One of the biggest names to depart from the Buffalo Bills via free agency this offseason was Pro Bowl linebacker Zach Brown, and it was expected that he would move on to a lucrative new deal with another team on the open market.
Except, now a few weeks into the start of the free agent period, Brown is still without a home. Most recently, the linebacker has visited with the Miami Dolphins, but once that is done, he'll be heading back to Western New York for a visit with the team he played for this past season.
According to a league source, Brown will visit with the Bills on Wednesday, and it comes after the linebacker fired his prior agency representation.
In his one season with the Bills, Brown went from a depth player to being a starter following the season-ending injury to rookie linebacker Reggie Ragland. Brown went on to make the Pro Bowl, making 149 tackles along the way. He also added one interception and two forced fumbles for the Bills during the 2016 season.
Brown, who turns 28 in October, is entering his sixth year in the NFL.
Joe B's Take
The Buffalo Bills played the waiting game with Zach Brown, and it might just pay off for them in a big way.
Among the linebackers from last season -- which includes Reggie Ragland -- the best fit for Sean McDermott's defense is Brown, though he was the only one among the group that was due to become a free agent. The linebacker was hoping to go to the free agent market and find a lucrative contract somewhere, but that hasn't happened.
Now that Brown is coming back for a visit, he can get to know the new staff and also try to figure out what type of role they envision for him in the 2017 season. At this point, Ragland and Preston Brown are still on the team, and their roles have also yet to be defined by this new defensive scheme.
By waiting as long as they have, the Bills have potentially put themselves in a position to get Zach Brown -- if he agrees -- for a price tag that they'll likely be much more comfortable with paying for a linebacker in his sixth year in the league. If they can strike the right balance to make all parties happy, Brown would be as big of an addition for this defense as you'd find.
The linebacker position is hazy, and the athletically gifted Zach Brown would immediately be one of their top two players -- and better yet, remove one of the defensive needs they have for the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft.
If successful, this would be a big, cost-effective get for Sean McDermott, Doug Whaley and their staff.