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Buffalo Bills could look to upgrade slot cornerback at NFL trade deadline

The Athletic gives two options

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Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

For the expectations many fans have for their season, the Buffalo Bills have several holes on their roster right now. One of the most glaring is at slot cornerback, where 2018 fourth-round selection Taron Johnson hasn’t developed in coverage as the team hoped he would. They clearly don’t feel that Siran Neal is an upgrade, as they used Cam Lewis in the position last week, so perhaps the Bills could look outside the organization for reinforcement.

The folks over at The Athletic have two players in mind for the Bills. Both are on expiring contracts with their respective teams who are out of the playoff race early in the season. With the Bills running nickel as their base defense, it’s a starting position on the team and worth the investment.

Joe Buscaglia thinks the Bills should roll with Desmond King of the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers are 1-5, four games behind the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West. King, about to turn 26, has played in more than half the snaps for the Chargers’ defense in 2020, with 20 tackles. At the cost of just over a million dollars for the stretch run, King would be a significant upgrade to Johnson and could either re-sign to a free-agent contract or sign elsewhere and net Buffalo a compensatory pick in 2022.

National writer Sheil Kapadia suggests an option closer to home in New York Jets CB Brian Poole. For the cost of a sixth-round pick, Kapadia notes how bad the coverage has been for the Bills this year and how Poole could upgrade the position. Poole, 28, has two interceptions, six pass breakups, a sack, and 33 tackles in 2020. He would be even cheaper than King thanks to the way his one-year deal in New Jersey was structured; he got a big signing bonus but his salary for all of 2020 is just $1.5 million. With the Bills facing the Jets this weekend, the perfect time to make the trade could be right after the game.

With any trade, it takes five days before a player can enter your facility due to COVID-19 restrictions, so the sooner the deal happens, the better.