March 12th, 2013. I stroll through a mall in Omaha, Nebraska. It’s almost time start NFL free agency, and the Bills have a lot to address. I stare at my smart phone. Refresh…. nothing. Refresh again. Hmmmm, Buffalo released Ryan Fitzpatrick. Time to grab a hot pretzel. Alright, refresh once more. Nothing. No rumors of “meeting with players,” no buzz of hot free agents at the Buffalo airport; just the mourning of letting their former lackluster QB go. Okay. Deep breath. Nothing right out of the gate, but maybe the Bills will do something today. Will they grab a linebacker or two? How will they bolster their wide receivers? They’ve made no effort to resign Andy Levitre. How about signing some guards?
One week later: Yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick is gone (now a member of the Tennessee Titans). Andy Levitre signs with the Tennessee Titans. Fellow starting guard Chad Rinehart signs with the Chargers. The only addition at this point: former Bengals linebacker Manny Lawson.
After the Bills made a great effort last off season, and signed former top draft pick Mario Williams, I had a sense of optimism going into this off season. A hope that their aggressive effort was a trend that would continue. Yet, here were are. One week after free agency has opened up, with only one new addition.
Although I like the Lawson signing, there’s still a lot more this team needs to do. The holes at wide receiver are concerning. Did Buffalo make a play for Greg Jennings or maybe Wes Welker? If so, it wasn’t leaked to the media, like a Buddy Nix phone conversation. What about their gaping holes at guard? Maybe Bills fans just need to be patient. However, it’s hard to be patient when the Bills haven’t made the playoffs since 1999, had a winning season since 2003, or finished more than 2 games below .500 since 2008.
I’m going to operate under the assumption that Bills GM, Buddy Nix, and his staff know what their doing. They must have a master plan in mind. Maybe they will load up at the draft? Maybe there’s a wild card move we have yet to see. New England has had a typically strong off season. The Dolphins made a big splash signing Ellerbe and Wallace on day one. If the Bills don’t wake up soon, they may continue to sit in the AFC East basement.