The Buffalo Bills addressed their biggest needs by completely revamping their defensive line, as well as signing offensive guard Rodger Saffold. Their starting lineup is almost entirely set, but some positions still need reinforcement. Here are the top targets, as of Friday afternoon, they could add to their roster.
General manager Brandon Beane alluded to having plans in motion at backup quarterback on Friday, and that’s important since Josh Allen is the only QB on the roster for now. One gear may already be turning: Matt Barkley tweeted a message for Buffalo Friday afternoon.
If the Bills weren’t actually signing Barkley, the top available backups would be Ryan Fitzpatrick, Marcus Mariota, and Andy Dalton. Jameis Winston is out of the picture, clearly angling for a starting role. Cam Newton and Jacoby Brissett would make up the next tier down.
The cap-strapped nature of the Bills will be most evident at receiver, where plenty of talented players remain on the market, but maybe not for the prices Buffalo would like. Take Julio Jones, Jarvis Landry, and Odell Beckham Jr, all of whom could be no worse than the number-two target on most teams, but therefore should be looking for at least $7 million on their next contract.
Lower-cost players include Jamison Crowder, Keelan Cole, Adam Humphries, Albert Wilson, Sammy Watkins, and Damiere Byrd.
Potential bargains on the market include Marquise Goodwin, James Washington, and Dede Westbrook, who should all cost less than $3 million for their contracts. For young slot options, DaeSean Hamilton and Richie James wouldn’t cost much and might still have developmental upside.
At the moment, Buffalo’s swing tackle is second-year pro Tommy Doyle, who has taken exactly 65 snaps on offense in his career. So they need extra options here, even though the starters are locked.
Bobby Hart could work, already familiar with the Bills’ staff. Ty Nsekhe is another free agent who used to play in Buffalo. Marcus Cannon, Bobby Massie, Riley Reiff, and Mike Remmers are all veterans getting up in age with plenty of starting experience.
Sam Tevi, Julie’n Davenport, Brandon Parker, Jason Spriggs, and Tyrell Crosby represent the 27-and-under club with starting experience.
Interior offensive line
With Ryan Bates still unsigned and Jon Feliciano gone, the Bills don’t have a backup center. Rodger Saffold has played four positions on the OL, but center isn’t one of them. Same goes for Cody Ford.
Several centers already signed during free agency, and since the Bills locked up Mitch Morse with an extension, it’s likely that they’d be targeting a backup-level player. Ethan Pocic, Nick Martin, and B.J. Finney are the primary candidates. Brett Jones and Greg Mancz are two other options.
Levi Wallace signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and that leaves the Bills with Dane Jackson as their top cornerback until Tre’Davious White finishes rehabbing his torn ACL. The rest of the roster features a couple practice squad players, so the Bills need reinforcements. Now that the cornerback market is shaking out, the team should be able to find a player who costs less than $3 million in 2022.
Joe Haden and Patrick Peterson, elite for a long time in the NFL, are now 32 and 31 years old, respectively, and might be more affordable for the Bills now that their speed is starting to diminish. Xavier Rhodes, Richard Sherman, T.J. Carrie, and Jimmy Smith are a few more players who might fit the elder statesman role for the locker room.
If Buffalo wants a bona fide starter, their top target should be Donte Jackson. Kyle Fuller, Steven Nelson, Mackensie Alexander, and Fabian Moreau would also qualify as players who could start on the outside for the next couple years.
While the Bills restructured Matt Haack’s contract, it’s cheap enough that they could cut him in favor of someone better from the free-agent market.
Johnny Hekker, the top prize, already signed a three-year deal with the Carolina Panthers. But Bryan Anger is still available, as is Thomas Morstead and Michael Palardy. The Bills could always call up Corey Bojorquez, assuming he learned how to hold a football.