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Should the Bills Re-Sign Dane Jackson?



Another Buffalo Bills starter is hitting the free agent market. This time it’s CB Dane Jackson. Jackson is a former seventh round pick by the Bills in 2020. Since then, he became a consistent starter for Buffalo, especially after the loss of Tre White last season.

This year, he shared his starting role with Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford. Although he had a decent season, he wasn’t the best player in the secondary. Jackson allowed 542 yards and three TDs on 42 receptions (12.6 yards per reception). There were plenty of times where we saw Dane get beat by bigger physical receivers throughout the season, and it was most prominent against the Cleveland Browns and Amari Cooper. His inconsistent play gives Buffalo a big decision to make. Should they re-sign Dane Jackson or let him go elsewhere?

What the fans want

The majority of fans polled (53.5%) voted to let Dane walk and that may not be a terrible thing either, considering the depth at the CB position. With Tre White, Kaiir Elam, and Christian Benford as your top three corners, plus (possibly) another draft pick/FA signing, losing Dane wouldn’t hurt as much as it would other years. The Bills seem to find gems in late round/UDFA CBs (i.e. Dane Jackson, Christian Benford, and Levi Wallace), so we can’t put it past them to do the same thing this year.

On the other hand, if the Bills move Benford to safety, as Sean McDermott mentioned at his end of season press conference, they may open up the checkbook.

Restricted Free Agency

Jackson will be a Restricted Free Agent (RFA). This means, if Buffalo assigns him an RFA tender, they will have the ability to match any contract offer he receives on the open market. (Think Ryan Bates last year.) The Bills can place a qualifying tender on Jackson, and if they lose him in Free Agency get a compensatory draft pick back.

There are three RFA tender levels:

  1. First Round Tender: $6M
  2. Second Round Tender: $4.3M
  3. Right of First Refusal (Original Round): $2.6M

The top two tenders are self-explanatory. If another team signs a Bills RFA with the first or second round tender, Buffalo would get their first or second round pick (respectively). Meanwhile, the right to first refusal tender gives Buffalo the right to match any offer sheet signed with another team, but they would only receive a draft pick from whichever round the player was originally selected. While that is the cheapest tender, it means the Bills would only receive a seventh round pick if Dane signs elsewhere.

Other Free Agent CBs

Cam Lewis is another RFA in the Bills CB room. (He also split time at safety this year.) Lewis, a former UDFA out of the University of Buffalo, finally cracked the 53-man roster this year – his fourth in the league. If given an original round tender, the Bills would get no draft compensation for Lewis.

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