The focus for the Buffalo Bills this offseason needs to be on the offensive side of the ball as they got the coaching staff in place to maximize the talent on defense.
With the recent recognition the Buffalo Bills have deservingly given to Leslie Frazier, promoting him to Assistant Head Coach, stability becomes an asset of the Beane/McDermott administration.
Sean McDermott is still the Captain Kirk of the bridge, but now having his Spock in place only strengthening his cabinet. McDermott’s objective when he was assembling his coaching staff upon joining the Buffalo Bills was certainly to have a coach with head coaching experience on his staff since he was a first timer. With the two of them working so well together and equally important obtaining results on defense, the defense should always be a strength of this team.
Yes teams still need talent, athleticism, football intelligence, health, chemistry and work ethic on the player level who actually execute the schemes. That said, they may not be a top three ranked defense annually if talent fluctuates from season to season, but with those two on their game, even if talent is reduced, the team will still field a solid unit.
An example is New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who runs a tight ship and some years ranks really high in certain areas and other years ranks high in other areas. However, even when they are not top tier in a category, the Patriots still maintain a high level of competitiveness on a down year in a said category.
Where am I going with this? Even with leadership retiring in back to back years and potentially key contributors on the defense leaving as free agents, with the stability at the coaching level as well as many vital components already in place, the Bills should be extremely aggressive on offense both in free agency and the NFL Draft.
This is not to say the Bills should turn their head and ignore available talent at the edge rushing position. They have a significant amount of cap space but they do plan to keep some saved for future contracts down the road for some of their younger players. They do really appear to have a solid process that sticking to works out in the end.
The focus for the Buffalo Bills should be to go sign a big playmaking free agent receiver or even trade to obtain this huge need. If a trade comes with a huge contract, sometimes giving up a player or draft capital seems pricey enough. Then to pay a top tier player really becomes an expensive acquisition. Unless you trade away a huge salary to obtain that asset.
That does not always seem to be the process in the NFL.
The fact that until recently, fully guaranteed salaries was a thing in other major league sports, but not in the NFL. It is still the minority of contracts that are full proof for a player to maintain paychecks if they are cut. That has been an ownership advantage for the ages. Sign a big name player for record breaking money, sometimes heavy at the tail end, and cut them when they slightly decline, a replacement emerges, or a rebuild begins.
For the Buffalo Bills, they need to kick the tires on a player like A.J. Greens, Amari Cooper, Emmanuel Sanders, Robby Anderson, Randall Cobb, Breshad Perriman, Demarcus Robinson or several others not on the mainstream radar.
Bringing in a veteran potential number one wideout in addition to who they already added last offseason immediately improves Josh Allen’s growth and chances of a much higher scoring offense. However, signing a free agent should not stop the Buffalo Bills from drafting a high profile receiver with the depth in talent at that position.
The reasons for going in both directions, which usually is not the case, is so the rookie is not forced in to a role he may not be ready for. That could hurt the confidence of the rookie if he struggles and certainly can unintentionally lose the quarterback or coach’s trust in the rookie. The free agent can step right in and even make Allen appear more accurate because the experience and talent of a Cooper or Green can work in a couple different ways.
Potentially a number one stud receiver could leap up in air when covered well and still have the muscle, hands, will and vision to come down with the reception. If that is not the case, potentially they are not covered as tight because they have the burning speed or route running skills creating separation so Allen maybe does not have to throw the perfect ball because the wideout would have time or room to adjust to the ball. One of these receivers also only creates opportunity for Cole Beasley, John Brown, Isaiah McKenzie, Duke Williams as well as the several tight ends potentially on the roster.
The rookie that they would draft would be on a rookie deal. He could battle in training camp with no set plan or expectations. If he comes along on an average development path, he can contribute on special teams and fill in for injuries. If he comes in and blows the socks off of the coaches and becomes an instant threat at receiver, that is a positive problem to have. With injuries and other unexpected reasons players you depend on become unavailable, a third year quarterback can use as many go to reliable hands as possible.
With the amount of NFL level receivers in the draft, I would not rule out taking two receivers. However, that likely comes off the table if the Buffalo Bills sign a free agent wide receiver. But if you use the first pick on a receiver and then much later in the draft someone on your draft board unexpectedly is available, too much talent for Josh Allen to target is never a problem. I prefer the problem of Allen tossing 35 touchdowns and 300 plus yards a game and having to work through a problem of a certain receiver not thrilled with the amount of balls thrown their way due to it being spread around so much.
Sure, get an edge rusher, possibly keep Jordan Phillips or Shaq Lawson, even if it is only short term. Strategically fill in areas of need on the defense. However, the focus needs to be on the offense and the Buffalo Bills just need to load up. Running backs, offensive lineman, tight ends, receivers and even a long term solution at the backup quarterback position should be on the now offensively aggressive minded Brandon Beane’s radar.
Not only should an overhaul for the Buffalo Bills’ offense improve the team in the standings, it sure is more fun scoring points as a fan as opposed to shutting down the other teams hoping for a break to score points.