Bleacher Report Gives Bills High Marks for Free Agency Moves

Brandon Beane

Getty Bills general manager Brandon Beane looks on with head coach Sean McDermott.

After their run to the AFC Championship game this past season, Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane knew this offseason was going to be crucial for his team.

They were a step away from making their first Super Bowl appearance since 1993 and Beane knew that an offseason full of re-signings and crucial additions would be a good first step into getting back there.

So far through this offseason, it seems like Beane and the Bills haven’t missed.

The Bills started off free agency by re-signing three of their core free agents in Matt Milano, Daryl Williams, Jon Feliciano. Then, they brought in quarterback Mitch Trubisky, tight end Jacob Hollister, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, punter Matt Haack and they just recently signed former Dolphins running back Matt Breida. They also re-signed wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie, cornerback Levi Wallace and added defensive end Efe Obada.

In a recent Bleacher Report article, which graded all 32 NFL teams on their free agency performance, the Bills received a B-plus, which was the third-highest mark behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (A), Cleveland Browns (A), Kansas City Chiefs (A), New England Patriots (A-), New York Giants (A-), and the New York Jets (A-).

The Bills were recognized for their ability to retain their core group of players, while also bringing in a few additions that could possibly help them take another step next season.

Notable Additions: WR Emmanuel Sanders, QB Mitchell Trubisky, TE Jacob Hollister, P Matt Haack, DE Efe Obada

Grade: B+

The Buffalo Bills kept together a core that just put together the franchise’s best season in nearly three decades. They re-signed Jon Feliciano, Matt Milano, Daryl Williams and several other key free agents to reasonable deals.

Buffalo also improved the roster with a handful of notable free-agent signings. Veteran wideout Emmanuel Sanders figures to replace John Brown, and Jacob Hollister is a proven tight end. The Bills also came to terms with Mitchell Trubisky, who will be one of the better backup options in the league.

The Bills aren’t done yet, but they earned a strong grade and are well positioned to build on their run to the AFC Championship Game.

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Re-Signing Players Was Crucial for Brandon Beane

With the lowered salary cap this season, which will sit at $182.5 million, it was unknown whether or not Beane and the Bills would be able to bring back the core group of players from this past season.

Milano was one of the best coverage linebackers in this year’s free agency class, Williams put together one of the better seasons of his career and was set to get paid for it, and Feliciano played well enough to test free agency. But, they all wanted to return to Buffalo and Beane made it work.

“I just told my agent, ‘I love Buffalo. I want to be in Buffalo. I love what they got going on there and see if we can make something happen,'” Milano said during his video conference call after resigning with Buffalo. “I think that’s what we did. It was a fair deal kind of for both sides.”

Although they were smaller signings, bringing back McKenzie and Wallace were also huge for the Bills. Wallace gives the Bills more depth at the defensive back position and now Dane Jackson will have competition for the CB2 position heading into training camp.

With Andre Roberts signing with the Houston Texans, McKenzie could also be in line to take over punt and kick return duties. He recorded Buffalo’s only punt return for a touchdown this season and has the ability to take his numbers to another level this year.

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The Bills Are Giving Josh Allen More Weapons

With their additions this offseason, the Buffalo offense could take another step this season with Allen under center.

The Bills released John Brown but replaced him with Sanders who broke out with the Denver Broncos and has been a reliable option throughout his NFL career with over 8,600 receiving yards and close to 50 touchdown catches. Add Allen’s former Wyoming teammate in Hollister, along with running back Matt Breida, and the Bills will have plenty of weapons this season.

Trubisky will also be one of the better backup quarterback options in the league this year as well.

The Bills needed to have a good offseason season and although they aren’t done yet, they’ve gotten off to a good start.


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