Despite a 6-10 record, the Buffalo Bills finished as the No. 2 defense in the NFL last year in total defense (yards allowed per game), the team’s first top-five finish since the 2014 season.
One area where the Bills and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier could improve in 2019 is the pass rush. Buffalo finished 26th in the NFL in sacks last year with 36—16 sacks behind league-leaders Kansas City and Pittsburgh.
Jerry Hughes was one of the highest-rated pressure ends in the league according to Pro Football Focus, and finished with a team-high seven sacks and a career-high three forced fumbles.
As the start of free agency looms next week, the Bills could certainly use help with their pass rush, and on Saturday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano speculated that he “wouldn’t be shocked if they moved one of their edge guys and also brought in a new one, like Dee Ford or someone like that.”
It’s interesting to hear Graziano link the Bills with Ford, a premier pass rusher from the league’s best pass-rushing unit in 2018, the Kansas City Chiefs.
Bill obviously have a ton to do, and we know they're poking around on trades. Wouldn't be shocked if they moved one of their edge guys and also brought in a new one, like Dee Ford or someone like that. WR obviously a need too. Lots of needs, as you probably know. https://t.co/j1YWfcZXOJ— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) March 9, 2019
Ford, who had the franchise tag slapped on him Monday by the Chiefs, is due to make around $15.4 million under the franchise tag in 2019. The Bills would need to trade with the Chiefs to acquire Ford, who registered 13 sacks (tied for seventh in the NFL) to go with a league-best seven forced fumbles.
On Tuesday, reports surfaced that Kansas City would be willing to part with Ford for a second-round draft pick. Buffalo holds onto pick No. 41, the ninth pick in the second round of April’s draft.
Since the Chiefs applied the franchise tag to Ford, Kansas City has until July 15 to sign its talented and desirable pass rusher to a long-term deal.
The Ford rumor isn’t the first time Buffalo has been associated with a talented free agent defensive end, as on Friday, the team was falsely linked to former Seattle Seahawks’ star pass rusher Frank Clark.
Graziano’s tweet seems to imply a move for Ford would be predicated on the Bills trading one of their edge rushers currently on the roster: Hughes and defensive end Shaq Lawson would fit the bill.
Graziano also mentioned Buffalo’s interest in adding a free-agent wide receiver, which given the question marks at the position and the Bills’ recent pursuit of a trade for Antonio Brown should come as no surprise to Buffalo fans.