The Buffalo Bills axed two solid veteran players in linebacker Nick Barnett and strong safety George Wilson, and one of those two cap casualties has value to the Patriots if he decides to switch AFC East rivals. Wilson was a very surprising release by the Bills, and I can’t help but feel that the new “regime” botched this one.
Wilson was a captain on the Bills, and he was an NFLPA rep for the team. Not only that, but Wilson was graded by the Pro Football Focus as one of the top ten safeties in the NFL this past season. Even at the age of 32, Wilson is still one of the better coverage safeties in the league, and it’s rare to find a strong safety with his coverage ability. Wilson also provides some value in safety blitz packages, and his ability in run support is as solid as it gets. He goes the extra mile to make plays, and I still can’t believe the Bills cut him. I mean, they did save $2.9 million but that amount of money is quite good for a top ten safety.
His specific rating from PFF among all safeties in 2012 was 8th, which shows that George Wilson could be a big help to the New England Patriots. The Pats have a hole at strong safety with Patrick Chung set to leave via free agency, and the Pats won’t be re-signing him. It’s not that Chung is a bad player or anything, but it’s the fact that he can’t stay healthy and isn’t quite up to snuff in coverage. The man behind him, Steve Gregory, is a solid third safety, a good character guy, and can make an impact on special teams, but Gregory’s coverage is too much of a liability for him to be starting in this league. That’s why the San Diego Chargers always had him in a third safety role playing close to the line of scrimmage where he can make plays.
In George Wilson, the Patriots would fill an important need at strong safety, and they would be getting a leader and, quite frankly, an underrated player who will come cheaper than his on-field value dictates. Wilson is a great all-around safety who brings something to the table in every facet of play, and the Patriots need a veteran SS who can solidify this team’s deep coverage while also not sacrificing anything in run defense. His blitzing ability is just another bonus to boot.
I have no idea why the Bills released him, and there isn’t much that’s going to convince me it was the right move. I’m not saying the Patriots should just jump in and sign Wilson (they never do, and they will/should do their due diligence), but I am saying that I want the Patriots to take a very close look at George Wilson as a viable option for this team. He has consistently been a good strong safety in this league, and he meets all the requirements of what the Patriots should be looking for as a fit for them.
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