BRAD SMITH, QB/RB/WR
The Bills signed the 27-year-old Smith away from the Jets while New York was distracted by its ultimately fruitless pursuit of sparkly free agent Nnamdi Asomugha. The four-year, $15 million contract Buffalo dangled certainly hastened Smith's decision, but he was also lured north by the chance to again be what he once was: a quarterback. "I've never, ever had the opportunity to throw so much since I've been in the NFL," says Smith, who at Missouri was the first Division I player to pass for 8,000 yards and run for 4,000 but as a Jet had attempted just seven throws in five seasons. "To actually work drills, talk through protections, footwork, reads—I've never had that as much as I've had here."
The Bills, of course, already have a starting quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick and a capable new backup in Tyler Thigpen, the former Dolphin and Chief, so coach Chan Gailey plans to use Smith in much the same way he used Kordell Stewart with the Steelers back in 1996, when Gailey was Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator. That year, Slash's second as a pro, he passed the ball 30 times, rushed 39 times, caught 17 passes and had eight touchdowns. "The difference is that Brad's got five years of experience," says Gailey. "I think Brad's able to handle a lot more in the first year of our Wildcat than Kordell [did in '96]."