The Buffalo Bills are not expected to be big spenders heading into free agency, as they are hard up against the salary cap. However, that doesn’t mean the franchise won’t make at least one blockbuster move before the start of the 2022 NFL season.
According to Over The Cap, the Bills — who are currently in the red at $8.1 million over the maximum league-wide cap number — can also create approximately $37.5 million in cap space through simple contract restructures alone.
Following one of the most heartbreaking playoff losses in franchise history, ESPN’s Dan Graziano expects Buffalo to go all in to make one power move not just to ensure another strong playoff run next season, but to attract investors for the team’s long-awaited new stadium, which is expected to cost in excess of $1 billion, per NBC Sports.
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Graziano wrote, “That project would include a great deal of public financing, which is one reason a lot of people here are eyeing the Bills as a team that could make a big free-agent splash. Billionaires asking the taxpayers to help fund their new stadiums is a tough proposition all the time, but if you’re going to do it, it’s best to keep enthusiasm for the team as high as possible.
“The Bills have been knocking on the Super Bowl door the past couple of years, but don’t rule out a big-splash move aimed at getting them over that hump and making sure Bills fans’ excitement remains at a froth.”
Buffalo could easily drum up excitement by making a trade with the Carolina Panthers to land running back Christian McCaffrey, but for Bills general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott, there are more than a few options out there if they’re looking to go big.
Adding Rob Gronowski Could Be the ‘Big Splash’
While there are numerous moves the Bills could make this offseason, adding a superstar like Rob Gronkowski could fit the bill as making a “big splash.” The latest report from The Athletic‘s Tim Graham revealed it’s not just speculation linking the 6-foot-6 tight end to Buffalo.
“Word here at the NFL Scouting Combine is that if Gronkowski wants to keep playing, the Bills still are open to adding the Amherst, N.Y., native to their offense,” Graham reported on Wednesday, March 2.
“The Bills spoke with the surefire first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer last spring but discovered he wanted to keep playing with Tom Brady, who retired last month. Gronkowski re-signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for one year at $8 million.
“There is hope at One Bills Drive that Gronkowski would be willing to finish his career in Western New York.”
While Gronk is set to turn 33 in May, he still has some fight in him. He finished the 2021 NFL season with 55 receptions for 802 yards and six touchdowns.
The Bills Could Go All-In to Sign DE Danielle Hunter
Another big splashy move for the Bills would be to make a trade with the Minnesota Vikings in order to nab two-time Pro Bowl defensive end, Danielle Hunter.
Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton named Buffalo as one of the “top Super Bowl LVII contenders” and by nabbing Hunter, it could be the big move that not only “prevents the Rams from repeating next season,” but also perfectly rounds out the Bills’ defense.
“The Bills could be interested in Hunter, as they lacked defensive playmaking last season,” Wharton wrote. “Mario Addison was the lone Buffalo player with more than four sacks, as their young stable of defensive ends is more geared toward stopping the run. Recent draft picks Gregory Rousseau and A.J. Epenesa can also slide inside to tackle with a more effective pass-rusher on the edge.”
While it may still feel too soon to discuss the final 13 seconds of the Bills’ overtime playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Wharton believes that if Buffalo had a player like Hunter on the team, that game might’ve ended differently.
“With so few needs on their roster, the Bills would benefit more from an impactful veteran defensive end than a rookie who will need time and opportunity before producing. The Bills were a pass rush away from beating the Chiefs in the AFC divisional round, so trading for Hunter might push them over the top.”