Graham was released by the Bills on Friday, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com reports. By parting ways with Graham, the Bills avoided avoid paying him a $500,000 roster bonus, which he would have received Monday. The Bills added Jordan Poyer (kidney) and Micah Hyde to their secondary Thursday, so they were able to let go of the 31-year-old Graham and free up a little over $4 million of cap space in the process. He posted 87 tackles, nine passes defensed, one interception and one fumble recovery through 16 games last season.
Graham, set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, posted 87 tackles, nine passes, defensed, one interception, and one fumble recovery in 2016. Graham has somehow stayed healthy his entire career, playing in every single regular season contest since the start of the 2008 season. He's also been consistent for the most part, so perhaps his 127-tackle season in 2015 is the anomaly, as the Bills were banged up in the front seven most of last year and a lot of tackles ended up in the secondary. In any matter, he'll have an entirely new situation next season even if he stays with his hometown team in Buffalo, as the Bills have a new coaching staff coming. We'll see if the new regime sees enough in Graham to keep him around, though we'll note that no matter what the team does with its UFA veterans, the early call has the Bills targeting a safety on one of the first two days of the 2017 draft.
Graham was all over the field during Sunday's win against the Cardinals, posting four tackles, a sack, three passes defensed, and an interception. Graham hasn't missed a defensive snap this season. While his tackle totals -- 11 through three games -- are disappointing, Sunday's game shows just what he can do. While he sits just tied for 21st among safeties in standard IDP scoring, he figures to keep working his way up in the coming weeks, perhaps starting this week against the Patriots, a team that always seems to keep the Buffalo defense on the field.
While the team ended up using a full rotation at strong safety during Sunday's loss at Baltimore, Graham was on the field for all 68 defensive snaps at free safety, BuffaloBills.com reports. Graham's three tackles and no other stats qualify as an IDP disappointment given the full playing time, but he was a big fantasy guy last season with 127 tackles and two picks and there's no reason to punt early because of one bad game. If anything, it's a good sign he's not likely to be involved in the rotation going on at the other safety spot.
Graham restructured his contract Thursday, BuffaloBills.com reports. Graham was a big IDP producer in 2015 with 127 tackles, four passes defensed, two fumble recoveries, two picks, and a touchdown. There was little chance the team was going to not have him return, but a more salary-friendly figure makes it more likely he'll stick with the Bills for the last two years of his four-year deal. As a starter entering Year 2 of a Rex Ryan defense, Graham should be a good IDP play again.