3 Ways the Buffalo Bills Should Upgrade Their Secondary

Nov 20, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Buffalo Bills free safety Corey Graham (20) against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bills won 16-12. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 20, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Buffalo Bills free safety Corey Graham (20) against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bills won 16-12. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

The Buffalo Bills’ secondary was a problem last season. This is how they should fix it.

The Buffalo Bills‘ secondary was a major problem throughout the season and on paper it looks like it will suffer another blow when the team announced they wouldn’t franchise tag cornerback Stephon Gilmore, making him a free agent.

Gilmore wants top-corner money and the Bills won’t give it to him. As a result, an already-uneven defensive backfield could lose its number one cornerback.

If the Buffalo Bills don’t view 2017 as ground zero for a rebuild, they need to address their secondary both in free agency and the draft. Here’s what they should do.

1. Sign AJ Bouye

The Texans declined to franchise tag their top corner, making him a free agent. Houston can re-sign him, but they’ll be in a bidding war with several other teams, including the Buffalo Bills.

Bouye impressed this year with 63 tackles, one sack and an interception. It’s debatable if he would be a flat-out upgrade over Gilmore (who was up-and-down last year), but he could at least provide good corner play opposite Ronald Darby.

The downside? You’re not getting him for a veteran’s minimum. A MMQB article quoted a personel chief from the AFC, who stated “Bouye will be the clear king of the class, assuming the guys we believe will be franchised actually are.”

If the Bills have the money to spend, they should make a bid for Bouye.

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2. Draft a Safety in the First Round

If the Buffalo Bills keep quarterback Tyrod Taylor, then this needs to be priority number one. If Buffalo truly plans to fix its defense quickly, they need immediate help at safety.

Aaron Williams may be leaning toward returning, but he’s coming off of two serious neck injuries in consecutive seasons. He’s a great player when healthy, but the Bills can’t count on him.

Getting an incredible player like Malik Hooker could be hard with the number ten pick, but in the chance they become available, Buffalo needs to draft them.

If that’s unavailable, take a shot at a player like Budda Baker or Obi Melifonwu. They may not be the level of Hooker, but could learn under Sean McDermott’s scheme.

The caveat is that the Bills need to avoid reaching. If they can’t get a quality safety with the number ten pick, then free agency would be a much better way to go.

3. Bring In Competition for Ronald Darby

Ronald Darby’s sophomore season wasn’t as bad as people thought, but there was an inconsistency that plagued him throughout. He could look over-matched against bigger receivers and struggled with basic tackling fundamentals at times.

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It might be second-year struggles, but the Buffalo  Bills need a contingency plan.

The great thing about this idea is that the solution can come from in-house. Kevon Seymour had a solid rookie year that should lead to an opportunity to win the starting corner job. He hasn’t had to step into a main corner role like Darby has yet, but putting that possibility on the table could make both men step up their game.

But if the Bills were to do that, they need to go out into free agency to sign a quality corner that could give Darby competition for the other cornerback spot. Earlier I mentioned Bouye, but there’s also names like Logan Ryan or Prince Amukamara would be good choices.

If the Buffalo Bills don’t want to break the piggy/buffalo bank, Brandon Carr or Nolan Caroll could be brought in for reasonable contracts. Either they supplant Darby by playing better, or Darby improves to keep his starting role and the Bills have quality depth behind him.

It’s a win-win.

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What do you think the Buffalo Bills should do with their secondary? Leave your comments below!