Bills add to depth, sign DE Mark Anderson

JOHN WAWROW AP Sports Writer Published:

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- First, Mario Williams. Now, Mark Anderson. The Buffalo Bills weren't kidding when suggesting how much they wanted to improve the pass rush this offseason.

Making their second significant free-agent splash in less than a week, the Bills on Wednesday signed Anderson to a four-year contract potentially worth $27 million. It includes $8 million guaranteed. The defensive end is a sixth-year player who had 10 sacks with the New England Patriots last season.

Terms of the deal were first reported by ESPN, and confirmed to The Associated Press by a person familiar with the deal. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team has not released the numbers.

Acquiring Anderson comes on the heels of last week's whopping move in which the Bills signed Williams to a six-year contract potentially worth $100 million, including $50 million guaranteed.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Bills also re-signed free-agent safety Bryan Scott. The nine-year versatile veteran, who can also play linebacker, returns for a sixth season in Buffalo.

Anderson's signing was the key move, coming a day after he arrived in Buffalo and had dinner with coaches and management at a downtown restaurant.

Selected in the fifth-round of the 2006 draft by Chicago, Anderson spent four-plus seasons with the Bears before finishing the 2010 season playing with Williams in Houston. Overall, he has 35 1/2 sacks in 93 career games, including 21 starts.

Anderson is expected to compete for a starting job with returning veterans Chris Kelsay and Dwan Edwards for the chance to play opposite Williams. The Bills are making the switch to a four-down-linemen, three-linebacker defense under newly promoted coordinator Dave Wannstedt.

And they're already set in the middle with tackles Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus. Kyle Williams is expected to be fully recovered after having surgery in November to repair a nagging foot injury. And Dareus is coming off a promising rookie season, during which the first-round draft pick led Buffalo with 5 1/2 sacks.

Add it up, and the Bills have one of the NFL's highest priced defensive fronts by having committed more than $186 million in new salary over the past year. That includes Kyle Williams signing a six-year, $39 million contract extension in August, and Dareus' four-year, $20.4 million rookie contract.

And it's a line that now stands to be the strength of what had been a young, patchwork defense last year in taking the brunt of the blame for a 6-10 finish, which included the Bills losing eight of their final nine games.

Buffalo ranked 30th in the NFL in allowing 434 points and 26th in allowing a franchise-worst 5,938 yards. They also managed 29 sacks -- 10 coming in one game -- to finish in a four-way tie for 27th.

Scott's decision to re-sign with Buffalo did not come as a surprise after the Bills previously indicated they would like him back. Listed at 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, Scott had two interceptions, one sack and recovered a fumble for a touchdown in 16 games, including seven starts, last season.

Selected by Atlanta in the second-round of the 2003 draft, the Penn State product spent his first three seasons with the Falcons and also played a year in New Orleans before signing with Buffalo in 2007.