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Buffalo Bills Links, 3/17: Bills address holes in free agency

Bills add WR Emmanuel Sanders, P Matt Haack, trade TE Lee Smith.

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After going 3-for-3 in retaining their own top free agents (guard/center Jon Feliciano, linebacker Matt Milano, and tackle Daryl Williams) the Buffalo Bills were active in the early part of free agency. In today’s edition of the Bills daily links, we break down the news, signings and trades from One Bills Drive.

Buffalo found its replacement for wide receiver John Brown, bringing in Emmanuel Sanders on a one-year deal. Sanders spent 2020 with the New Orleans Saints, catching 61 passes for 726 yards with five touchdowns.

The Bills also signed former Miami Dolphins punter Matt Haack to a three-year deal, and traded tight end Lee Smith to the Atlanta Falcons for a late-round draft pick in 2022. We dissect the moves and discuss how Sanders and Haack can help the Bills in 2021.

Through the moves he’s made so far this offseason, we analyze how general manager Brandon Beane is preparing to run it back as a Super Bowl contender this year. We sift through the best remaining options to upgrade the tight end position, find out where former Bills returner Andre Roberts and tackle Ty Nsekhe landed in free agency, hear how defensive tackle Star Lotulelei is planning on returning in 2021, reset what the Bills remaining offseason needs are, and more!

Recently featured on Buffalo Rumblings

Buffalo Bills agree to terms with WR Emmanuel Sanders, per report - Buffalo Rumblings
The Buffalo Bills have agreed to terms with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders according to Dan Fetes of 13 WHAM in Rochester.

2021 NFL Free Agncy: Buffalo Bills sign punter Matt Haack to multi-year deal - Buffalo Rumblings
The former Dolphin stays in the AFC East.

Buffalo Bills trade Lee Smith to Atlanta Falcons, per report - Buffalo Rumblings
It’s for a 2022 late-round pick.

Report: “Several teams engaged” on trading for Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz - Buffalo Rumblings
The tight end would be an upgrade for Buffalo.

Rob Gronkowski considered offer from Buffalo Bills, per report - Buffalo Rumblings
Was Rob Gronkowski close to playing for his hometown team?

Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Star Lotulelei intends to play 2021 NFL season, per report - Buffalo Rumblings
After opting out due to COIVD-19 in 2020, Buffalo’s big run-stuffing DT is set for 2021.

Buffalo Bills free agent Ty Nsekhe signs with Dallas Cowboys - Buffalo Rumblings
Buffalo Bills free agent Ty Nsekhe has signed with the Dallas Cowboys, per his agency.

Micah Hyde contract extension details are in - Buffalo Rumblings
The Buffalo Bills tore up Micah Hyde’s contract and gave him a new one, converting base salary into signing bonus to save cap space in 2021.

AFC East Roundup: Free Agency Wave 1 - Buffalo Rumblings
Teams in the division have been busy early on.

Additional Headlines from the web

Bills add WR Emmanuel Sanders, P Matt Haack, trade TE Lee Smith

Bills agree to terms with receiver Emmanuel Sanders: Latest free agency news, grades and analysis – The Athletic
The latest details on what the Bills have done, where the cap stands and what the moves mean to the big picture of the team’s plan. (Subscription required).

Emmanuel Sanders missed out on the Bills last season. Not this time. | Buffalo Bills News | NFL |
Sanders spent the 2020 season with the New Orleans Saints, where he finished with 61 receptions on 81 targets for 726 yards and five touchdowns.

Bills reportedly set to sign WR Emmanuel Sanders - Democrat & Chronicle
“Bills acquire P Matt Haack, reportedly set to sign WR Emmanuel Sanders,” writes Sal Maiorana.

Bills add Emmanuel Sanders, give Josh Allen another established receiver – The Athletic
“He’s about to turn 34 years old, but Sanders is coming off a year in which he caught 61 passes for 726 yards and five TDs for the Saints,” writes Matthew Fairburn. (Subscription required).

Bills add Emmanuel Sanders to dynamic offense: 4 things to know about WR -
Buffalo finally landed Sanders after a few previous attempts.

Buffalo Bills’ NFL free-agent signings 2021: Emmanuel Sanders added to receiver room - Buffalo Bills Blog- ESPN
A look at the Bills’ free-agent signings, beginning with the addition of an experienced wideout and a re-signing of an important linebacker.

Buffalo Bills, wideout Emmanuel Sanders, 33, agree on a one-year, $6 million contract, source says -
“The Buffalo Bills and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders reached agreement on a one-year, $6 million deal that includes another $500,000 in incentives, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday.”

5 thoughts and a grade on Buffalo Bills signing Emmanuel Sanders -
Bills inked 34-year-old to one-year deal to replace John Brown.

Bills’ Stefon Diggs reacts to Emmanuel Sanders joining team -
Buffalo’s No. 1 receiver is a fan of the move.

Buffalo Bills sign free agent punter Matt Haack to 3-year contract -
Haack spent his first three seasons punting for the Miami Dolphins.

Bills agree to terms with former Dolphins punter Matt Haack | Buffalo Bills News | NFL |
“The move could spell the end of the line in Buffalo for incumbent punter Corey Bojorquez, who is a restricted free agent and has yet to be tendered a contract that would keep him with the Bills,” writes Vic Carucci.

Bills agree to terms with punter Matt Haack - WGR 550
“The Buffalo Bills have agreed to terms on a three-year contract with punter Matt Haack, the team announced on Tuesday,” writes Sal Capaccio.

Bills agree to terms with punter Matt Haack -
Punter Matt Haack has agreed to terms on a three-year deal the Buffalo Bills.

Bills sign Matt Haack: 3 things to know about new punter -
Haack has converted some trick plays in his career.

5 things to know about new Bills punter Matt Haack | Buffalo Bills News | NFL |
“Haack, 26, had punted 307 times for a gross average of 44.7 yards and has put 114 punts inside the 20-yard line. His career net average is 39.9.”

Reports: Bills sign Emmanuel Sanders; trade Lee Smith - WGR 550
“The Buffalo Bills have agreed to terms on a contract with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, while also trading tight end Lee Smith to the Atlanta Falcons, according to two separate reports Tuesday night,” writes Sal Capaccio.

Reports: Bills sign Sanders, trade Lee Smith | News 4 Buffalo - WIVB
“The Bills’ focus so far this offseason had been on retaining their own players but it seems they’ve shifted their attention,” writes Josh Reed.

Bills trade Lee Smith to Atlanta Falcons for 2022 draft pick -
The Bills’ veteran tight end is Atlanta bound.

Report: Bills trading tight end Lee Smith to Falcons | Buffalo Bills News | NFL |
Smith, 32, was due to become an unrestricted free agent Wednesday.

Bills ready to run it back in 2021

Bills are one step closer to building a super team - WGR 550
One year after making an enormous splash with the Stefon Diggs signing, the Buffalo Bills took a big step toward making themselves even more of a Super Bowl contender.

Negotiations between Feliciano, Bills ‘got serious quick’ in leading to three-year deal | Buffalo Bills News | NFL |
“Feliciano, 29, became the third key free agent to re-sign with the Bills – joining linebacker Matt Milano and right tackle Daryl Williams – before the start of free agency,” writes Jay Skurski.

Bills’ Star Lotulelei returning for 2021 season (Report) -
Lotulelei opted out on the 2020 season and was missed on the Bills’ defensive line.

Bills linebacker Tyler Matakevich agrees to contract extension | Buffalo Bills News | NFL |
“It is expected that the new deal will provide the Bills with some relief under the salary cap in 2021,” writes Jay Skurski.

Best tight end options remaining

Bills’ best remaining tight end options with Rob Gronkowski, Jonnu Smith off the board – The Athletic
“After recalibrating the tight end market with who’s left, here is a look at who the Bills could still land this offseason and whether it would be worth their time,” writes Joe Buscaglia. (Subscription required).

Rob Gronkowski reportedly considered Bills before re-signing with Buccaneers -
The Bills are reportedly looking to add a tight end in free agency.

Former Bills Andre Roberts, Ty Nsekhe find new homes

Bills returner Andre Roberts set to sign with Texans | Buffalo Bills News | NFL |
He is a three-time Pro Bowl selection, including each of his two years in Buffalo.

Bills lose Pro Bowl KR/PR Andre Roberts to Texans: 5 free agent ideas to replace him -
Roberts led the NFL in kick return average in 2020.

Bills offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe to sign with Cowboys | Buffalo Bills News | NFL |
“Veteran offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe has reached a deal to sign with the Dallas Cowboys,” writes Jay Skurski.

Odds and ends

Resetting the market at Bills’ positions of need ahead of official start to free agency | Buffalo Bills News | NFL |
Jay Skurski presents an updated look at the list of notable players who have reached contract agreements and a partial list of those who are still available at positions of need for the Bills.

With top of edge-rush market in NFL free agency drying up fast, who might be option for Bills? | Buffalo Bills News | NFL |
If the Bills are still shopping for an edge rusher, some notable names remain available.

Stefon Diggs Trade One Year Ago Today | Buffalo Bills -
“On the one year anniversary of the Stefon Diggs trade see how it all went down with insight from GM Brandon Beane.”

How Patriots' free agency spending spree impacts Bills' grip on AFC East – The Athletic
Before you dismiss the Patriots and scoff at the idea of building a contender in free agency, remember that’s exactly what the Bills did. (Subscription required).