These are the remaining roster needs for the Buffalo Bills heading into April and with the NFL Draft at the end of the month.
The Buffalo Bills have been active in the offseason improving the roster on both sides of the ball. General manager Brandon Beane has spent the money wisely while preserving some for future moves. Beane has used both free agent signings and trades, but work is still to be done to make the roster whole.
As the first wave of free agency ends and the draft approaches it’s time to recap the moves and see where improvements can still be had.
Recap of Moves
Re-signed – Quinton Spain (G), Jason Croom (TE), Levi Wallace (CB), Isaiah McKenzie (WR), Dean Marlowe (S)
Free Agent Signings – E.J. Gaines (CB), Vernon Butler (1TDT), Mario Addison (DE), A.J. Klein (LB)*, Quinton Jefferson (3TDT), Josh Norman (CB), Tyler Matakevich (LB)*, Taiwan Jones (RB)*, Daryl Williams (G/T)
Acquired via trade – Stefon Diggs (WR)
*= Player is projected to contribute significantly on special teams
An argument can be made that defensive end is the biggest need. Mario Addison was signed to a three year deal, but is 33 years old so one can’t expect him to play out that contract. Star Jerry Hughes has just two years remaining on his deal, while fellow starter Trent Murphy is on the last year of his deal. While the Bills have young players in Mike Love and Darryl Johnson under control for the next few seasons neither were drafted high, so therefore if they don’t pan out nobody will be surprised.
While overall the roster doesn’t have a glaring need it will be imperative that Beane spends a high draft pick on a player that has the potential to turn into a quality starter in a couple of seasons. The roster allows that player to sit and learn, but soon the Bills will be in dire straits of depending on him. One of the biggest factors in winning games is the ability to consistently put pressure on the quarterback, so the Bills need to come out of this offseason with a long-term solution.
Calm down Bills fans we aren’t advocating the Bills look to replace Josh Allen. However, the front office should certainly look for an upgrade over Matt Barkley. Ideally, they would seek out a replacement that is mobile like Allen, so the offense doesn’t change should he need to takeover.
Barkley showed in his Week 17 performance against the Jets that he can’t be counted on to win enough games to keep the Bills in the playoff race should his name be called for multiple games. Should Barkley win the backup job in training camp then fine, but the Buffalo Bills need to bring in serious competition for that role.
Until the Bills know what position is best for Cody Ford they must continue searching for a right tackle. To this point, they have been noncommittal in giving Ford the job. The current competition for that spot in Ty Nsekhe and Daryl Williams are not guaranteed to be quality starters. Keeping Allen upright is of most importance, so the search must continue for a right tackle.
Overall, Stephen Hauschka had a disappointing 2019 season. To his credit, he did bounce back late in the season and finish strong. However, the past four seasons have all seen his season field goal made percentage drop. To go along with a dreadful 78.6% in 2019, Hauschka was only one of five from 50+ yards. Combine that with a measly 57.5% touchback rate on kickoffs and perhaps he is losing a once strong and dependable right leg. While kickers are hard to find, Beane should look far and wide for the next Bills kicker.
While the Bills have built a roster that should compete for a division crown they’ll need to find these replacements to have a complete roster. With seven draft picks and free agency still open time is on the Bills side to find these players before the 2020 season kicks off.