The Buffalo Bills could be potentially looking to replace a big part of their defense this offseason with Tremaine Edmunds set to be a free agent. He became the team’s starting middle linebacker almost immediately after they selected him 16th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft and has been in that role for the past five seasons.
Over that time period, Edmunds has been good (earning two Pro Bowl nominations) and surpassing 100 total tackles every season. However, it always seemed like there could be more there and he didn’t reach that full potential.
Now as he enters free agency, it is expected there will be a number of teams that still believe he can reach that full potential and he has the chance to end up being one of the highest-paid players at his position. When considering the Buffalo Bills current cap situation, it seems unlikely they could match a contract like that this offseason.
Buffalo Bills should be calling the Carolina Panthers about Shaq Thompson
The Buffalo Bills defense could be going through some significant changes this offseason as Edmunds, as well as Jordan Poyer, could be on their way to new teams in 2023. On top of that, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier has stepped away for the upcoming season and it remains to be seen who is going to call the defensive plays.
One logical choice would be Sean McDermott, who was defensive coordinator for six seasons with the Carolina Panthers. In two of those seasons, he had Shaq Thompson at linebacker alongside Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis.
While Shaq Thompson never reached the level of Pro Bowl or All-Pro he was a consistent presence in the years after McDermott left. He has had four straight seasons with 100 total tackles along with 17 passes defended and five sacks during that stretch. Prior to entering the NFL, Thompson played safety and certainly has the coverage ability needed to play linebacker in Sean McDermott’s defense.
He is entering the final year of his current contract and while the cap hit is $24 million, the Buffalo Bills could potentially work out a new deal that keeps Thompson in Buffalo as well as spread out the current cap hit over future years. It might also make sense for the Carolina Panthers to look to trade Thompson now if they believe they can’t reach a new deal as it would create about $13 million in cap space.
If the Buffalo Bills want to find an experienced linebacker who knows Sean McDermott’s defense to replace Tremaine Edmunds, there best option could end up being Shaq Thompson.