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Why NFL free agents often avoid Buffalo

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Some factors may sway free agents from signing on at One Bills Drive

A team that has made the playoffs two out of the last three season, a reformed culture, and a whole lot of available cap space. At first glance, those reasons seem like a pretty good argument for a free agent to take their talents to Orchard Park. However, there are still some hurdles that a player would have to think about before deciding they want to sign a deal with the Buffalo Bills.


Josh Allen

Allen is a young and upcoming player and one of the more exciting dual-threat quarterbacks in the league with the arm strength to back it up. The problem is that Allen has yet to show that he can get the job done consistently. Yes, he made a big jump from his rookie season but there are still times where you can obviously see he has room to grow. His teammates in Buffalo love him and would go to battle with him on any given Sunday but you have to think about it from the perspective of a player who has not been in the locker room with him. Why would they go to the Bills with uncertainty about Allen when there are other young guys like Lamar Jackson, DeShaun Watson, and Super Bowl Champion Patrick Mahomes who have put up better numbers.

Location

It doesn’t matter how good the football team is playing and what kind of future it may have, at the end of the day people often do not like coming to Western New York. No amount of money could convince someone to deal with the cold and a small city like Buffalo if they come from warmer climates and larger places. Players would much rather take their talents to places like Florida where, even if they lose, they can just unwind on the beach instead of going home to shovel their driveway. Former receiver Jordan Matthews summed up what probably a lot of other players think about Buffalo:

“When I was in Buffalo, there was like nothing to do there, except … have fun with your wife. She got pregnant. So we always say we got a Buffalo baby. Ain’t nothing to do there, except each other.”

Bill Belichick

The last reason and maybe one of the scariest ones for pending free agents is having to face possibly the greatest coach of all time at least twice a season in Bill Belichick. People talk about how Tom Brady has owned the Bills in his career but the same can be same about Belichick. Players are hesitant about going to the AFC East in general because they know the dominance the New England Patriots have had in the division—and Belichick is a big reason why. Even with the uncertainty of Brady coming back to the team, Bill is still expected to be on the sideline, which makes New England the favorites in the division.