In a piece out Wednesday on NFL.com, NFL analyst Brian Billick picked five teams he feels have the most work to do this offseason. One of those teams happens to be the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo is joined by the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Chargers, and Chicago Bears.
While I agree that the Bills have plenty of work to do over the next few months, Billick doesn’t really touch on the job ahead and focuses more on the uncertainty around those who will be doing the work. He cites the events surrounding the firing of Rex Ryan and the involvement of owners Kim and Terry Pegula in benching Tyrod Taylor as reasons for the team being on his list.
Billick praises the hiring of Sean McDermott, although he contends that the new coach was brought in to “bolster what is already considered a solid defensive unit.” I’d contend that both of those points are off; the hiring of a defensive coordinator with the résumé that Leslie Frazier has suggests that McDermott might be willing to take a backseat with regards to running the defense, and the Bills’ defense was a middle-of-the-road unit statistically that performed even worse than the rankings would lead one to believe. He also mentions “a secondary that jumps off the page” without mentioning the impending free agency of Stephon Gilmore and the still-uncertain future of Aaron Williams.
I will give Billick credit for not assuming that Tyrod Taylor is on the verge of being released (a popular opinion these days), and that decision is the easily the biggest one the team will make in the next few months (save for possibly the tenth pick of the draft). The team would save themselves a lot of work by keeping Taylor around, but there’s going to be a lot more that goes into that decision than front office workload concerns.
There are plenty of things the Bills have to do this offseason that Billick didn’t bring up. While the process of building a coaching staff is all but finished, the Bills still have 33 pending free agents, 23 of whom are unrestricted. Those names include the aforementioned Gilmore, Pro Bowl linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, leading receiver Robert Woods, and key reserve backup Mike Gillislee (a restricted free agent). They also have six picks in the NFL Draft, and may try to acquire more to help fill those roster holes.
So, yeah, the Bills have plenty of work to do. None of it involves drama or instability, but that’s definitely there, too, as Billick pointed out.