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NFL Trade Deadline Primer: Buffalo Bills could be buyers

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

We talk about this every year, but the Buffalo Bills could certainly be buyers at the NFL’s trade deadline. General manager Brandon Beane shipped a third-round pick to the Carolina Panthers for Kelvin Benjamin to try and ensure the Bills would break the NFL’s longest playoff drought.

This season, it’s Super Bowl aspirations that will put the Bills in the mix. Tight end depth, an interior lineman, cornerback, or defensive lineman could add to Buffalo’s high aspirations and a punter wouldn’t hurt, either.

With somewhere between $2.7 million and $4 million in cap space, Buffalo is going to have to be judicious with who they trade for and who they ship out via trade or release.

The deadline for trades is 4 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, November 2.

Below, we have a list of potential trade targets with quick info on each. Below that are the Bills who could be on the block. Further down, we will keep track of the NFL’s deadline deals and rumors.

Interior offensive linemen

Andrew Norwell (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Will Hernandez (New York Giants)
Ereck Flowers (Washington Football Team)

Norwell is a high-priced free agent and also under contract for 2022, so it wouldn’t necessarily be a one-year rental. In fact, in order to fit him under the cap at his $7 million cap hit, they might need to extend him as part of the trade. Hernandez makes more sense financially at just $1.2 million. Flowers is a little more expensive at $1.75 million.

Tight end

Evan Engram (New York Giants)
Hayden Hurst (Atlanta Falcons)
Lee Smith (Atlanta Falcons)
Jacob Hollister (Jacksonville Jaguars)

Dawson Knox is expected back in the next week or two, but the injury highlighted that their tight end position is very thin. Engram or Hurst wouldn’t need to be the 1A starter, but both could split time with Knox or be a high-quality second tight end. At $3.5 million, Engram would be expensive and would need a roster move for Buffalo to get under the cap. Hurst only costs $1.2 million in 2021 and with Kyle Pitts in Atlanta and an expiring contract, the Falcons don’t need him. They could even give Jacob Hollister a look with the Jaguars (he was inactive this week) or bring back Lee Smith from the Atlanta Falcons.


Kyle Fuller (Denver Broncos)
Desmond King (Houston Texans)

The Broncos are in sell mode after shipping Von Miller to the Los Angeles Rams. At $5.3 million, it would be a tight squeeze and necessitate at least one if not multiple financial moves to get the deal done for Fuller. (We talked more about Fuller a couple weeks ago.) King could also potentially replace Isaiah McKenzie as punt returner, but as a cornerback would also be an upgrade either as the second or third outside CB. At $1.2 million, he would certainly be cheaper and they don’t need to start him right away. Plus, he was just suspended for missing a team function, so his value won’t be lower.

Buffalo Bills on the block

In addition to draft picks, who could be on the trading block for the Buffalo Bills? Will anyone want these players? What will it cost financially? These all seem pretty darn unlikely.

DEs Mario Addison, Jerry Hughes, or Efe Obada

I don’t think any of these are likely, but there has been some national buzz around moving one of them. Moving on from Hughes would save $3.5 million and Addison wouldn’t clear anything really. Buffalo would move on from $2.4 million in salary, but his $2 million singing bonus pro-ration from 2022 would accelerate to this year. They would save less than a million bucks trading Obada, if you’re curious.

OG Cody Ford

Teams are looking for high-quality depth on the offensive line and Ford fits that mold, but if other teams want him, why would the Bills trade him? His salary is low and he’s cost-controlled in 2022. This one does not make sense unless someone is willing to overpay.

DT Vernon Butler

I’ve been trying to trade Butler since this summer, but he was active on Sunday. Hopefully it was as a showcase. It clears $1.8 million and a roster spot for someone else.