So far since the season has ended I've read posts about our most optimistic and most pessimistic off-season possibilities. I enjoyed reading and commenting on both, but I thought it'd be a good idea for me to write on about how I realistically see us handling things this off-season. Of course, it will be peppered with some hope and some doubt. I'm certainly no expert but I've been a Bills fan my entire 24 years of existence. So here it goes, this is how I could see the off-season turning out:
Taking care of our own-
Steve Johnson re-signed on 4 yr $30 mil contract, 20 mil guaranteed
All O-line FA's re-signed, other than D. Bell, because we need all the consistency there that we can buy.
Fred Jackson re-signed to a 3 yr deal with a decent signing bonus as back pay.
Scott Chandler tests the market, finds no huge deals and re-signs with us for a mid-level contract.
Free agent signings-
2. Our premier signee of this free agent class, we slightly overpay for the service of Cliff Avril after talks with Detroit breakdown. We get a young, explosive edge rusher to play RDE in our new 4-3 defense.
3. Omar Gaither or somebody to backup Barnett in the WLB position.
I'm sure there may be others, but these will be the relatively "big names" we land.
I'm no draft guru by any means, but I did a little research and I came up with a draft. With this draft I went with BPA at a need position the way I hope CHIX goes about it. This is the most hopeful area of the off-season and I believe Buffalo has a better draft than last year as good players keep falling to us. Between last year and this upcoming draft I believe Buffalo has a very solid foundation moving forward.
RD 1- OT, Stanford Jonathan Martin- I wouldn't make this pick myself but he is a solid pick and I couldn't complain if we did go this route. He could step in and be our starting LT, give Pears competition at RT with Hairston.
RD 2- WR, South Carolina Alshon Jeffery- He falls to us because of the rise of Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright and Mohamed Sanu. This is great value for us. Also possible is Stephon Gilmore, CB, also from SC.
RD 3- CB, Montana Trumaine Johnson- Underrated, good sized corner with good value for the 3rd round.
RD 4- C, Ohio State Michael Brewster- Another good lineman to provide depth and back up Eric Wood in the likely scenario that he goes down with injury.
RD 4- OLB, Texas Keenan Robinson- A good 4-3 OLB, he can cover well and has good speed to rush the QB.
RD 5- MLB, Arkansas Jerry Franklin- A tackling machine, he provides us with depth behind Shep
RD 5- TE, LSU Deangelo Peterson- Not a real flashy game breaker, but he can block and catch pretty well.
RD 6- QB, Chattanooga B.J. Coleman- A good leader, smart kid, and he has a very strong arm. He played well at the Shrine game and was said to be the best QB there. Russell Wilson will also be available here, I'm hoping we don't pick him over Coleman. My bet is Wilson goes undrafted and the Saints pick him up to learn under Brees.
RD 7- FB, Clemson Chad Diehl- A strong blocker and good on special teams. He will greatly help our running game as well as protect Fitz in the pass game. Doesn't offer much speed or athleticism, but that's not what we are drafting him for.
Our depth chart now looks like this:
QB- Fitzpatrick, Coleman, Brad Smith (I expect us to release Thigpen after Coleman shows his stuff at OTA's and training camp)
RB- Jackson, Spiller, Choice, White
WR1- S. Johnson, A. Jeffery, B. Smith
WR2- R.Williams, Nelson, Easley
LT- Jonathan Martin, Chris Hairston
LG- Levitre, Urbik
C- Wood, Brewster
RG- Rinehart, Jasper
RT- Pears, Young
TE- Chandler, Smith, Peterson
LDE- Kelsay, Carrington, Batten?
DT- K. Williams, Dareus, Troup, D. Edwards,
RDE- Avril, Merriman
SLB- Morrison, K. Robinson, Moats
MLB- Sheppard, Franklin
WLB- Nick Barnett, Gaither,
LCB- A. Williams, J. Rogers, Trumaine Johnson
RCB- Florence, McKelvin
FS- Byrd, Nesbitt
SS- Wilson, Searcy
I had fun putting this together, but I'm sure I was inaccurate in some spots too. Let me know what you guys think.