Buffalo Bills Rumors: Ray Rice Free Agent Option For Rex Ryan? Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel, Tyrod Taylor Compete To Start

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Jun 01, 2015 03:57 PM EDT
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Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (27) is stopped by Buffalo Bills defensive back Jim Leonhard (35) during the fourth quarter at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York, Sunday, September 29, 2013. The Bills won, 23-20. "

The Buffalo Bills deny that they are interested in running back Ray Rice after reports came out that the team could sign the free agent and this comes as Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor are expected to battle in OTA workouts and training camp to start for head coach Rex Ryan at quarterback.

The Bills are coming into the summer with a battle at quarterback, as Cassel and Manuel are expected to compete and Ryan has pushed Taylor into the mix as well. According to the NY Post, Taylor is going to get a real shot at competing for the job this offseason, but to start things he is behind Cassel and Manuel in the competition. Cassel was acquired in the offseason in a trade, while Manuel has been a disappointment since being a first round pick for former coach Doug Marrone.

The Bills have LeSean McCoy after he was acquired from the Eagles and he clearly will be the starter with Fred Jackson and Anthony Dixon behind him. According to Mike Rodak from ESPN, the Bills are "not interested" in signing Ray Rice to a contract. Sports Illustrated reported earlier in the weekend that Rice was a target for the team, as Ryan "thinks the world" of Rice from his time in Baltimore.

The Bills are coming into OTA workouts and camp without an official starter, but NFL.com writes that Cassel has the inside edge to start. NFL.com reports that Cassel, Manuel and Taylor are all getting first team reps at minicamps coming up and moving into training camp Ryan could limit the competition. Manuel has reportedly bulked up this offseason and he is hoping to play more consistently after completing just 58 percent of his passes in his first two seasons.

Manuel and Taylor will get looks from Ryan, but after Cassel was acquired in a trade, there is a chance that he will get the chance to start first even if he struggles a bit. Taylor was with the ravens behind Joe Flacco and Manuel was given the chance to play in five games in 2014 after playing in 10 the season before. Manuel has 16 touchdowns and 12 picks in two seasons with the Bills.

The NFLPA has accused the league of "blackballing" Rice and this is one of the first reports that a team could be interested in signing him. Rice is a bad PR move for any team, as his video of him striking his wife in an elevator has been played countless times on TV over the past year. While players like Greg Hardy and Ray McDonald have gotten second chances (with McDonald's short-lived), Rice has not been given a chance to get with another team.

The non-interest in Rice is likely due to his age and talent level balanced with the terrible PR that the move would be. Hardy gives the Cowboys a strong pass rusher, while McDonald is a younger player than Rice and the position he plays also is part of it. Rice is at the age when most running backs break down and with him having a terrible season the year before he punched his wife in an elevator, most teams do not see his talent level as worthy of the bad PR.

Check here for more on Rice and the QB battle in Buffalo.

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