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