Today the Buffalo Bills announced they have released longtime starting cornerback Leodis McKelvin after eight seasons with the team. McKelvin's cap hit was to be around $4.9 million, which with the release of DE Mario Williams should give the Bills about $13 million in cap space that they will promptly blow on Antonio Cromartie.
McKelvin is an interesting free agent for teams to consider because the group of available corners is quite shallow. He has often been a frustrating figure for Bills fans, as the Bills have used him as a return man and he has a tendency to fumble at inopportune moments (as if there were an opportune time to fumble). He is an athletic freak with good size for a corner at 5'10" and 185 pounds. Even though he sat out the first seven games of last season with a broken ankle, he still racked up 32 tackles and 2 interceptions to go with the 13 picks he has for his career.
The emergence of Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore as bookend corners in Buffalo made McKelvin expendable there, but he is still good enough to be a solid slot corner for a team in need of secondary help. The Raiders happen to need secondary help, and McKelvin's potential low contract numbers would be palatable to a team looking to make a huge splash with some high-priced free agents.
An acquisition of McKelvin or another player like him would certainly not keep Oakland from signing a Sean Smith, Janoris Jenkins or Eric Weddle. What McKelvin does offer is a fairly low risk and high reward option to plug an important hole in the team and provide insurance in case things don't work out as we hope they do in free agency. McKelvin wasn't released because he can't play, he was released because his cap number was too high for a 30 year old third cornerback. However, to a team desperate for athletes in the secondary, that's not such a bad thing.