The Buffalo Bills may be planning more major moves to help the defense, a new report suggests.
After a busy start to free agency with a focus on retaining key players like Matt Milano, the Bills have taken a quieter approach in recent weeks, adding depth to key positions and signing players who may not make it beyond training camp. But Bleacher Report suggests that the Bills could still have a big signing in them, with a high-profile player in their sights.
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Bills Snag Former Top Pick
The report, which identified potential free agency pickups for all 32 NFL teams, suggested that the Bills could target Jadeveon Clowney to make up for the loss of defensive ends Trent Murphy and Quinton Jefferson. The report suggested that the Bills could snag the former No. 1 overall pick on a multi-year deal and build an edge-rushing core alongside 2020 draft pick A.J. Epenesa.
“Jadeveon Clowney represents the best chance for this squad to add a younger, disruptive force on the defensive line for the 2021 season. The 28-year-old should still have plenty left in the tank despite amassing just three sacks over his last 21 games with the Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks.”
As the report suggested, cost would be an issue for the Bills. The team has close to $5 million in cap space remaining, and Clowney is projected to secure a contract worth around $6.5 million per year. That would mean either freeing up cap space elsewhere or convincing Clowney to come to Buffalo on a below-market deal. The Bills have already been able to convince some of their under-contract players to take pay cuts, and were able to convince new backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky to forsake bigger offers in order to pick Buffalo.
Bills Praised for Free Agency Approach
While it’s not clear if Clowney or any other big-name target could be coming to Buffalo this offseason, the Bills have already gotten good marks for their free agency approach. As BuffaloBills.com noted, analysts have handed mostly B-plus and A grades for the Bills in their acquisitions, with especially high marks for keeping onto some key players.
Mike Tanier of Pro Football Network handed the team a B-plus for free agency, noting that the Bills were able to make a number of key signings like Emmanuel Sanders while maintaining a largely low-key approach.
“The Bills’ best moves didn’t make big headlines,” he wrote. “Extending in-house starters like linebacker Matt Milano and offensive linemen Daryl Williams and Jon Feliciano should help the Bills remain atop the AFC East standings. Sanders brings more to the table than the oft-injured Brown. And Trubisky instantly goes from one of the NFL’s worst starters to one of its best backups.”
The Bills will have other priorities this offseason beyond free agency. General manager Brandon Beane said the team plans to start contract extension talks with Josh Allen and his camp sometime after the NFL Draft has concluded, with the team intent on locking him down for the long term following a season in which he set a number of team records and led Buffalo to the AFC Championship game.