One of the biggest offseason signings for the Buffalo Bills may have a mistake, a new analysis shows.
The team brought back one of the key pieces of the defense in Matt Milano, who was given a four-year extension that will lock him down through 2024. While the move earned the Bills some praise, it has since come under scrutiny from Pro Football Focus, which published an analysis finding that the money given to Milano may not have been well-spent.
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Milano Comes Back
Just ahead of the start of free agency, Bills general manager Brandon Beane announced that Milano had earned the right to test the market and take the biggest deal he could find. But Beane also made it clear that the team wanted their athletic linebacker to return for 2021 and beyond.
“We’d love to be able to get Matt [Milano] back,” Beane said in January, via BuffaloBills.com. “He knows that. I shared that with him and I’m sure Sean [McDermott] has as well. The business side matters.
“He wants to and he’s earned the right to go to free agency and see what his market bears. We’ll do our best to retain him and as many guys as we can.”
— TheBillsWire (@TheBillsWire) March 28, 2021
But after the Bills finalized a 4-year, $44 million deal to bring Milano back, one analysis outlet said the money would have been better spent elsewhere. Pro Football Focus said signing Milano was their “least favorite” move by the Bills this offseason, saying there were more important positions to address and noting that Milano has been inconsistent in his play.
Milano has been somewhat inconsistent, but he’s looked like one of the top coverage linebackers in the league at times. Back in 2018 and 2019, he ranked 14th and fourth, respectively, in coverage grade. At the same time, Milano posted sub-60.0 grades against the run, in coverage and as a tackler in 2020, leading him to rank 37th in PFF WAR at the position last season.
Bills Address Other Needs
Even with the big-ticket re-signing of Milano, the Bills have been able to address other pressing needs this offseason. That includes deals to address some recent departures, like the signing of former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders after losing deep threat John Brown to free agency.
The Bills have also found some value in many of the moves. Beane was able to bring in former No. 2 overall pick Mitch Trubisky to serve as Josh Allen’s backup, getting him to sign a team-friendly deal for one year and $2.5 million. At the time, Beane said he was able to sell Trubisky and his camp on his ability to improve under the Bills coaching staff.
11 things to know about new Bills QB Mitchell Trubiskyhttps://t.co/lWxxnblFqX
— TheBillsWire (@TheBillsWire) March 22, 2021
“What we sold to him and his agent is, ‘Just come here for a reboot. Work with Josh Allen and our other quarterbacks, Jake Fromm (and) Davis Webb, (offensive coordinator) Brian Daboll and (quarterbacks coach) Ken Dorsey,” Beane said in an interview on SiriusXM NFL radio. “Come here, have a reset year and just be a part of what we’re doing here.”