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The Buffalo Bills have officially opened OTAs in Orchard Park, NY. With the NFL Draft less than two weeks away, there remains several positions that are in need of augmentation. With that in mind, general manager Brandon Beane decided to address two such areas on Monday morning.

The Bills announced the signings of veterans, Jeremy Kerley and Tenny Palepoi to one-year deals via the team’s Twitter account:

Contract values are yet to be disclosed for either player, but are expected to be in the veteran minimum range.

The one-year signings of both Kerley and Palepoi exhibit a clear pattern that Bills brass are following; sign veteran depth for lower value, shorter-term deals, and continue to add to the team’s young core via the NFL Draft.

Truth be told, Beane has inherited a dog’s breakfast of a salary cap situation chiefly architected by his predecessor, Doug Whaley. The stifling dead money cap hits of the recently jettisoned Marcell Dareus and Cordy Glenn have all but forced he and the Bills to go this route.

Kerley Adds Experience, Sketchiness, and Versatility

Kerley is heading into his eighth NFL season after being selected by the New York Jets in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. There he spent the first five years of his professional career, upon being released by the team in March of 2016. Kerley was then quickly scooped up by Detroit Lions, only to be traded to the San Francisco 49ers a mere five months later.

It was in his first season with the Niners that the TCU product enjoyed his best statistical year, hauling in 64 passes for 667 yards and three touchdowns. As a result, Kerley re-signed with San Francisco to the tune of a three-year, $10.5 million deal. The only problem is that newly appointed general manager, John Lynch had a change of heart and decided to release Kerley prior to the start of the 2017 season.

Kerley and his increasingly busy agent quickly pivoted and turned their attention back to a reunion with the Jets on a one-year deal. Unfortunately, Kerley’s return was turbulent at best, as he was released in mid-Dec., following a four-game PED suspension incurred the preceding month. When probed by the New York Post on how the PEDs got into Kerley’s system, the receiver responded with an alarming, “I don’t know. There’s a lot of ghosts around here. Maybe a ghost put it in me. You know the Ghost of Christmas Past? A ghost might have put it in me. I don’t know.”

At 29 years of age, Kerley is a tad long in the tooth for an NFL wide receiver. However, he has shown flashes of production in the not so distant past. Standing at 5’9” and equipped with impressive shiftiness and a solid pair of hands, Kerley would realistically pencil in as the Bills’ slot receiver should the season start today. In addition, he has the versatility to help out in the kick and punt return game.

Palepoi Reunites With His Boy

Unlike Kerley, Palepoi has had a relatively unproductive three-year NFL career. Coming off two strong seasons at Utah, the 6’1″, 298-pound defensive lineman was an undrafted free agent signing by the (then) San Diego Chargers in 2014. Since then, Palepoi has exclusively come off the bench, registering 53 combined tackles as well as a single sack in 44 total games.

Much like Kerley, Palepoi was also suspended four games for PED usage in 2016. Unlike Kerley, the Chargers saw enough in Palepoi to re-sign him to a one-year contract in March of 2017.

Palepoi is now reunited with former college teammate, Star Lotulelei, whom the Bills signed to a five-year mega contract on March 13. The 27-year-old Palepoi is known to possess a quick first step as well as being a punishing tackler. The concern is that he is undersized, possesses inferior arm extension and routinely displays the inability to shed opposing blocks.

Knowing the potential synergies between Palepoi and Lotulelei, as well as the lack of depth behind Lotulelei, as well as incumbents, Kyle Williams and Adolphus Washington, adding Palepoi seems like a low risk, material reward move. With a surplus of draft capital and a insatiable need for a franchise quarterback, the move further lends credence to a potential draft day deal on April 26th.

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