Pricing the market: Arthur Moats

February, 18, 2014
Feb 18
5:00
AM ET
With the free-agent signing period approaching, we'll take a closer look at each of the Buffalo Bills' free agents, finding the closest matches in last offseason's free-agent class:

Pending Bills free agent: Arthur Moats
Position: Linebacker
Experience: 4 seasons
2013 stats: 16 games played (12 starts), 54 tackles
2013 snaps: 25.6 percent (defense), 34.6 (special teams)

Last offseason's closest match: Akeem Jordan
Experience: 6 seasons (entering 2013)
2012 stats: 14 games (7 starts), 44 tackles, 2 forced fumbles (for Philadelphia)
2012 snaps: 31.5 percent (defense), 61.4 percent (special teams)
Signed with: Kansas City Chiefs
Contract: 1 year, $715,000 base salary, $10,000 signing bonus
Overview: Andy Reid brought Jordan along from the Eagles, where Jordan had been a fill-in starter since 2007. The deal -- which came at the veteran minimum, giving the Chiefs a slight cap credit -- paid off. Jordan started 10 games, notched 67 tackles and tied his career high with two forced fumbles.

Last offseason's second-closest match: Jonathan Casillas
Experience: 4 seasons (entering 2013)
2012 stats: 14 games (1 start), 31 tackles, 1 pass defensed (for New Orleans)
2012 snaps: 21.1 percent (defense), 59.9 percent (special teams)
Signed with: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Contract: 1 year, $1.1 million base salary, $150,000 roster bonus
Overview: The Buccaneers moved quickly to sign Casillas, who was a defensive role player and core special teams player for the Saints. He wound up starting four games in Tampa, recording 23 tackles, two passes defensed, and one forced fumble.

Verdict: Moats' value on the open market will depend on two factors: (1) How teams view his 12 starts last season, and (2) If teams consider him to be a core special teams player. Moats started 12 games but played in only a quarter of defensive snaps, which has been an increasing trend among "third" linebackers in the NFL. Since he wasn't part of the Bills' sub packages, Moats was relegated to a run-stopping role on early downs. Because of that, teams aren't likely to view Moats as anything more than a part-time player on defense, which could limit his next contract. It's also unlikely that teams value Moats' impact on special teams as highly as Casillas'.

Mike Rodak

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter

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