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Bills sign veteran trio of WR Chase Claypool, LB Deion Jones, DE Dawuane Smoot

As the dust from the 2024 NFL Draft settled this week, the Buffalo Bills scanned the classifieds for additional help.

They found a trio of interesting veterans, signing receiver Chase Claypool, linebacker Deion Jones and defensive end Dawuane Smoot to one-year deals Friday.

Claypool began his professional career with a bang, racking up 1,700 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns in his first two seasons for the Steelers as a second-round pick. Since then, he's failed to crack 900 total yards between 2022 and 2023, bouncing from Pittsburgh to Chicago, then to Miami, where he caught just four passes for 26 yards in nine games last season.

Claypool's descent into irrelevance -- falling from a player deemed worthy of a second-round pick in a trade to Chicago to an afterthought -- seemingly happened overnight, but he has a new chance to revive his career with Josh Allen's Bills. There might not be a better opportunity for a receiver like Claypool, who will join a team that drafted a receiver with the 33rd pick of the draft, signed Curtis Samuel, but also said goodbye to Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis during the offseason. He'll have a chance to compete for a job, but it will be up to Claypool to maximize the opportunity.

Jones, meanwhile, officially entered veteran mercenary status in 2022 when he was traded to Cleveland for a Day 3 draft pick and appeared in 11 games, recording 44 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He followed that up with a 13-game stint in Carolina, where he filled a rotational role before heading back to the open market in 2024.

As a former Pro Bowl linebacker, Jones earned his last two opportunities with his reputation. But at 29 years old, it's clear he's now viewed as a player worth giving a chance, but not a guarantee. He'll aim to land a roster spot with a Bills defense that could use some experienced help, especially as Matt Milano works his way back from a leg fracture and torn ACL suffered in Week 5 of the 2023 season.

Finally, Smoot lands somewhere in between the two. The 29-year-old defensive end had spent his entire seven-year career in Jacksonville as a rotational defender who started in 10 or more games just once (2021) and posted five or more sacks in each season from 2019-2022, but saw his production drop in 2023 before leaving the Jaguars.

He'll provide depth behind the likes of Gregory Rousseau, A.J. Epenesa and Von Miller for a defensive front that also welcomed rookie defensive tackle DeWayne Carter and edge Javon Solomon in the draft. Like Jones, Smoot will aim to secure a roster spot as an experienced defender capable of fulfilling his duties when called upon.

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