ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — A year ago upon signing with the Bills, Von Miller jokingly second-guessed his decision by questioning who would want to leave the bright lights of Los Angeles for a small-market, rust-belt city such as Buffalo.
Little did he realize, but Miller prompted a growing trend that has carried over to this offseason.
With the Bills announcing the signing of edge rusher Leonard Floyd to a one-year contract on Tuesday, their roster now features five players who helped the Los Angeles Rams win the Super Bowl two seasons ago.
That’s not a coincidence, general manager Brandon Beane said, referring to an offseason in which his free-agent signing haul of championship-winning Rams players also includes cornerback Taylor Rapp, linebacker Travin Howard and guard David Edwards.
“It’s one of the things that you look for when adding people who have done it, and who know,” he said. “It’s not that we were just choosing that team, but they won it a couple of years ago. And that’s a quality that we wouldn’t be afraid to add.”
Acknowledging it’s an approach that’s easier said than done, because it still comes down to convincing players to come to Buffalo, Beane enjoys several advantages in his recruiting pitch.
Buffalo, which endured a 17-season playoff drought that ended in 2017, is suddenly considered an NFL destination, with the Bills having won three consecutive AFC East titles, and made the postseason in each of the past four years. Another lure is the team featuring an elite quarterback in Josh Allen.
And it helps having a high-profile player such as Miller — the NFL’s active leader in sacks — always talking up the Bills and Buffalo to many of his colleagues.
Floyd acknowledged Miller’s sale pitch was so effective, he signed for less money with Buffalo than he could’ve attracted from other teams.
“It was simple. Shoot I want to win,” Floyd said following his first practice. “I’m examining teams and looking at the rosters, and the Bills had the best.”
Miller’s input, informing Floyd the Bills had a winning culture similar to that of the Rams in 2021, also played a factor for the eighth-year player who had combined for 29 sacks over three seasons with Los Angeles.
“Yeah, I definitely took it to heart,” the 30-year-old Floyd said. “Von was great in telling me that this place is great and ‘You’ve got to come.′ You know how Von is. I made it happen. We made it happen.”
Miller was elated by the addition, telling The Associated Press that Floyd’s signing lessens the urgency for him to rush his recovery after having surgery on his right knee in December.
“I still want to be available Week 1, but I don’t have that ‘Dang, if I don’t make it, I’m letting my team down,’ type of feeling,” Miller said. “We got guys that are going to be ready to go even if I’m not, like Floyd.”
Floyd is as eager to play a starting role, likely opposite Greg Rousseau for the interim, as he is for Miller to get back on the field.
“I plan on being the big dog until the big dog comes back and then we share it,” said Floyd, who struggled finding his niche during his first four seasons in Chicago. Selected with the ninth pick in the 2016 draft, Floyd had 18 1/2 sacks in four seasons with the Bears.
Rapp, who spent his first four NFL seasons with the Rams, is competing for the starting cornerback job opposite Tre’Davious White. Edwards, who had 45 starts in 53 games with Los Angeles, is competing for a starting guard spot. And Howard, who had just two starts in 29 games with the Rams, is competing for a backup role.
Miller appeared in just the final eight regular-season games and playoffs for the Rams in 2021 after being acquired in a mid-season trade with Denver. And yet, he said the short stint in L.A. capped by a 23-20 win over Cincinnati in the Super Bowl revitalized his career.
Now he wants the same thing to happen in Buffalo.
Listing off his former Rams teammates now with the Bills, the two-time Super Bowl winner joked he’s not yet done recruiting.
“Shoot. All we need is Aaron Donald, man,” Miller said, referring to the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
NOTES: Without disclosing the value of Floyd’s contract, Beane said his most recent addition will put the team between $3 million and $5 million over the salary cap, when taking into account potential bonus payouts. That means the Bills will have to either restructure existing contracts, or be creative when cutting players in establishing their 53-player roster. … The Bills on Wednesday added competition to their cornerback mix by signing Cameron Dantzler to a one-year contract. A 2020 third-round draft pick, Dantzler had three interceptions in 35 games — including 26 starts — with the Minnesota Vikings.
AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi contributed.
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