This offseason is a little different for the Buffalo Bills in terms of their own free agents and who they might want to bring back. Last year’s group included players like Matt Milano, who was one of the top coverage linebackers in the NFL, and Daryl Williams, who had an excellent season at right tackle in 2020 for this team.
This year, the players set to be free agents include older veterans like Mario Addison, Jerry Hughes, and Emmanuel Sanders that could be good to bring back but aren’t necessarily crucial. There may not be that one player that is a must-sign for Buffalo that if they were to leave would be a major loss but there are players that they will likely try to re-sign if the numbers align.
Is Levi Wallace the one free agent the Buffalo Bills can’t afford to lose?
Recently, Pro Football Focus put together a list of the one free agent that each NFL team can’t afford to lose, and for the Buffalo Bills they selected Levi Wallace.
"The Bills lost star cornerback Tre’Davious White for the season with a torn ACL in Week 12, and Wallace played a big part in their defense maintaining a high level of play down the stretch, earning a 68.5 coverage grade on 993 snaps. Wallace has played at least 400 snaps in every season since signing as an undrafted free agent (UDFA) in 2018 and has never earned a grade below 60.0 — a strong floor at a volatile position like outside cornerback."
Levi Wallace has been a big part of this Bills’ secondary since joining the team as an undrafted free agent. As Brad Spielberger notes he has been a steady contributor opposite Tre’Davious White during that time and saw his role expand even more once Buffalo lost Tre’Davious White midway through the season.
The Buffalo Bills would certainly benefit from Wallace returning but in terms of priorities for this team in the offseason, I would have defensive tackle Harrison Phillips slightly ahead of Wallace as must-sign free agents.
The Bills have shown with their defensive scheme that they can find key contributors at cornerback late in the NFL Draft or as undrafted free agents. When considering the Bills already have Tre’Davious White locked in on a big contract it might not make sense to sign Wallace to a new contract when they have players like Dane Jackson, who could step in as a starter or even find a replacement in the NFL Draft.
Meanwhile, the defensive tackle position could be a bigger need this offseason with Vernon Butler and Justin Zimmer free agents along with Phillips. They also will need to decide if Star Lotulelei will be a part of this team moving forward. When considering all the potential changes, Harrison Phillips is probably the one player the Buffalo Bills must re-sign this offseason.