With the 2016 NFL league year set to begin on March 9 at 4:00 p.m. ET, teams are ready to start making moves and bringing free agents in for meetings and signings. Given the Buffalo Bills' lack of salary cap space and need to re-sign their own prominent free agents, it's likely that the team won't be as active this year in free agency as they were last season. Still, they're going to dip into the pool for a few roster fillers and role players, so it's worth taking a look at who's available, and who might be a prime target for GM Doug Whaley and the rest at One Bills Drive when the time comes.
Possible targets: Josh Johnson
This position is more or less settled, at least until the season starts. Tyrod Taylor is the unquestioned starter, and EJ Manuel is probably the backup. That said, Whaley is on record as wanting to bring in at least one more arm, although that's likely to be by way of the 2016 NFL Draft. If not, Johnson knows the system, and would come at a rock-bottom price, assuming he's available after the draft.
Likelihood of a Bills signing: Low
Possible targets: Bilal Powell, Fred Jackson
The necessity of a free agent pickup is going to depend on the outcome of the LeSean McCoy investigation, and whether or not Roger Goodell issues a suspension. Either way, since both McCoy and Karlos Williams missed multiple games with injuries last season, an extra body or two is in order. Rex Ryan is a known fan of Powell from his time with the Jets, and Jackson's body of work and ties to the organization speak for themselves. If price becomes an issue, Cierre Wood spent time with the team last season, and could be a good fourth back behind Mike Gillislee.
Likelihood of a Bills signing: Medium
Possible targets: Mohamed Sanu, Rueben Randle, Jordan Norwood
If the Bills are going to make a splash this offseason (aside from securing their own free agents), this would be the position where it would happen. That said, however, there's no need for a top-flight pickup, and there really isn't one available anyway. There are plenty of receivers who could push Robert Woods (who is entering the final year of his rookie deal), however, and Sanu has "career second receiver" written all over him. There are some other guys who could fill the role as well, including Randle and Jermaine Kearse (although it would be a shock to see him leave Seattle). Norwood, he of the longest punt return in Super Bowl history, could be the answer to the Bills' return game woes, as well.
As for tight end, the Bills aren't likely to commit many resources to the position after doling out a huge contract to Charles Clay, and could very well roll with Clay, Chris Gragg, and Nick O'Leary as their group into training camp. If they sign anybody, it'll likely be someone with ties to the team or Ryan, such as MarQueis Gray or Kellen Davis.
Likelihood of a Bills signing: Medium
Possible targets: Will Beatty, Russell Okung, Andre Smith, Manny Ramirez, J'Marcus Webb
Please keep in mind, these targets are under the assumption that Cordy Glenn and Richie Incognito sign elsewhere for next season. Every indication is that the Bills would much rather keep their own players than sign anybody from the free agent pool.
If they have to, however, the talent pool isn't very deep, and on the wrong side of 30. Okung is the second-best tackle in the class aside from Glenn, although he represents himself in contract talks and seems to have had issues with Seattle's front office, so signing him to a contract could be dicey. Beatty isn't a great left tackle, but he has plenty of experience and would probably cost half of what Glenn is going to make. Smith could be a target at right tackle, depending on Jordan Mills' negotiations and the health of Seantrel Henderson and Cyrus Kouandjio.
Among the guards, Ramirez and Webb offer the most flexibility among the available talent. Ramirez is 33, but he has significant starting experience at both guard and center, which is especially important given the lack of depth behind Eric Wood. Webb is a bottom-tier lineman, but he also has starting experience and can play guard and tackle. He'd be a great backup or spot starter.
Likelihood of a Bills signing: High