The initial wave of free agency was a busy one, especially for Brandon Beane and the Buffalo Bills. There will be several new faces in the Bills locker room when the team returns to Orchard Park this spring. As of this moment, the Bills have added 11 players in all, including 10 on the offensive side of the ball. Bills entered this offseason with plenty questions surrounding that unit, so it’s not surprising that Buffalo has been one of the more active teams during the first phase of free agency.
Brandon Beane and his staff made sure to address the biggest holes on this roster. Adding guys like Mitch Morse, John Brown, Cole Beasley, Tyler Kroft, Spencer Long, and Ty Nsekhe insure that you have starting-caliber players at positions where the team didn’t necessarily have them last season. Most importantly, they were able to do this without overspending and handcuffing themselves in the future by contracts that they can’t get out of. Most of these deals come with opportunities to move on if they need to.
These contracts mean two things for Buffalo. First, the team is staying consistent with their long-term approach to building sustainable success for the organization. They are determined to build this roster the right way, without trying to take shortcuts that will come back and bite them later on. Also, Beane and McDermott now have even more flexibility in the draft next month. While the team has put in some safeguards at key positions should they strike out in the draft, nobody outside of Mitch Morse will prevent them from targeting any particular position.
Wide receiver and offensive line are still options for Buffalo as early as round one, as are positions along the defensive line. With so many different options for Buffalo, trading back seems ideal. It takes two to tango though, and so Buffalo will need a dancing partner to pull this off. Here’s a look at some of the different options the Bills may have to consider this April.
Denver and Cincinnati
Both of these teams are in the market for a new quarterback. Rumors have been flying for several weeks now that John Elway is enamored with Drew Lock. And while the Broncos did just trade for Joe Flacco, they should still be considered one of the most likely teams to take a quarterback in the first round.
Why would they move up one spot to get ahead of Buffalo, a team who obviously is not going to entertain the thought of drafting a quarterback in the first round this year? The Cincinnati Bengals are sitting at pick #11 and could be looking for a new quarterback of their own. They will be able to move on from Andy Dalton after this year, a proposition that seems likely.
Bills fans will always hold a special place in their hearts for Dalton, but he is a quarterback who has really hit his ceiling. Unfortunately for him, his best is probably never going to be enough to take the Bengals to the next level. It may be time for this team, with a new coaching staff, to hit the reset button. Giving up a fourth round pick to draft Denver is probably worth it for them if they believe in a guy like Lock.
Bills get pick #10 (Denver) or #11(Cincinnati) and an additional 2019 fourth. Denver/Cincinnati get pick #9
In this situation Buffalo would be able to get just about anyone who would be available at the 9th pick. Jawaan Taylor, Jonah Williams, Ed Oliver, D.K. Metcalf, and T.J. Hockenson are all possibilities here.
This could very easily be Miami looking to move up for a quarterback, but it seems much more likely that they will be all in on the 2020 group. It doesn’t make much sense for Miami to sacrifice a bunch of future assets to get the second or third best quarterback in this class.
Washington, on the other hand, could be looking to groom their quarterback of the future behind veterans, Case Keenum and Alex Smith. Should Dwayne Haskins or Drew Lock still be on the board at pick #9, Washington could consider jumping ahead of Denver, Cincinnati, and Miami.
Bills get pick #15, #76, and #153
Washington gets pick #9
The Bills get almost the same exact return as the Oakland Raiders did last season when they moved from pick #10 down to pick #15. At 15, Buffalo would probably be staring at guys like Christian Wilkins and Andre Dillard. There’s a chance that at either T.J. Hockenson or Jonah Williams would still be on the board here. Brian Burns and Rashan Gary are two pass rushers that Buffalo could consider in this spot as well.
The Long Shots – Seattle and Houston
Both of these teams have young, mobile quarterbacks. Both of these quarterbacks have spent the beginning years of their careers running for their lives. If two of the top three tackles come off the board within the first eight picks of the draft, either of these teams could feel the need to move up and get their guy. These seem like the least likely trade down spots, but they would also net the most return if Beane could pull this off.
Bills get pick #21, pick #84, a 2020 first round pick (Seattle) or pick #23, pick #54, and pick #55 (Houston).
Seattle or Houston get pick #9
This would be a dream scenario for Buffalo. Brandon Beane has made it abundantly clear that he values draft picks. Acquiring multiple picks in the second round or a future first rounder would be great for the Bills.
Furthermore, the team could go in a number of different directions at this spot in the draft. Offensive linemen like Cody Ford, Garrett Bradbury, Dalton Risner, and Chris Lindstrom could come off the board here. This is also where that run of tight ends could begin with Noah Fant or Irv Smith Jr. going to Buffalo.
Brandon Beane has already indicated that a trade down the board is a possibility in this year’s draft. Sometimes these trades can be pretty predictable, but every once in awhile a team swoops in unexpectedly. It seems like fans drool over the idea of trading down every year. Now that the team has their quarterback, they might be drooling over that thought as well.
Editor’s babble: Love the trade-down scenarios here. Bills’ activity in free agency will allow for a lot of flexibility in this regard. This will be a really fun draft to watch. Thanks, as always, to Joe Geniti for his terrific contributions to our blog. You can find Joe on Twitter @JoeGeniti.