The Buffalo Bills were able to add Quinton Spain a few weeks into free agency a year ago and he rewarded them by playing nearly every snap at left guard through training camp, preseason, the regular season, and playoffs. Now they have a decision to make as his one-year contract expires.
We’ve broken down the reasons to keep Spain as well as some reasons to let him leave. It’s your turn to vote in the poll!
All-22 analysis excerpt
(By Jeff Kantrowski)
Quinton Spain isn’t a mauler by any means. Goal-to-go scenarios can be nailbiters (though this is admittedly a problem area for more than just Quinton Spain). On the other hand, Spain is good on the move and is pretty successful as a mosh-pit enthusiast who briefly slams into an opponent before moving on to the next.
There’s zero reason not to try bringing Spain back to the Buffalo Bills based on his play. For linemen, solid but unspectacular can be harder to find than many fans might think. Quinton Spain fits that mold and could reasonably have a shot at getting better with experience in the same system. Culture fit and scheme fit need to be considered as well. Assuming those boxes are checked off, it’d be wise for One Bills Drive to try to work out a deal.
Read the full article with GIFs and analysis here
Contract projection excerpt
(By Matt Warren)
$5 million guaranteed
I structured it similarly to all of the deals above. His entire first year is guaranteed like Miller and Feliciano. A second-year roster bonus would mean he either gets released prior to free agency or the team has to pay him to keep him. If you tack on one year at $4.5 million to make it a three-year, $13.5 million deal, it’s a lot closer to Miller’s numbers but Miller was two years younger when he signed his contract.
He gets a hefty raise, more than doubling his 2019 salary. Frankly, I was surprised the salary was so low when he signed a year ago. He’s been a consistent but not spectacular performer who has been incredibly durable for two franchises now.
Read more from the full article including three player contract comps
In-house left guard options excerpt
(By Matt Warren)
The biggest question mark is where they see Cody Ford’s future. Ford, originally drafted by the Bills to be a right tackle, was projected by many as a guard at the NFL level due to some suspect lateral abilities. If they moved Ford inside to guard, it could shore up the hole left by the departure of Spain. With right tackle Ty Nsekhe under contract for one more season, it could allow Ford to continue to develop and/or they could draft another tackle option to develop behind the aging veteran.
They could also consider plugging in Spencer Long, who has a long history of starting on the interior offensive line in the league. He was Buffalo’s primary interior backup in 2019 and has a hefty salary for that role, but could fit in well at one of the guard spots. Buffalo has had a year to evaluate him in the practice setting and during his spot duty.
Ryan Bates and Ike Boettger have some game experience, but it would be a pretty big leap from deep depth players to starting offensive lineman.
Read more about the internal options at left guard here.
Free agency options excerpt
(By Sean Murphy)
Scherff was picked fifth overall by Washington in the 2015 NFL Draft, and he has established himself as one of the league’s best guards in that time. As an unrestricted free agent for the first time, it’s to his benefit that he doesn’t turn 29 until December. He will probably command a top-level salary, perhaps even a top-ten average annual value, which is at least $10 million for his position.
What’s better than signing one of the league’s best guards? Signing one of the league’s best guards who used to play for your biggest divisional rival! Thuney entered the league as a third-round draft choice of the New England Patriots in 2016, and the 27 year old has only improved with each season. He could reach four years and $40 million with around $15-$18 million guaranteed. That might sound steep, but think of how good the interior offensive line would look with Thuney joining Morse and Jon Feliciano.
Perhaps more in the mold of a Brandon Beane signing is the versatile Glasgow, who has started at both left guard and center during his four years with the Detroit Lions. Glasgow has been a reliable piece along Detroit’s front five. His intriguing versatility, excellent durability, and solid pulling ability all make him a good option for the Bills if they move on from Spain.
If you know a New York Giants fan, they’ll probably laugh out loud. However, Flowers moved on to Washington this year and was adequate as a guard. As Flowers is only set to turn 26 this season, it’s possible that another change of scenery could unlock all the athletic potential he has. Forgive me for being a bit gun shy, but the last time the Bills went with an Erik Flowers, it didn’t go so well.
Looking to buy low on a former first-round pick? Peat also has some experience at left tackle, which could immediately make him a more attractive candidate for a team like Buffalo who values versatility in its offensive linemen. I’m not certain that the team would be upgrading the position over Spain, however, if they were to replace him with Peat.
Read more about these and other free agent options in our full article here
NFL Draft replacement options excerpt
(By Andrew Griffin)
Tyler Biadasz (Wisconsin)
John Simpson (Clemson)
Ben Bredeson (Michigan)
The Wisconsin center is exactly what you’d expect coming from that program—not the strongest or the most athletic, but he gets the job done consistently. Simpson hasn’t received much first-round hype, but I expect that to change after declaring for the draft. The big Clemson guard pass protected Trevor Lawrence really well all throughout the college football playoffs. A balanced, well-coached player, Bredeson will become a starter immediately for the team that drafts him.
Nick Harris (Washington)
Trey Smith (Tennessee)
Creed Humphrey (Oklahoma)
Matt Hennessy (Temple)
Robert Hunt (Louisiana)
Darryl Williams (Mississippi State)
Logan Stenberg (Kentucky)
Read our one-sentence scouting reports for the Tier II and Tier III options in our full article
Opinion: Bills should let Spain move on to bigger money
(By Matt Warren)
If Spain agrees to come back for one year and $2 million like he did in 2019, I would sign that in a heartbeat. He’s a solid player I want on my team at the right price. I just think he’s going to get more money than that. The top 32 guards make more than $5.3 million per season with the top 50 all over $2.5 million per season. (Spain was 52nd in 2019.)
There is also another much more important thing, as well. What is the future of 2019 second rounder Cody Ford? If the Bills want to move Ford inside, they aren’t going to replace Morse and Jon Feliciano was outstanding in 2019 and cheaper than what Spain is likely to command on the open market. Ford was a high pick for general manager Brandon Beane, and they are going to give him every chance to succeed. If that means a move to guard, then passing on a Spain extension makes a ton of sense. Then some combination of Dawkins, Morse, Feliciano, Ford, and Ty Nsekhe would be your starting five in 2020.
Read the entire opinion piece here
Now it’s your turn to vote! What do you think the Bills should do at left guard this offseason?
What should the Bills do at left guard this offseason?
This poll is closed
Re-sign Quinton Spain for $4.5 million per season
Let Spain walk, move Cody Ford to guard
Let Spain walk, elevate Spencer Long to starter
Let Spain walk, sign a big-time free agent
Let Spain walk, sign a lower free agent to compete with current Bills guards
Let Spain walk, draft a starter in the first three rounds
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