The Buffalo Bills could definitely use Justin Hunter’s services next season and could be the right wide receiver to compliment Sammy Watkins.
The Buffalo Bills won’t make it out of this offseason alive if they don’t properly address the lack of depth at wide receiver. With just four wide receivers under contract next season — Sammy Watkins, Kolby Listenbee, Marcus Easley and Walter Powell — Buffalo will need to look into both the draft and free agency for help.
Of the 24 unrestricted free agents on the Bills’ roster this season — which now stands at 22 after re-signing Ramon Humber and Colt Anderson — five of them are wide receivers. Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, Percy Harvin, Brandon Tate and Justin Hunter could all suit up for different teams next season, if any at all.
In addition, Dezmin Lewis is an exclusive rights free agent, which basically means they have about two months to sign him until he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Of all those free agents, theres only one that really makes sense — Justin Hunter. He wasn’t given a ton of opportunity last season and never really had a solid chance to build any chemistry within the passing game. With the little we saw, the Buffalo Bills would be smart to bring him back for at least one more season to see what he’s truly capable of.
Plus, if the Bills decide to draft a wide receiver in the first round, the Bills would have a solid 1-2 punch for the opposing secondary to worry about — freeing up Hunter all over the field. That right there would give our quarterback, whether that’s Tyrod Taylor or someone else, three talented receivers to choose from.
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A lot happened last season and one of the main setbacks the Buffalo Bills endured were the injuries. Fortunately, those injuries were the only reason Justin Hunter came into town and it could’ve happened at the perfect time.
So far in his 4-year career, Justin Hunter hasn’t been given much of an opportunity to fully display his talents. In his three years with the Tennessee Titans — after being drafted in the second round — Hunter was only targeted a total of 141 times in 35 games. Making matters worse, he was overlooked on the roster due to other big names and the Titans were often dealing with quarterback issues.
After being signed off waivers by the Buffalo Bills, just days before the team suited up against the New England Patriots in Week 4, Justin Hunter was thrown into a mess. The signing came immediately after Sammy Watkins was placed on the IR for his foot and was supposed to help heal the loss of our top WR.
Unfortunately, opportunity was hard to come by once again for the young receiver. With injuries depleting the Bills’ season week by week, constant drama with the coaching staff and a front office that wasn’t sure the direction they wanted to go, the Bills lost focus on what they had — and that was a chance at seeing what Justin Hunter can bring to this team.
Hunter stands 6’4″ and was the team’s largest receiver last season. Not only does that give him an advantage over smaller defensive backs — which is most — but he couples it with great speed. This will make him very valuable when it comes to the deep ball. In addition, his leaping ability makes him a huge threat in the red-zone, something we saw a bit of last season.
In 12 games last year, Hunter finished with just 24 targets. He brought in 10 of them for 189 yards (18.9 avg.), but the impressive part was his 4 touchdowns. It’s a small sample size, but he scored a TD on 40% of his catches last season.
Chances are he won’t be asking for a lot of money this offseason, which should make signing him an easy decision. The Buffalo Bills really don’t have much to lose when it comes to wide receivers, they just need someone to step up.
Justin Hunter definitely stepped up when called upon last season and that should stand for something. Plus, the potential he has could turn him into a top-targeted receiver for the Bills, which would make Doug Whaley look good. Teams are always looking for that diamond in the rough and It’s possible the hunt could be over.
They just need to re-sign him first.