The Buffalo Bills, led by Coach Sean McDermott have advanced to the playoffs in six of McDermott's seven seasons, five of those with quarterback Josh Allen. Unfortunately, all six playoff appearances ended with losses in either the divisional round or once in the AFC title game. We all know three of those six were at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs. With so many opportunities and failures, many believe the Bills' Super Window was slammed shut with this most recent postseason exit.
While I understand fans' negative opinions, particularly following another heartbreaking loss, I also know many fans will change their tune once free agency and the draft are completed. Undoubtedly, the team will resign pending free agents and probably bring in a few new faces from other team's free agents as well. All the new faces and additions will get some of the fans excited once more and looking forward to Week One of the 2024 NFL season.
Still, there will be those who simply refuse to allow themselves to have hope, believing that Coach McDermott is the problem. I've already seen the takes, "The Buffalo Bills will never win a Super Bowl under Coach McDermott." This is a very short-sighted opinion but regardless, the Bills are not moving on from McDermott, and thank goodness ownership has some sense. So, let it go folks, focus your energy on other things that will happen and what already exists that we can get excited about.
It's easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom of the moment but this Bills team has some excellent young talent. Yes, the salary cap situation appears daunting but it's really not that bad. A few restructures here and there, likely a few cap casualty cuts, and boom, the Bills have some money. Don't expect any splashing signings but I'd expect some solid role players, similar to what we saw last season.
As far as an excellent foundation of youthful talent, this team is loaded there as well. Aside from the obvious superstar we have in Josh Allen, we have some outstanding offensive weapons in Khalil Shakir, Dalton Kincaid, and James Cook. Shakir was the league's leading receiver in catch rate, Kincaid set all kinds of Bills records and Cook was top five in the league for all-purpose yards. The collective experience of these three players is only five years and the oldest of those three is 24. It doesn't stop there either, with O'Cyrus Torrence delivering a solid rookie season, he'll only get better as well.
Let me stay on the offensive side of the ball here. Take a look at the Bills offensive line, ranked sixth-best line in the league by Pro Football Focus at season's end. All five starters played all 17 games together and it's very likely the Bills bring the same five back next season. A full season together is huge for an offensive line.
Let's look at the defensive side. Things are not quite as optimistic but still have some terrific talent there too. For starters, Ed Oliver had the best season of his career and ranked fourth among defensive tackles with 9.5 sacks. Gregory Rousseau has some work to improve on his pass-rush skills but he proved to be a dominant run-defender all season. The Bills found a stud at middle linebacker with Terrel Bernard and excellent performances from Tyrel Dodson. Oh, and Matt Milano will return next season healthy and ready to rock. We also have Von Miller still, who is said to be regaining his explosiveness and should be 100 percent for the 2024 season.
In the secondary, the Bills will probably get Taylor Rapp resigned and have outstanding corners in both Rasul Douglas and Christian Benford. Kaiir Elam will return to training camp healthy from his ankle injury and will be ready to compete, as will former All-Pro Tre'Davious White. Yes, this team has a few areas of need, most notably at wide receiver, interior defensive line, and safety. But make no mistake, this organization does nothing short of striving every season to put a Super Bowl-contending team on the field. If this group can just stay healthy throughout the season and into the playoffs, the Super Bowl is attainable.