BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Bills safety Da’Norris Searcy will test free agency next week to find out what he’s worth after proving himself as a full-time starter last season.
A person familiar with negotiations told The Associated Press of Searcy’s plans on Thursday. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because discussions between the Bills and the player have been private.
The two sides haven’t had contract talks since Buffalo made Searcy an offer two weeks ago, the person said.
Searcy’s decision does not come as a surprise after the fourth-year player took over the starting job in place of Jairus Byrd, who left Buffalo in free agency last spring. Searcy finished tied for second on the team with three interceptions in 15 games.
Overall, Buffalo’s 2011 fourth-round pick out of North Carolina, has four sacks, five interceptions and returned two turnovers for touchdowns in 62 games, including 23 starts.
Searcy’s asking price is expected to be too expensive for the Bills’ salary structure at the position. Last year, Buffalo signed strong safety Aaron Williams to a four-year, $26 million extension.
The Bills on Thursday exercised their exclusive rights by tendering offers to retain receivers Chris Hogan and Justin Brown and defensive tackle Corbin Bryant.
Hogan is the most notable player retained. He had 41 catches for 423 yards and four touchdowns last year, his second in Buffalo. The Bills claimed Brown off waivers last month, while Bryant has appeared in 31 games over the past two seasons for Buffalo.
Led by starting defensive end Jerry Hughes, the Bills have other players eligible to become free agents when the NFL’s signing period opens Tuesday.
The Bills have had talks in a bid to re-sign Hughes, who had 10 sacks for a second consecutive season. He was part of a defensive front that produced three Pro Bowl selections in tackles Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams and end Mario Williams.
Running back C.J. Spiller, a pending free agent, has already said he won’t be returning to Buffalo after the Bills agreed to acquire running back LeSean McCoy in a trade with Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Buffalo has also made an attempt to re-sign receiver and special teams leader Marcus Easley.
Linebacker Brandon Spikes’ future in Buffalo is uncertain after he completed his one-year contract.
The Bills’ defense, which finished fourth in the NFL in yards allowed last season, is undergoing several changes with Rex Ryan taking over as coach. The unit, under incoming defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, will be making the switch to a three-linemen, four-linebacker alignment.