The Buffalo Bills have a lot of difficult roster decisions to make heading into the 2022 NFL season, especially being so tight against the salary cap. However, one particular area the Bills should prioritize improving is their offensive line.
Investing in a plan to better protect quarterback Josh Allen is a no-brainer and Bleacher Report‘s Alex Ballentine suggests that the Bills “call up the New Orleans Saints and work out a trade to bring in Erik McCoy” this offseason.
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McCoy, who’s been a fixture on the Saints offensive line since he was drafted as the team’s 48th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, is entering the final year of his rookie contract, which means the Bills could obtain the 24-year-old center at an affordable price.
“The Saints face an uphill climb in creating cap space now and in the future,” Ballentine wrote. “They are currently slated to be more than $75 million over the cap. McCoy doesn’t make a ton of money. He’s only owed $3.4 million in the final year of his rookie deal, but the Saints would save nearly $3 million by trading him.”
While $3 million doesn’t seem like a lot, by trading McCoy now and getting something tangible in return, the Saints will be relieved of the pressure of signing the Texas A&M alum to a long-term deal at a significantly higher price.
Bleacher Report Suggests McCoy Would Be an Affordable Replacement for Center Mitch Morse
While the Bills cap space issues are not as dire as the Saints, they are going to be more than a few cap casualties heading into next season. If Buffalo can acquire McCoy, Davenport says the Bills can feel confident cutting center Mitch Morse.
“The center is set to be the fourth-highest-paid at his position in 2022, but the majority of his cap hit ($8.5 million) would become cap savings if they release him,” Davenport surmised. “The Bills, meanwhile, would get a reasonable replacement for Morse at a much cheaper price,” by obtaining McCoy.
If Morse Agrees to Another Pay Cut in 2022, He Might Stick Around
Morse, who turns 30 in April, is still an outstanding pass blocker, which is integral to an offense led by Allen, so letting him go would not be an easy decision. While Morse agreed to a pay cut last offseason in order to save some cap space, the 6-foot-6 Missouri alum may not be willing to do so again.
The Athletic‘s Joe Buscaglia wrote on February 3, “The strong lean here is for the Bills to keep Morse in 2022 because of their passing prowess and his ability in that phase, but the potentially significant cap savings make it more of a conversation. The blocking scheme used by [Ken] Dorsey will be the ultimate determinant, but he’s likely not going to overhaul what worked at the end of the season. My expectation is Morse stays, perhaps with another pay cut.”