RSS
 

NFL – Bills’ Free Agency Summary

27 Mar

Buffalo Bills’ general manager Brandon Beane, with plenty of salary cap money to spend, promised to be aggressive, while spending “judiciously”, in this year’s annual free agent frenzy period in the NFL. With 14 total signings so far, he has lived up to his word on both counts. The Bills’ strategy, as outlined by Beane and coach Sean McDermott, was to fill holes on the roster with enough free agent talent so as not to leave the team in a spot where they suffer from any  “positional emergencies” when draft times comes in April. As of this date, with some free agents still out there unsigned, Buffalo has inked a grand total of 14 new players. Here is a positional account of the players the Bills have corralled so far:

Running Back

The Bills are almost surely going to select a back somewhere on day 2 or 3 of the draft, so it was somewhat of a surprise when they signed 35 year old veteran Frank Gore to a contract. Gore, along with LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory, gave the Bills a geriatric running back stable by NFL standards, since all are over 30, until Ivory was released recently. Gore’s signing is mostly for his locker room presence and professionalism, but he is still a very capable runner.

 

Wide Receiver

The Bills caught a bit of lightning in a bottle late in the 2018 season with the emergence of Robert Foster and Isiah McKenzie, but their wide receiver room was still very thin. They grabbed a pair of veterans who will certainly help with Josh Allen’s progression in 2019 in John Brown, an underrated deep threat, and Cole Beasley, a top notch slot receiver. The team also swiped last season’s leading kick returner, Pro Bowler Andre Roberts, from the division rival New York Jets. He is basically a journeyman receiver, but his kick return ability shows that the Bills’ brass is serious about upgrading every phase of the team, including special teams, through free agency.

 

Offensive Line

The offensive line was clearly the unit in most need of an overhaul, and the Bills got an early start in that project when they signed center/guard Spencer Long after he was waived by the Jets in a salary cap move. Their prize fee agent, and a player I’m sure they expect to anchor the line for years to come, is center Mitch Morse, plucked away from the Kansas City Chiefs. He is a young veteran who will help Allen with the O-line calls. The rest of the offensive line signings could be viewed as depth players, but they all have untapped potential to grow into solid starters if they take advantage of the opportunities they will surely get. Due to the large number of players signed, the newcomers’ chances will range from becoming starters to not even making the final roster. The signees include guard Jon Feliciano from Oakland, who has worked with new line coach Bobby Johnson in the past, tackle LaAdrian Waddle from New England and tackle Ty Nsekhe from Washington, both of whom are immediate candidates to fight for the starting right tackle position. The Bills allowed three starters from last year’s line to walk away, so it was imperative that they add as many reinforcements as possible, and they did.

 

Tight End

After releasing Charles Clay and not re-signing Logan Thomas, the Bills had only one tight end, Jason Croom, on their roster, leaving another position group razor thin. They shored this group up by signing a pair of interesting prospects – Tyler Kroft, an oft-injured former Cincinnati Bengal who has shown promise in limited playing time, and a real project, Jake Fisher, also a former Bengal who is attempting to transition from tackle to tight end.

 

Cornerback

Although undrafted free agent Levi Wallace appeared to solidify the CB spot left open when Vontae Davis quit at halftime of a game last year, the Bills added a pair of veterans to compete with him for that spot and also much needed depth at the position. They are Kevin Johnson, a former first round draft choice of the Houston Texans, and E.J. Gaines, who returns to the club after playing last season for the Browns. Both have injury histories they will have to overcome in order to make the roster. It’s worth noting that when Gaines was with the Bills back in 2017, the team had an 8-3 record in the games he played in.

 

Linebacker

This appears to be strictly an addition to the special teams, but the Bills signed Maurice Alexander to a one year deal as a linebacker also. It should be remembered that Buffalo did the same thing a few years ago when they signed a player with the same name, Lorenzo Alexander, and he turned out to be much more than what they thought they were getting.

We’ll provide updates to this list if any other players are signed by the Bills as the free agency period continues.

 
No Comments

Posted in Football

 

Leave a Reply