Brandon Beane, general manager of the Buffalo Bills, has become known for wheeling and dealing to help elevate his football team to a new level—and often, those deals come unexpectedly and include a big splash. The acquisitions of receiver Stefon Diggs and edge rusher Von Miller come to mind.
As the NFL trade deadline was fast approaching yesterday, it looked as if the Bills were going to sit tight with the players already on the roster. The only move the team had made was to announce that they would be elevating cornerback Tre’Davious White to the 53-man roster—a move that everyone knew was coming, since his three-week window after being back with the team from his stint on the PUP list was expiring.
Then, just moments before the clock expired, Beane waved his magic wand (or pen, actually) as he inked not one deal but two trades that would bolster the roster of a team already favorites to appear in Super Bowl LVII.
“Neither one of these moves were near happening at one o’clock,” Beane admitted in a press conference with media on Wednesday. In that press conference, Beane opened up about what went into making the trade-day roster decisions.
“I’m always going to look. If it makes sense for the Buffalo Bills, I’m going to try to make a move,” he said about looking into several players, while also noting that he was confident in the roster the team had the day before the trade deadline. “If these hadn’t happened, I would be here saying we believe in who we got. Which we do.”
But trades did happen, and one of those was to bring safety Dean Marlowe back to Buffalo. Marlowe had played for the Bills from 2018 through 2020, and returns to provide insurance should either of the team’s safety tandem of Jordan Poyer and Damar Hamlin need to be off the field for an extended period of time. Micah Hyde is already on Injured Reserve.
“With Micah out and Jordan nicked up, he gives us experience,” Beane said. He then added that Poyer’s most recent injury scare, an elbow injury coming out of Sunday night’s win over the Green Bay Packers that has the All-Pro listed as day-to-day, was secondary to the decision to look for a safety. “Even before Jordan got hurt, knowing Micah was out, we were looking at 10 guys. We felt Dean was the best fit.”
The bigger “splash” move for Beane and crew, the one that has had everyone talking for weeks with names flying around like footballs during pre-game warm-ups, was the acquisition of a running back.
“There were a lot of rumors. Most were just that,” Beane said, referencing the fact that the Bills had been linked to news about being interested in Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara.
Beane went on to explain that he has scouts who are responsible for watching what’s happening with specific teams, and to watch and listen for any buzz around key players.
“It’s their job to look at them, watch film, make calls. Sometimes I don’t even know,” he explained. “Sometimes when you hear we’re involved, it’s just part of that process.”
Beane indicated that was the case with New Orleans Saints running back Kamara, and that the team hadn’t even received a return call—again, not unusual in the business of scouting players, according to the general manager.
He did say that he himself had had a conversation with the Carolina Panthers’ GM about McCaffrey, however, but also said he never went so far as to make an offer—and the running back was ultimately sent to the San Francisco 49ers last week.
In the end, Beane did add a new running back to the Bills’ roster, but not one that they had been “rumored” to be involved in talks about.
“We checked on him training camp of COVID, and then again last offseason before McKissic, and then ultimately drafted (James Cook),” Beane said about Nyheim Hines, the newest member of the Bills’ offense. “He’s more of a guy that’s just a weapon with the ball in his hand.”
Beane mentioned the potential that Hines has as not only an offensive weapon out of the backfield for jet sweeps, wildcat, and a slot receiver, but also his ability as a punt returner—something Buffalo has been looking for since receiver and returner Jamison Crowder was lost to a broken ankle after the Bills’ Week 4 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
So, as the Buffalo Bills added three players to their roster yesterday—if you include White’s return—the question is, are they now in a better position to win it all this season?