Injuries to the Bills’ offensive line in 2011 helped show how valuable OLG Andy Levitre is to Buffalo. Different year, same story in 2012, with multiple injuries affecting the unit, but Levitre was the constant.
It’s no secret that the Bills like Levitre, and with C.J. Spiller in the backfield, anything they can do to keep the O-line in tact moving forward is key, which would include re-signing Levitre.
The fourth-year pro has started all 63 games he has played since entering the league in 2009. Statistically, he’s having his best season, having allowed only half a sack heading into the season finale and being penalized once for holding. Levitre is key in the Bills’ screen game and Buffalo is second in the NFL averaging 6.40 yards per carry rushing over left guard.
“He has been solid, ‘Steady Eddie’ for us and played well,” Chan Gailey told reporters on Wednesday. “He has been one of the pleasant things for offense as far as consistency goes.”
The Bills already re-signed Levitre’s fellow starting guard, Kraig Urbik, and FS Jairus Byrd is the only other free-agent-to-be that demands a lot of attention. One of the two players could receive the franchise tag, with the other getting a long-term agreement. According to NFL.com, the franchise tag for an O-lineman in 2013 will be $9.660 million, almost $3 million more than the tag for a safety. Economically, locking down Levitre long-term would help the cap, and leave the tag as an option for Byrd. If there’s anything going against Levitre, it’s that the Bills’ top backup guard, Chad Rinehart, is a solid player, and certainly cheaper, but he is still a drop-off in talent from Levitre.
Many consider Levitre a Pro Bowl snub, and his consistency has been crucial for the Bills; now the next step is for Buddy Nix to find a way to keep him in Buffalo.
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