The Buffalo Bills are locked and loaded in most areas of their roster heading into the 2021 regular season.
Josh Allen is one of the brightest young star quarterbacks in the league and has a capable backup in Mitchell Trubisky. The wide receiver group of Stefon Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders, Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis and Isaiah McKenzie among others could stack up with many of the other NFL elites.
Buoyed by guys like Dion Dawkins and Daryl Williams, the offensive line is a strength, as is the linebacking corps, secondary and special teams unit. There are still a few areas where the Super Bowl LVI contenders could improve though, and Bleacher Report’s Joe Tansey wrote about three current free agents who could help, and who the Bills “must pursue” heading into the season.
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“Buffalo’s positions of concern are running back, tight end and defensive end. The Bills have players in all three spots that could eliminate those questions early in the season,” Tansey wrote. “The Bills have to be ready to act if any of those players fail to live up to expectations, especially in a season where the team’s overall outlook is sky high.”
The first item Tansey says that the Bills could address is their running back situation. Enter 2015 Pro Bowler Latavius Murray, who was released by the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday.
“Buffalo will enter the regular season with two young running backs in Zack Moss and Devin Singletary and veteran Matt Breida backing them up,” Tansey wrote. “Singletary and Moss split time as the primary running back in 2020, but there is a chance neither player grabs hold of the role. … If a running back by committee is used, the Bills could call on Murray to take on valuable touches in the red zone.”
Murray is 31 years old, but has been both durable – playing in at least 14 games in all seven of his NFL seasons – and effective, averaging 4.2 yards per carry and scoring 43 touchdowns in his career.
Geno Atkins Has Made 8 Pro Bowls, 2 All-Pro First Teams
On the defensive line, Tansey sees eight-time Pro Bowl and two-time first-team All-Pro Geno Atkins as a potential fit.
The career-long Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle was cut by the team in March and has yet to find another home. At 33, Atkins is another veteran who is past his prime, but with 384 tackles, 172 quarterback hits and 75.5 sacks, he could bring a lot to Western New York.
“The Bills added edge-rushers Greg Rousseau and Carlos ‘Boogie’ Basham through the 2021 NFL draft to ensure the production goes up in 2021. If the rookies take time to adapt to the NFL, the Bills may need to look to an interior addition to provide support for the players on the edge,” Tansey wrote. “Geno Atkins is arguably the most valuable defender left on the free-agent market. He has 75.5 career sacks and has been healthy for the majority of his career. Buffalo currently has Star Lotulelei, Vernon Butler and Ed Oliver at defensive tackle, but if they fail to get consistent pressure on opposing quarterback, a fix needs to be made. The potential addition of Atkins could increase Buffalo’s chances of winning the AFC. He could even be worth the pickup now to ensure the pass rush is more effective than it was in 2020 when no one had more than five sacks.”
Richard Rodgers Caught One of Most Famous Hail Mary Throws in NFL History
Back on offense, though Diggs, Sanders and company pose a serious threat to opposing secondaries, Buffalo could use some improvement with their tight end depth.
“The Bills do not need to make a massive upgrade at tight end in case Dawson Knox does not perform up to expectations,” Tansey wrote. “Buffalo has an abundance of wide receivers Allen can call on in the passing game and it may just need a reliable veteran that has been a second or third tight end throughout his career.”
The Bleacher Report writer says that former Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles tight end Richard Rodgers “fits that mold”.
“Rodgers could even be a decent backup behind Knox, who had three touchdown catches in 12 games last season,” Tansey said. “At minimum, Rodgers could provide Allen with an extra red-zone target and he can help with blocking for the young running backs.”
Nearly six years ago of course, Rodgers hauled in one of the most epic Hail Mary touchdown passes in NFL history.
In 85 games over seven seasons, Rodgers has recorded 145 receptions on 213 targets for 1,518 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns. If the big tight end was ever on the field for a Bills Hail Mary from mid-field, odds are that Josh Allen could at least make it to end zone too.