ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills' new defensive scheme is starting to take shape after the team made two key additions in free agency Tuesday.
First, the Bills bolstered their linebackers by signing eight-year NFL veteran Andra Davis to a two-year contract. Then, defensive end Dwan Edwards agreed to a four-year contract worth potentially close to $18 million with the Bills, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press early Wednesday morning.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Bills have not announced the deal.
The moves came after both Davis and Edwards visited the team's headquarters on Tuesday. And their additions have the potential of improving a defense that's making the switch to the 3-4 scheme under first-year coach Chan Gailey, who takes over after Dick Jauron was fired in November.
Both players have played in the 3-4 system, which features three linemen and four linebackers.
Davis, listed at 6-foot-1 and 250 pounds, will compete with returning veterans Paul Posluszny and Kawika Mitchell for one of two inside linebacker positions.
Edwards, listed at 6-foot-3 and 290 pounds, will compete for a starting defensive end job. He's a six-year NFL veteran, who played his entire career with Baltimore.
Edwards missed the 2008 season with a spinal cord injury before bouncing back last year to register 56 tackles and two sacks in 18 games, including playoffs.
His visit to Buffalo included a physical, which was conducted by team doctor Andrew Cappuccino, who played a key role in helping Bills tight end Kevin Everett recover from a severe spinal cord injury in 2007.
For Davis, he wasted little time in free agency, signing with the Bills five days after he was released by the Denver Broncos. Terms of Davis' contract were not disclosed.
"Very excited. I'm glad this process if over with," Davis said. "I feel good, man, just ready to go."
He had 90 tackles and a career-best 3½ sacks last year, his only season in Denver.
Rather than questioning why he was released by the Broncos, Davis preferred looking ahead.
"I know I did my best in Denver and can look myself in the mirror knowing that," Davis said. "I know I have a lot left in my tank."
He spent his first seven seasons with Cleveland, the last six as a starter after the Browns selected him in the fifth round of the 2002 draft out of Florida. Davis has 12 sacks in 96 starts and appeared in 121 career games
In Buffalo, Davis is reunited with new Bills defensive coordinator George Edwards, who served as the Browns linebackers coach in 2004.
Davis credited Edwards' presence as a key reason he signed with the Bills.
"He was a huge factor. Not only do I know him, but he knows me and the type of player I am," Davis said.
Both additions provide the Bills insurance if Aaron Schobel elects to retire this offseason. Schobel, a defensive end who could play linebacker, has not made up his mind on whether to return for a 10th season.