Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane suggested that the team would be looking to make upgrades in the tight end corps, and one NFL analyst believes it could come in the form of a wild draft-day trade.
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell came up with a list of potential first-round trades for all 32 NFL teams, and has the Bills involved in one of the most complicated deals. The trade would see the Bills parting ways with a second-round pick and one of their most inconsistent tight ends in exchange for a more experienced — and accomplished — pass catcher.
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Bills Add Controversial 2020 Pro Bowler in Proposed Deal
In the proposed deal, Barwell speculated that the Bills would be the third team in a swap between the New York Giants and Detroit Lions. The biggest move would be the Giants moving up from the No. 11 overall pick to the No. 7 selection. The Bills come in by sending promising but inconsistent tight end Dawson Knox and their second-round pick (No. 61 overall) to the Lions, and receiving tight end Evan Engram from the Giants and a fifth-round pick (No. 153 overall) from Detroit.
Engram, who has been named as a potential salary cap casualty for the Giants this offseason, made his first Pro Bowl last season with a 63-catch, 654-yard and one touchdown performance. The decision was met with plenty of pushback from NFL Twitter after players with more impressive stat lines, such as Robert Tonyan’s 11 touchdowns for Green Bay, were snubbed.
As Barnwell wrote, the deal would give the Bills the big pass-catcher they currently lack. Though the team had one of the league’s best passing attacks in 2020, the tight ends struggled with the trio of Tyler Kroft, Lee Smith and Knox combining for 442 yards and eight touchdowns.
“The Lions don’t really need Engram, who is a pending free agent after the season. One team that does want a receiving threat at tight end, though, is Buffalo, where Knox has been inconsistent as the primary option,” Barnwell wrote. “Upgrading to Engram gives the Bills an athletic difference-maker over the middle of the field, which might be the last missing piece of their offense. If Engram doesn’t work out, the Bills would still be in line to get back a compensatory pick for the 2017 first-rounder in free agency.”
Bills Vow to Upgrade Tight End Position
Whether the Bills pull off Barnwell’s complicated trade proposal, it’s clear that the team plans to make more upgrades at the tight end position. Buffalo has already brought in free agent Jacob Hollister, Josh Allen‘s former college teammate, and Beane suggested that there could be other upgrades this offseason. After the Bills fell to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game, a contest in which Travis Kelce gashed the Bills defense, Beane said Buffalo needed a similar threat.
“At the end of the day, we’d love to have a guy like what we just faced in Kansas City — they don’t come very often. But that’s what we want,” Beane said, via ESPN. “We’ve got some guys here we want to continue to develop and see what happens. Obviously, if there’s ways to add competition, whether that’s in free agency or the draft, we would do that, as well.”
Beane on TE Tommy Sweeney's health: He's passed his cardiologist visit and is here working out. He has a couple of follow up visits. We anticipate having him full go. #Bills
— Chris Brown (@ChrisBrownBills) April 20, 2021
More help could be on the way, too. Some mock drafts have the Bills selecting a tight end at some point in the draft, and Beane said this week that the team is expected to get 2019 seventh-rounder Tommy Sweeney back after he missed the entire 2020 season due to COVID-19 complications.