Bills Fan’s Offseason Guide

Photo of Sean McDermott from bleacherreport.com.

It’s been just two weeks since the Buffalo Bills snapped the longest running playoff drought in North American pro sports. It only took Sean McDermott one year to do what no other Bills coach has done since 1999.

For the first time in a long time, Bills fans can feel like their team isn’t the laughing stock of the league. The question now is, “Where do we go from here?” Bills fans are used to disappointment and harsh criticisms at this point of the year, not excitement and optimism. Worry not, Bills fans, this is the definitive guide on how to handle the new expectations of the 2018 offseason.

Important Dates

March 11: Deadline for the Tyrod Taylor decision
April 26-28: NFL Draft
May 4-7 or May 11-14: Rookie Minicamp
May 28 – June 24: OTA and Minicamp window

Be Realistic

Fans can point to any number of short-sighted moves in recent years that set back the long-term development of the team in hopes of a playoff appearance. With the drought over and the pressure off, this team can now continue to build for the future. Despite a playoff berth and a winning record, this is still a team with many holds up and down the roster. They lack top end talent at key positions, and depth at many others. Also, most pundits expect a lot of roster turnover for the Bills this offseason.

With that in mind, expect the team to consider building for the future. Don’t be surprised to see Brandon Beane acquire more future assets at the expenses of some fan favorites in the locker room. Richie Incognito, Eric Wood, and Cordy Glenn are all names to watch. These always tend to be controversial moves amongst fans, but it’s important to remember that this is a business and fans need to continue to trust the process.

Photo of University of Wyoming QB Josh Allen from si.com.

Early Round QB is not Guaranteed

Most fans assume Buffalo will package those two first round draft picks to move up and select a quarterback. That might not be in the team’s best interest. This roster has too many holes to sacrifice a bunch of picks unless you are extremely confident in one of those guys. Fans won’t want to hear it, but this season has shown what teams can do with average quarterbacks.  At least one of Blake Bortles, Case Keenum, and Nick Foles are going to play in the Super Bowl.

The Bills have five picks in the first three rounds. They need to come away with starting pieces on both sides of the ball. If the value is there to move up for the quarterback they want, then go for it. They probably won’t feel like they have to if the value isn’t right. Familiarize yourself with quarterbacks like Mason Rudolph, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Kurt Benkert, and Riley Ferguson.

Mock Frenzy

Mock draft season is one of my favorite times of year.  It’s fun to read and listen to all of the different opinions from people out there.  Don’t get too wrapped up in all of the projections, especially those that are coming out right now.  Instead, use these mocks to learn about some of the prospects whose names will be called on draft day.  You’ll probably end up with a few draft crushes along the way (Matt Milano last year for me).  It’s all in good fun as long as you don’t take it too seriously.  The Pegulas pay Brandon Beane very well to do his job.  He probably has a better grasp on this process than you do.

Trust the Process

Did you get enough process in 2017?  Don’t expect Brandon Bean and Sean McDermott to deviate away from their plans.  The Bills probably will not make many splashy free agent acquisitions this offseason.  They may end up keeping Tyrod Taylor and even trusting him to start again in 2018.

It’s possible that they bring in a veteran quarterback to serve as a stop gap.  Regardless of what the team does, they have a plan in mind and they are going to stick with it.  The team has bought into the plan this past season, and it showed.  Let these guys continue doing what they started in 2017.  The rest of us can just focus on the, suddenly, bright future.

Editor’s babble: Thanks to Joe Geniti for his frequent contributions to our blog. You can follow Joe on Twitter @JoeGeniti. 

All contributions to the BillsMafia blog are solely the opinion of the writer.

5 Replies to “Bills Fan’s Offseason Guide”

  1. Good morning…

    Thanks Joe for another excellent article. Honestly I can see the Bills taking a couple of steps backwards next year as they do need so much… Both lines need help, there needs to be an influx of youth and speed in the LB unit, this is a rich draft for QB’s hate to see them not go for one, the receiving unit can use some help (but a healthy Z. Jones, Mathews and Benjamin will help) and top back-up for Shady will be needed.

    There will be so many mock drafts and the closer it gets to April’s draft the Mocks will change on a daily basis…

    Needless to say with all the draft picks the Bills draft will be interesting.

    Jonathan Cook from the Huddle Report has the Bills taking #21 Maurice Hurst DT Mi. and Mason Rudolph QB Okla St.

    • Thanks for the comment. There are many holes on both sides of the ball – but let’s remember that McBeane built an entire secondary with a 1st round cornerback and a couple of “no name” DBs to go with him. These guys found some gems in other people’s trash. Correcting another positional group defensively with a similar tactic could really transform this defense to one of the elites.

  2. Thanks for the article!

    I disagree about the QB situation. Brandon Beane has already stated how important it is to get a franchise QB. I don’t think they [Beane and McDermott] are just shooting for a middle of the pack QB. With playing against the GOAT twice a year, the Bills are going to need an elite QB to compete against Brady.

    As far as how the Bills will do next season, it’s way too early to tell. But if McBeane can continue to acquire players like Hyde, Poyer, Gaines along with another solid draft, we’ll continue to see this team grow and take those next steps.

    • How many truly elite QBs are there? By definition, not many. Brady, Rodgers, Brees (and the clock seems to be ticking on two of the three). Are any of the prospects that level? I think there’s just as much risk with Darnold and Rosen as there is with Rudolph and Jackson. That’s just my opinion. Allen is getting #1 hype and from what very little I’ve seen of him, he looks terrible. There isn’t an Andrew Luck in this draft and I don’t think you give up the farm to move up for a Jameis Winston.

  3. Goose, we should probably be having all this email draft talk here!

    I’m thinking without trading up, Rudolph might be their only play. I know little about the guy other than he’s tall and played for one of the Oklahoma teams.