It is now one month until teams can begin signing new free agents, and it cannot come soon enough for the Buffalo Bills. Free agency in football in many respects lag behind the other major sports in terms of the Big Splash Factor. Every once in awhile, something notable happens, but it is miles behind baseball and basketball in terms of stars congregating to a handful of important locations. Rookie contracts are cheap, thanks to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, and have a five year max with a much stricter slotting system for pay. General Managers know to extend players who are likely stars while they develop, keeping your homegrown talent local.
There are two different ways that a team can be competitive: drafting well or signing free agents. In football, more than any other sport, drafting well is crucial to long term success, because free agents do not come on the market until their mid 20’s at the earliest, and the good ones are not usually there until even later in their careers. Free agency is very expensive comparatively, and with a salary cap, it is often a luxury for one or two impact signings a year. When you are a small market team such as Buffalo, you have the rules in place to compete, but it is up to you to scout the talent and draft it. I need not mention to anyone who has followed the Bills that for them, it is far easier said than done. Falling short of this goal, the only alternative to field a winning team is free agency.