Within the past 4 days Bills have re-signed two key offensive weapons in WR Steve Johnson and TE Scott Chandler. With these two players signed it looks to be a very interesting Free Agency period and NFL Draft for the Bills. Surprisingly, The linchpin in the Bills plans for Free Agency and the Draft may me former 7th round pick and current FA OT Demetrius Bell.
If the Bills re-sign Bell to a contract, they will be free to turn the entirety of their Free Agency efforts to acquiring the piece(s) neccesary to establish a legitimate pass rush. If the Bills are successful in building a pass rush through Free Agency, they can utilize the #10 oveall pick on a WR (Floyd) if they believe he is worthy of the pick. If the Bills secure Bell's services but are unable to build a pass rush through Free Agency, they can turn their efforts to securing another legitimate outside WR threat in Free Agency and utilize the #10 pick on the best pass rusher available. Securing Bell's services before the start of Free Agency allows the Bills to concentrate on DE and WR in Free Agency and at the top of the draft.
However, should Bell want a contract equalt to 6 or 7 million per year, the Bills will likely balk if they believe any of the top rated OTs are a real upgrade to Bell. If the Bill's believe that to be the case, they would be better off letting Bell walk and upgrading him for less money with the 10th pick of the draft. The upsides of this strategy are: 1) the LT position is upgraded (if the Bills believe Martin or Reif is better than Bell), and 2) Less money is spent on the LT position, allowing more money to go after a top DE or WR. There are two clear downsides to this strategy: 1) Bell is a known commodity and a proven NFL player, a draft pick is an unknown commodity, 2) The Bills will have to try to acquire a pass rush and receiving help through FA and the remainder of the draft, but the #10 pick will be spoken for by the LT, thus the Bills will have "more holes to fill" in FA and the draft if Bell walks, rather than building on what they have developed.
I am sure the Bills front office personell are busy gaming all the combinations and permutations that will enable them to have the greatest chance of filling their top priorities, this was just a hypothetical example of how the re-signing or loss of one former 7th round pick can change a teams FA and draft priorities.
Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of BuffaloRumblings.com.