The Buffalo Bills have announced their first signing of the free-agent period, adding Manny Lawson to their defense.

Lawson and Bills defensive end Mario Williams formed a magnificent pass-rushing tandem at North Carolina State and were first-round draft choices in 2006. The San Francisco 49ers selected Lawson 22nd overall.

Lawson played in the 4-3 the past two seasons with Cincinnati, but his best fit is as a 3-4 strong-side linebacker. He filled that role in San Francisco for three years, from 2007 to 2010.

Lawson is not a coverage guy, which is why he played only a third of the snaps last season for the Bengals. They played a lot of nickel defense, and he came off the field.

His signing is a further indication of the Bills' desire to have a 3-4 as a key element of their defensive scheme. He started 25 games for the Bengals. He didn't get a ton of chances as a pure pass rusher for them. He played under one-year contracts the past two years in Cincinnati.