The Buffalo Bills think Leodis McKelvin helps give them an answer to one starting position.
The Bills begin the hunt for more starting position solutions today when the NFL’s free agency shopping season begins.
McKelvin signed new, four-year contract Monday and said he’s eager to win — and hold — a starting spot in the Bills’ secondary.
“I know I can be a starting corner in this league,” said McKelvin, whose deal is worth a bit more than $20 million.
“My first five years started out up and down,” McKelvin said. “I showed flashes of me being a good cornerback, showed flashes of being there in position with foes coming in there and making plays over my back. I’ve never been a guy that was out of place or been a person that’s been burnt or anything like that. I’ve been beat by spectacular plays. As far as the return game, I’ve always been a great returner.”
“We’re excited that Leodis remains on our roster,” said Bills head coach Doug Marrone in a statement released by the team. “Obviously, he is one of the most exciting kick returners in the game today, but we’re also counting on him to be very competitive for the starting corner position opposite Stephon Gilmore. We feel he could play an important role in our defense moving forward.”
What else can the Bills add to their defense? A starting linebacker is needed. A veteran safety would help. Another option to the pass rush wouldn’t hurt, either.
The Bills and the NFL’s other 31 teams can start signing free agents at 4 p.m. today. The Bills could use a receiver, a tight end and a guard for the offense.
McKelvin has started 33 of 64 games for the Bills since joining the team as the 11th overall pick in the 2008 draft. He feels good about the belief the team’s new coaching staff shows in him.
“It’s a new start,” he said. “New beginning, we’ve got a new coaching staff coming through. It’s like my what, third coaching staff coming through here? It’s just a new chance to show my talent, go out there and compete, show everybody that I can do what I can do and make sure we’re changing things around here.”
McKelvin, 27, lost his starting job after five games of the 2011 season. He reclaimed a starting spot, in favor of Aaron Williams, for 4½ games last season before going down with a groin injury.
“I was eager to go out there,” McKelvin said of last season. “I was just waiting to get my chance. I knew coming into the season it was going to be very competitive and I was trying to get my chance to get out on the field. ... Whenever my name was called I was ready. That’s how I feel right now.”
“As far as me coming in as a corner and me being confident in myself, I know I can be a starting corner in this league,” he said. “Like I said, it’s a new start. All that’s going to be left in the past. It’s time to just get better as a player and get ready for this season coming up.”
Before the McKelvin signing, the Bills stood $21 million under their adjusted 2013 salary cap of $133,178,418, according to league figures obtained by The News. The McKelvin deal probably took up about $2.5 million in cap space, which would leave the Bills about $18.5 million under the cap.