The Buffalo Bills’ Biggest Roster Needs This Offseason
It hurts. We should be talking about the Buffalo Bills next game at home for the AFC Championship this Sunday at 3:05 pm, but instead, we're talking about the offseason ahead for the Bills and general manager Brandon Beane.
The Bills season came to an end against the Kansas City Chiefs in a 42-36 overtime loss in the AFC Divisional Round.
The Bills lost because of their defense and coaching decisions made in the final 13 seconds; not because of the offense and quarterback Josh Allen.
But what do the Bills need this spring?
Brandon Beane talked about the offseason ahead in his end of season press conference on Wednesday, and expressed his sick to stomach feelings after the loss against the Chiefs; but also mentioned even though the team lost a round earlier in the postseason, the team took a step forward, not back in 2021.
The Bills have a long list of pending unrestricted free agents this offseason. They include:
- Jerry Hughes (DE)
- Mario Addison (DE)
- Vernon Butler (DT)
- Emmanuel Sanders (WR)
- Mitchell Trubisky (QB)
- Ike Boettger (G)
- Levi Wallace (CB)
- Taiwan Jones (ST/RB)
- Efe Obada (DE)
- Isaiah McKenzie (WR)
- Matt Breida (RB)
- Bobby Hart (T)
- Jake Kumerow (WR)
- Harrison Phillips (DT)
- Justin Zimmer (DT)
- Siran Neal (ST/S)
- Ryan Bates (G)
- Tyrel Dodson (LB)
The Bills have no projected cap space, according to Spotrac; in fact, they have $-1.3 million in projected cap space, although we don't know how much the salary cap will increase. That will play a role in how much cap space the Bills ultimately have.
Field Yates reported the Bills projected cap space will be just over $2 million.
The Bills will have to make tough decisions on players, like defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, whose cap hit is $9.2 million in 2022 with a $7.7 million dead cap hit.
Linebacker A.J. Klein has a cap hit of $5.5 million, and offensive lineman Cody Ford has a cap hit of $2.2 million. Will any of those three be released as cap casualties?
Chances are high the Bills will release a few players for cap room, but what will potential cap space be used on?
Yes, the Bills had the number one defense in the 2021 regular season, but they also have deficiencies with secondary depth and consistently stopping the run.
1) The Bills absolutely have got to address secondary depth this offseason with cornerbacks, and even safeties.
2) Making sure someone like Harrison Phillips is resigned, who had a very strong end to the 2021 season. They have to make sure the interior of the defensive line is taken care of.
3) Offensive line help is a must; especially inside at guard. The Bills found a key lineman in Ryan Bates at the end of the season, but he has to still be resigned, plus they need better depth. The line was a disaster when riddled with injuries, as evidence by the Jacksonville game.
4) They have to find more weapons at wide receiver and running back. Yes, they had plenty this past season, but both Sanders and McKenzie are free agents and there's a high likelihood both won't be back. Cole Beasley will be 34 next season. Kumerow is a free agent as well, and right now, after Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis, the Bills are extremely thing all of a sudden at WR.
Whoever is the new offensive coordinator, he would have to be crazy to change up what the Bills do -- which is utilizing Josh Allen's run-pass-option threat and multiple WR looks. The Bills need to add and improve WR in the draft and free agency.
They also need better at running back. Devin Singletary is still the guy, but they've soured on Zack Moss and Breida likely won't return.
The Bills biggest needs are offensive line, cornerback, wide receiver and running back. Safety depth is also a concern, because as great as Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde are, they aren't getting any younger.