Major roster changes could be in store for next season


With plenty of players becoming free agents this offseason, there is a good chance the Buffalo Bills’ roster will look very different in 2017.

As the Buffalo Bills and Western New York gladly welcome new head coach Sean McDermott, he will need to get to work right away, because there will be a lot of roster decisions to be made. It’s a good thing he is a grinder and seems to welcome the task.

This is the list of the Bills free agents this off season. The Bills are rolling over almost $5 million in cap space for an estimated $30 million in cap space for 2017. There are 3-4 free agents (Stephon Gilmore, Robert Woods, Zach Brown, Lorenzo Alexander) who could be in for a significant pay raise. Here is a link to the cap situation and contracts.

There is a lot of money that is already potentially tied up. If the Bills re-signed just those 4 players I mentioned, it could take close to the $30 million they have in space. Then, factor in other positions that needed to be upgraded and add depth. Positions that need to be addressed are quarterback, wide receiver, defensive back, offensive line, linebacker, and defensive lineman. Between free agency, age and health the Bills also have to plan ahead.

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Should the Bills look at free agency to address those positions? Should they keep their own notable free agents? Robert Woods could command the $4 million to $8 million range depending on how the market works. Stephon Gilmore could command up to $15 million or possibly more.

Just like the stock market, you never know what could happen on the free agent market. Here is a list of the 2017 NFL Free Agents.

If the Bills were to re-sign Gilmore and Woods, it take up most of the Bills cap room. There’s also other free agents who had significant roles. Jerome Felton, Leger Douzable, Justin Hunter, Corbin Bryant all contributed this season. Free agency could leave the Bills having a very different roster debuting in 2017.

With the 10th overall pick in the NFL Draft, what position could the Bills address? If the Bills move on from Tyrod Taylor, could they take a shot at one of the top QBs? Whether or not they keep Taylor, the Bills could still take a QB somewhere in the draft. Here is a link to the top QB propects in the draft.

The same question poses for Stephon Gilmore. Could the Bills move on from Gilmore and look in the draft for a cornerback? With Aaron Williams’ situation unclear yet, could the Bills draft top safety prospect, Malik Hooker if he’s still available? Either way, the secondary needs to be addressed immediately.

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Whether or not the Bills keep Robert Woods, they still need to add to the WR position. Sammy Watkins is the only WR currently on the roster that will not be a free agent. Besides Woods, Percy Harvin, Justin Hunter, Brandon Tate, and Marquise Goodwin are all free agents. Woods and Hunter could have the best chance on staying in Buffalo, but nothing is certain.

Could the Bills take one of the top WRs to pair with Watkins? Could it be a Clemson duo if top WR prospect, Mike Williams is available? There are a lot of wide receiver prospects in the draft.

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Those are just some of the decisions Coach McDermott will face this off season. As a first time head coach it is unclear how he will evaluate the roster. The Bills will be evaluating the short term and long term future of this roster. It’s shaping up to be an interesting offseason that could bring significant change on the field next season.