ESPN’s Mike Rodak gives Buffalo Bills off-season an ‘above average’ rating

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Buffalo Bills had a busy off-season, but a good one. In a recent article, ESPN ranked their off-season among the best in the NFL.

In an article published Tuesday dubbed “Rating the offseason for all 32 NFL teams: Why the Browns are on top,” the ESPN NFL Nation crew looked over each NFL team’s off-season, with Mike Rodak acting as the Buffalo Bills’ judge. Now just weeks before his departure from the Bills Beat to Birmingham, Rodak praised general manager Brandon Beane’s valiant efforts to rebuild their roster.

Rodak gave the Bills’ off-season an “above average” rating, which placed the team second in the NFL, just behind the Cleveland Browns. His reasoning for the high grade stems from their offensive overhaul, chiefly done to support quarterback Josh Allen; as Rodak said:

"The Bills’ goal for the offseason was clear: Build the offense around quarterback Josh Allen.  — In total, the Bills signed 14 offensive free agents, drafted four offensive players and could have as many as seven new starters on that side of the ball."

Rodak then asks if Allen himself can step up alongside an improved supporting cast. He notes that Allen had his highs during his rookie year, but he was far too inconsistent; saying:

"Is Allen good enough for his revamped offensive cast to matter? — his overall shaky play as a rookie leaves unanswered whether he can rise up and lead the offense to the next level."

Rodak is right, Allen is a bit of an unknown. His ceiling is sky-high — like Hall of Fame high — but his floor is unequivocally low. Luckily, there are little indicators that his trajectory is downward, in fact, after an off-season that Rodak calls “above average,” it may be going up.

The Bills didn’t give Allen a true No. 1 receiver as the Browns did with Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr., but the culmination of their efforts may equal  Cleveland’s “Elite” off-season, tabbed by ESPN’s Jake Trotter.

The Bills, as Rodak noted, brought in 18 offensive players, seven of which figure to be day-one starters. Their offensive line is one of the most improved units in the NFL, led by Mitch Morse and Cody Ford. The same goes for their pass-catching corps, with John Brown, Cole Beasley, Tyler Kroft, and Dawson Knox in-fold. As for the running back group, LeSean McCoy is still around and now accompanied by playing HOF’er Frank Gore, T.J. Yeldon, and Devin Singletary.

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The Bills’ off-season isn’t highlighted by the addition of a superstar — it almost was — but it may have been one of the most complete by any team. Instead of going hunting for big names, Beane plugged holes all over the roster and opted for continuity in the locker room. Now heading into 2019, the Bills may be the most well-rounded they’ve been since the turn of the century.