When a team develops a superstar and it’s time to renegotiate a new contract, a team is paying for what they believe a player can contribute going forward and sometimes you have to go against public opinion and let the player leave.
This past offseason, the Buffalo Bills made a smart decision letting guard Andy Levitre leave via free agency to the Tennessee Titans for a six-year, $46.8 million deal.
Levitre has had two arthroscopic surgeries performed on his knees, with his most recent being the right knee after the 2012 NFL regular season. He had the left knee scoped during 2011.
The Bills have a lot of question marks in their brand new offense and while Levitre may have been their most consistent offensive lineman, they weren’t going to get in a bidding war for a player who has an injury history and could become a potential liability. The Baltimore Ravens faced a similar situation with safety Ed Reed, who had a hip injury, allowing him to go to the Houston Texans via free agency.
Since joining the Titans, Levitre has yet to do much except for some running during OTAs because of lingering soreness in his surgically repaired knee.
“(The recovery) is going a little bit slower than I thought, but I don’t think it’s anything I have to worry about,” Levitre told John Glennon of the Nashville Tennessean. “It kind of stinks not being able to get out there and actually do the new playbook, but I’ll definitely be good for training camp.”
Whether Levitre will be healthy for the entire regular season remains to be seen, but for the Bills, who have seen center Eric Wood struggle to complete a full season without an injury, it’s easy to see why they were willing to move on and go in a different direction.
When it comes to being an offensive lineman, the lower body is crucial going against opposing defensive linemen. To run block, a lineman needs to drive the defender back and to pass block, lineman needs to stand his ground and prevent the defender from getting to the quarterback.
Going forward, the Bills will have in-house options Sam Young, Colin Brown, Chris Scott and Zebrie Sanders compete to replace Levitre. The Bills could also add a free agent or wait for training camp cuts prior to opening day of the regular season.