clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Buffalo Bills 2018 free agent review

How did the Bills’ free-agent signings help the team in 2018?

Since Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane arrived in Buffalo they have made massive changes to the Buffalo Bills’ roster. They’ll continue to do that this off-season as they look to get back to the playoffs. One way of adjusting the roster is via free agency. Beane had his first full off-season to really go after free agents this past year. Let’s see how those additions fared.

Below Expectations

  • Star Lotulelei
  • Trent Murphy
  • Vontae Davis
  • AJ McCarron
  • Jeremy Kerley
  • Kaelin Clay
  • Marshall Newhouse

It’s a bit unfair to lump Star and Trent Murphy in with a handful of guys that are no longer on the Bills roster (including one that walked out on his team in the middle of a game), but like those guys, they both had disappointing seasons. They were not complete busts, but they did not live up to the money the Bills paid them. The team made Star the 13th-highest-paid defensive tackle in the league, but Pro Football Focus has him as the 103rd-best defensive interior player this season. The story is very similar with Murphy. He is the 37th-highest-paid defensive end and the 89th-ranked edge defender. The cap hits for these two make their performances disappointing.

The rest of this group contributed about as much to the Bills’ season as I did. They combined for two total starts, one tackle, and two receptions for seven yards. Vontae Davis infamously quit and retired at halftime, AJ McCarron lost the quarterback competition and then was traded to the Oakland Raiders for a fifth-round pick, Jeremy Kerley was waived after Week 1, Kaelin Clay was waived before the season began, and Marshall Newhouse was traded for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2021 after Week 3. Jon Gruden might be crazy, but I don’t think even he would give a fifth-round pick for my rights, so maybe these guys did contribute more to the Bills than me.

Met Expectations

  • Chris Ivory
  • Phillip Gaines
  • Rafael Bush
  • Owamagbe Odighizuwa
  • Julian Stanford
  • Terrence Fede
  • Tenny Palepoi

The bar for most of these players to meet expectations was pretty low as a lot of them were projected as second- and third-team guys. The two that stand out are Chris Ivory and Phillip Gaines. Ivory performed admirably as a backup running back, sometimes even looking like a better fit for the offense than LeSean McCoy. Gaines was brought in to compete for the nickel corner back position, but he actually ended competing and winning the CB2 job over Vontae Davis. He didn’t last too long there as he was released after Week 9 while leading the league in penalty yardage.

Exceeded Expectations

  • Russell Bodine

After Eric Wood’s abrupt retirement, it was expected that Ryan Groy would take over as the starting center. That’s indeed what happened and Groy started the first two weeks of the season. After two bad performances from Groy, the Bills switched it up and went with Bodine. He would remain the starter until he was injured in Week 13 and placed on injured reserve. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 19th-best center this season.

Brandon Beane and Co. have nine times more cap room this off-season as compared to the last year at this time. Hopefully all that extra dough will yield much better results on the field in 2019 and beyond.