Hypothetical: What if the Buffalo Bills actually traded for Antonio Brown?
By Avery Duncan
With Brown solving the Bills No. 1 wide receiver question — in this hypothetical — free agency looks a bit different. However, it wouldn’t likely lead to a drastic change; the Bills had other holes to fill in free agency, which they did do, and they can still do so here. But, with $15 million less in cap space, sacrifices have to be made.
The first (and only) change comes to the receiving group. Buffalo signed Cole Beasley and John Brown to shore up the position; a $14.4 combined cap hit for 2019, per Over The Cap. Ideally, one would remain signed with Brown playing adjacent Zay Jones and Robert Foster. Beasley should be that one, his prowess as a slot receiver is more of a need than John Brown’s as a speedster alongside AB.
With Antonio Brown and Beasley on-board, the Bills have about $54.1 million to work with. I estimate that they’d make the same moves.
Center Mitch Morse would still sign a historically massive contract; Tyler Kroft would be added to be a true move tight end; Ty Nsekhe, Spencer Long, Quinton Spain, and La’Adrian Waddle would be added to help cure their prior blocking woes; Kevin Johnson and E.J. Gaines add depth; Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon join to form an enticing committee; Andre Roberts comes to help as a returner.
The culmination of the exact same signings, save for John Brown, is about $18.7 million available cap space pre-draft. Still enough to work with, but not enough to get a star, considering they’d still have to spend money on their draft class. Therefore, we move onto the draft, with only one significant difference occurring in free agency — the swap of John for Antonio Brown.