The Buffalo Bills regularly fall in the bottom third of NFL power rankings. When you haven’t made the playoffs in 17 years, that can be expected. ESPN’s annual future power rankings are no different and Buffalo comes in 26th when looking three years down the road.
The biggest knock against the Bills is their quarterback situation. At best, Tyrod Taylor has a great season in 2017 and then negotiates a new contract or plays out the remaining year of his deal. At worst, he implodes and the Bills go back to the drawing board. It’s more likely to be something more agonizingly in between those two extremes, leaving Buffalo in the perpetual state of uncertainty at the position since Jim Kelly retired in 1996.
“McDermott opted to keep Taylor around this offseason, restructuring his deal into a two-year, $30.5 million contract,” writes Louis Riddick. “That's a reasonable salary to pay a quarterback like Taylor. But the only thing that matters for the Bills is finding a way to challenge New England for AFC East supremacy. Is Taylor good enough to do that? I'm not a believer. We shall see.”
Working in Buffalo’s favor is the partnership of Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott. The new general manager wasn’t in place in time for the 2017 NFL Draft but they have a lot of experience working together and should be on the same page, writes Mike Sando. It helps that they have an extra first round pick in 2018, too. This three-year prediction will include an extra shot at a star.
A lot of uncertainty around the Bills was settled when Pegula gave the franchise to McDermott this offseason, but major questions still remain on the roster. Buffalo comes in third in the AFC East ahead of the New York Jets but behind the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots.
One year ago, Buffalo ranked 28th in ESPN’s list. They improved in coaching and front office, according to the votes, and Tyrod Taylor earned higher marks, too. They fell off in the rest of the roster (which is to be expected after a major down year from the defense and losses on both sides of the ball in free agency).
Even as a Bills fan, it’s hard to argue these rankings. Even if you are a Tyrod believer, does the rest of the roster have what it takes to get them over the top, especially with a green defense? And if you aren’t a believer in Tyrod, it makes it even more worrisome. 20 years with no playoffs would tie for the fourth-longest streak in NFL history.