The Buffalo Bills head into the offseason with only 40-something players under contract. While last year, they could re-sign everyone and “run it back,” it seems less likely they will be able to do that moving forward in 2022.
Here, we are listing their top needs on offense heading into the offseason. We take into account holes where they have no players to fit the bill as well as potential upgrades we’d like to see.
1. Interior offensive line
Ryan Bates is a restricted free agent who, if tagged, would cost $2.4 million all the way to nearly $4 million for a second-round tag. That’s probably not going to happen, so they will need to sign him to a contract if they want to keep him. Ike Boettger ruptured his Achilles and likely won’t be ready for training camp and is an unrestricted free agent. They only have Daryl Williams, Cody Ford, Jon Feliciano, and Jacob Capra under contract right now, so even if you like the trio of potential starters, they need one more depth option. The guy they drafted in 2022 for depth was signed off their practice squad by the Philadelphia Eagles. Mitch Morse is entering the final year of his deal but is only 30, so perhaps an extension could be in play for him or drafting a down-the-line replacement option. Either way, this position group will be an area of focus.
2. Backup quarterback
Last year, Buffalo upgraded over Matt Barkley by signing Mitch Trubisky, but it was only a one-year deal. They’ve expressed interest in keeping Trubisky, but he’ll look for a better shot at a starting job elsewhere. Several options are available on the free-agent market, and they’ll need to sign one. Davis Webb isn’t good enough to be the primary backup and Jake Fromm, who was drafted to develop into the role, was signed by the New York Giants during the season.
3. Slot wide receiver
Isaiah McKenzie is a free agent and Cole Beasley has clearly lost a step. If they can’t kill two birds with one stone in the draft, they might just re-sign McKenzie as the depth option and kick the can down the road for the final year of Beasley’s contract. General manager Brandon Beane said he expects Beasley back next year, which is a good indication that they don’t want to cut him based off his play. Personally, I’d love to see them address the position with a pick in the middle few rounds of the draft. Either way, they need to make at least one move here.
4. Running back
By the end of the season, Devin Singletary had established himself as Buffalo’s back of choice. There are still lingering questions at the top spot, however. Maybe they feel comfortable enough to go with Singletary as the lead back in 2022, but who will be the second guy up? Zack Moss hasn’t lived up to his third-round draft status and Matt Breida is a free agent. Practice squad RB Antonio Williams already signed a new deal with the New York Giants. They’ll need depth bodies at a minimum.
5. Outside wide receiver
Emmanuel Sanders is a free agent at the end of his career, but they have Gabe Davis ready to step into the starting lineup in his third season. Jake Kumerow is also a free agent, which will hurt their depth, but they have Isaiah Hodgins entering his third season in the league. Last year, Buffalo had an absolute embarrassment of riches at the position, but heading into 2022 with Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis, and Hodgins as your top three outside receivers could be okay, especially if you keep Cole Beasley. They’ll need to look to add to the group, but adding a fourth WR is easier than needing an instant contributor.
6. Tight end
Dawson Knox had one of the best seasons ever for a Bills tight end with his 2021 performance and is locked in as the starter heading forward. Tommy Sweeney was mostly inactive down the stretch, playing in one of the final seven games including the playoffs. We’ll have to see what new OC Ken Dorsey wants, because if he wants more two-TE sets, this spot will jump up to the second spot on the list. Reggie Gilliam can fill in if he has to if they stay in single-TE.
7. Offensive tackle
This is the most settled spot on the roster because Buffalo invested into it the last two offseasons. Left tackle Dion Dawkins is set, right tackle Spencer Brown is a 2021 third-round pick, and they added Tommy Doyle later in that same draft to be the future top reserve. The poor play of Daryl Williams moved up the timeline to the middle of 2021 and this is the tackle group that finished the season. If they keep Williams at guard with the ability to kick out to tackle in a pinch, they may not add another tackle at all this offseason.