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Buffalo Bills: How does this team get better next season?

Josh Allen Bills Fantasy Studs
Buffalo Bills: How does this team get better next season?

After a season ending loss to the Bengals, we break down what the Buffalo Bills need to do to improve for next season and beyond.

Unfortunately, the 2022 season ended in familiar fashion for the Buffalo Bills. The dominant display the Bengals put on Sunday afternoon marked the fourth straight year they’ve been eliminated in the AFC playoffs.

Obviously losing in the playoffs is demoralizing, especially as one of the contenders, but this team still has plenty of pieces to work with to build the team for next year.

Josh Allen received a lot of criticism in this game and throughout the season. Allen wasn’t at his best on Sunday, but the truth of the matter is Allen is still one of the games very best quarterbacks and he’s still just 26 years old.

An elite quarterback is the most important factor to making a Super Bowl run and with Allen the Bills have that, so they must focus on how to best construct this roster around him.

Any free agent information was found using Spotrac

Big Picture

Cap Space:

$-15,983,850- 26th in NFL

Draft Picks:

1st Round 28th Overall (Own pick)

2nd 60th Overall (Own pick)

3rd Round 92nd Overall (Own pick)

4th Round(Own Pick)

5th Round (Cardinals Pick)

5th Round (Own Pick)

Notable Free Agents:

S Jordan Poyer

LB Tremaine Edmunds

RB Devin Singletary

G Rodger Saffold

OT David Quessenberry

DL Jordan Phillips

ED Shaq Lawson

CB Dane Jackson

With negative cap space coming into the offseason the Buffalo Bills likely won’t be able to afford to make a big splash in free agency like they did last offseason with the Von Miller signing.

Much of the offseason for them is going to be about restructuring contracts in order to navigate the salary cap. This may catch up to them in the future however considering they went all-in last offseason I don’t see them stopping now.

They likely aren’t going to be able to bring back everyone that they want to bring back. Thus, they have to prioritize certain players and certain position groups.

Who to bring back?

Tremaine Edmunds

Edmunds might be difficult to bring back as he’s going to be just 25 years old and is coming off of the best season of his career. Thus, it’s important the Bills don’t overpay for him.

Edmunds is a good player, but paying top dollar for a linebacker with Matt Milano on the roster might not be the best team building strategy for them.

So, should they try to bring him back? Yes, but it does need to be for the right price.

Jordan Poyer

Another key piece to the Buffalo Bills defense is a free agent and that is Jordan Poyer. The 31 year old safety is one of the better safeties in the league right now.

Being on the wrong side of 30, Poyer shouldn’t command top dollar. I think a two or three year deal for around $10 million per year is a good estimate of what Poyer will command.

If that’s what the market ends up being for him I believe that would be worth it for them and I think amongst their current free agents alongside Edmunds he should be of the highest priority to bring back.

Devin Singletary

After using a second round pick on James Cook and trading for Nyheim Hines during the season it’ll be interesting to see how much the Bills value bringing back Devin Singletary.

My assumption would be that they’re planning on letting Singletary go. Although Singletary is a solid back, letting him go is the right decision in my opinion.

Giving running backs a second contract rarely provides teams with much value. Plus, improving the offensive line will be a bigger factor in finding a more consistent run game than resigning Singletary would.

Rodger Saffold

Saffold will be 35 years old by next season, plus he’s coming off a season where he got a 44.1 grade from PFF. With that being said, the Buffalo Bills need to look elsewhere for their starting left guard next season.

Where Do They Need to Improve?

Wide Receiver

Stefon Diggs is one of the game’s very best receivers, but it’s important to have multiple weapons in the passing game in today’s game. Too much of the Bills offense this season was reliant on Diggs and Allen.

Gabe Davis is a solid receiver, but asking him to be the number two option at receiver on a team expected to contend for the super bowl is too much.

There’s no perfect solution, especially considering that it’s a pretty weak free agent class at wide receiver. However, in a draft class with plenty of good late round one or round two options at receiver they could add another weapon to their offense via the draft.

I also think they should at least explore the trade market for receivers. With the value of receivers going through the roof it wouldn’t be surprising if teams looked into trading them before having to give them a big contract.

Ultimately, it’s not necessarily likely as the price to land another receiver may be too steep to make a deal happen. However, adding another high quality receiver to this offense could be what this team needs to get over the hump in the postseason. Thus, it’s something the Buffalo Bills should be at least looking into.

Offensive Line

One of the biggest things that held the Buffalo Bills back from fulfilling their potential this season is their offensive line. This is something they can get away with in the regular season, but in the playoffs against the league’s very best it’s hard to win with a subpar offensive line.

For starters, they are forced to be too one-dimensional at times. Passing is king in today’s league, but it’s still important to be able to run the ball a little bit. They also need to do a better job of protecting Josh Allen as the pressure the Bengals put on him was a big reason the Bills struggled on offense.

Dion Dawkins was solid at left tackle this season however aside from him there really isn’t anyone along the offensive line they shouldn’t at least consider replacing.

They don’t have the cap space to bring in any stars along the offensive line, but if they can find cheap, starting quality offensive line options on the free agent market that should be something they’re pursuing.

There’s a lot of offensive line free agents but there’s three players that stick out to me as players the Bills could be looking to sign. Those include Cardinals tackle Kelvin Beachum, Commanders guard Trai Turner, and Rams guard Oday Aboushi. All three players could help out this offensive line and won’t command too much money.

Run Stopper Along Defensive Line

The Bills run defense isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s something that can be exploited at times and that showed up in the Bengals game. Even with three backups starting on the offensive line for the Bengals they still managed to run for 5.1 yards per carry.

There’s also no perfect solution to this, but adding one or two run stopping defensive linemen to their rotation could be valuable.

Ultimately, no matter what they do this offseason a lot of their success defensively is going to depend a lot on them staying healthy.
Last season Micah Hyde missed most of the season with a neck injury. Plus, we saw how much the pass rush suffered after Von Miller’s season ending knee injury in week 12.

Both of them are under contract next season and will be back giving them a big boost defensively.

Three Round 2023 NFL Mock Draft

With the needs of the Buffalo Bills headed into the offseason laid out we’ll take a look at how they can improve the roster via the draft.

1st Rnd, 28th Pick: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina

Adding more weapons to the offense so they’re not as reliant on Allen and Diggs making plays is key for this offense being more consistent next season.

Josh Downs is someone who could give this offense a boost. He projects well to the NFL as a slot receiver as he’s a good route runner, has good quickness and change of direction, and he’s dynamic with the ball in his hands.

2nd Rnd, 60th Pick: Mazi Smith, DL Michigan

As I mentioned earlier the Buffalo Bills could benefit from adding a run stopper to their defensive line rotation. Mazi Smith could provide that and would be a good addition in the second round.

Smith is a two year starter at defensive tackle for Michigan and was named first team all Big Ten in 2022.

3rd Rnd, 92 Pick: Luke Wypler, C, Ohio State

After extending Mitch Morse’s contract last offseason he’ll likely start next season. Beyond that however there could be a path to the field for a center if they decide to go that route this draft.

Wypler was an underrated part of the Ohio State offense as he gave up just one sack in his career as a two year starter.


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