With the deadline to tender exclusive rights and restricted free agents coming Thursday afternoon, the Buffalo Bills extended qualifying offers to some of their more notable contributors on that list. Restricted free agents Keith Ellison and George Wilson as well as exclusive rights free agent Fred Jackson were all tendered.
Buffalo also extended tenders to seven other exclusive rights players. They were QB Matt Baker, DE Copeland Bryan, LB Blake Costanzo, RB Bruce Hall, long snapper Ryan Neill, TE Derek Schouman and TE Jonathan Stupar.
By extending a qualifying tender to Ellison and Wilson, the Bills maintain the right of first refusal should another team present the linebacker or safety with an offer sheet. Buffalo would have seven days to match the offer or receive a sixth-round draft pick as compensation for Ellison. There would be no compensation for Wilson since he was undrafted.
It's believed that the Bills could explore signing Jackson to a long term agreement after a strong season as the complement to feature back Marshawn Lynch. The tender acts as a measure to maintain exclusive negotiating rights with the running back.
The Bills also re-signed third quarterback Gibran Hamdan and defensive back Dustin Fox to new contracts. They too were restricted free agents, but both were re-signed just prior to the tender deadline. Buffalo had already done the same with restricted free agents John DiGiorgio and Justin Jenkins effectively taking them off the market.