1 – Hi Chris,
Many thanks for all the updates and info this past season. With all the focus on the upcoming draft is there any chance the Bills look to keep Tyrod with a new OC whose scheme may better fit Tyrod’s skill set? Then look to fill holes with all the draft picks they have acquired and/or hope one of the non-top 5 QB’s are still there at 21/22? I realize it is early in the process as GM Beane noted and a lot could change.
CB: You’re right that a lot can change between now and the week after the NFL draft. That being said, I think there is a real possibility that Tyrod Taylor remains the starter. There is a lot of uncertainty regarding the quarterback position in terms of what could be available in free agency and who is affordable in a way that doesn’t cripple a team’s cap situation.
As for new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, he certainly comes in with very recent experience working with a mobile quarterback in Alabama’s Jalen Hurts.
I’m sure there will be a lot of conversations among the offensive staff this offseason as to what, and with whom, their best approach would be to move the offense forward. The passing game was frankly substandard last season. Can Daboll help to improve it with Taylor in the lineup?
That’s the big question.
The next question is what other quarterback talent can the Bills realistically acquire in terms of price tag and/or draft capital.
There may not be defined answers on the draft capital question until a week or two before the draft. And with more demand than supply concerning free agent QBs, the price to acquire one is going up and some teams are likely going to overpay.
I get the sense that Bills GM Brandon Beane isn’t big on overpaying, even at QB.
2 – Hi Chris,
Do you think the Bills will draft another wide receiver? Or do you believe that Kelvin Benjamin, Jordan Matthews, Zay Jones, Deonte Thompson, and Brandon Tate are sufficient?
Daytona Beach, FL
CB: Perhaps the most important factor about your question is 60 percent of the players you mentioned are impending free agents. Matthews, Thompson and Tate all have expiring contracts come March.
It’s hard to know what each of those players is thinking, although I do know that Thompson enjoyed playing in Buffalo this past year having spoken with him.
Matthews needs a high-volume passing attack to maximize his value. Over the last three years the Bills are dead last in the league in pass attempts at just over 29 per game. Unless there’s a dramatic shift planned by offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, or a significant change at QB, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jordan Matthews looks elsewhere.
Let’s not forget too that he’s coming off a pair of offseason surgeries, so he may have to sign a one-year prove it deal, and that would only increase his need to find a high-volume passing attack.
Thompson and Tate should be affordable options to bring back to the fold. Hopefully a full offseason helps Kelvin Benjamin blend into the passing game more effectively and Zay Jones takes a big step in season two of his career.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills
What position do you see the Bills making their biggest-dollar signing at in free agency, presuming they look to make another Micah Hyde-level signing?
CB: I don’t get the overwhelming sense that the Bills will be big spenders in free agency. GM Brandon Beane has made it clear he is still trying to get the Bills cap in a more flexible position and sees free agency as a means to set themselves up for the draft.
To me that means filling some positional holes with value-based signings, not big splash type moves.
If there were to be a signing the level of Micah Hyde this offseason I think it would be at linebacker, defensive tackle or cornerback. And to be clear, not all three, but rather at one of those three positions. That is where they are short on numbers when it comes to starting-caliber players.
It’s reasonable to believe Beane would like to have a starting-caliber player plugged in at one of those positions prior to the draft at the very least.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills
There are numerous reports out there that the Bills have been scouting Josh Rosen extensively, do you think the Bills perceived high interest in him is smoke and mirrors, or will do what’s necessary to go get him?
CB: To be truthful I’d be disappointed if the Bills didn’t scout Josh Rosen and every other top quarterback prospect extensively. Buffalo’s scouting department wouldn’t be doing their level best if they didn’t scout each QB prospect extensively. It’s par for the course.
To what lengths would the Bills go to land Rosen, or any other QB prospect that may be at the top of their board?
That’s tough to peg, only because I believe it will largely depend on how the top of the board unfolds.
I don’t see the Bills paying a king’s ransom to get to the top of the board. There are just too many other holes for the team to address. Solving the quarterback position for the long term is perhaps the most important hole to fill, but a dozen other teams are looking to do the same thing.
That drives up the cost of doing business to accomplish that.
I think GM Brandon Beane feels out the market both in free agency and the draft and then makes a judgment call on whether it’s worth paying the price to address the QB position in a way that would satisfy him and head coach Sean McDermott.
I realize that’s probably not a pinpoint answer, but it’s the best I can do at this point.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills
Any chance the Bills draft a 1st round QB AND seek a big name free agent like a Foles, Cousins, or Bridgewater?
CB: I would be surprised if they did both.
The reason why is, if you’re drafting a QB in round one, you’re pretty convinced he’s your long-term answer at the position going forward. If he’s not then you shouldn’t be drafting him in round one.
The thought process is much the same with the free agent QBs you mentioned. If you’re going to land a free agent like Cousins or Bridgewater (provided he’s ruled a free agent – NFL Management Council has to determine this) you’re going to be either be paying franchise QB type money or parting with assets for Foles (who is under contract) that indicates you believe him to be franchise caliber.
If you’re willing to do that in free agency I think you’re committing to that player long term at the position. So drafting a QB in round one as well seems counterintuitive, especially when there are plenty of other positional holes to be filled on the roster.
Tags: 2018 NFL draft, Brandon Tate, Brian Daboll, Deonte Thompson, Fan Friday, Jordan Matthews, Josh Rosen, Kelvin Benjamin, NFL free agency, Tyrod Taylor, Zay Jones
Posted in Inside the Bills
The 2018 offseason is in full swing now with the Super Bowl behind us. Lets’ get to your questions on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.
1 – @ChrisBrownBills
IMO their biggest hole, besides QB is at LB. Do you feel they will address this in FA or the draft? I believe we need a experienced MLB.
CB: Linebacker is unquestionably a hole because of who they could potentially lose to free agency. Preston Brown and Ramon Humber are both free agents. That’s two starting caliber players. Obviously, they could re-sign one or both, but it will be interesting to see if Brown wants to test the market, knowing a player’s second contract is usually the big money one.
Also the Bills would undoubtedly like to get faster at the linebacker position. I believe the team’s decision on Brown will ultimately determine their course of action at linebacker. If he’s back I see them supplementing the position primarily with the draft. If not, it’s likely to be a mix of free agency and the draft.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills
Will Bills look to replace Brian Gaine? I really liked their front office acquisitions last off-season and hope they try and maintain multiple quality personnel and GM types
CB: I think that’s to be determined. With Lake Dawson also up for the Panthers GM job, Buffalo could lose two members of their scouting department. I think when GM Brandon Beane knows whether Dawson is back or not he’ll then assess the duties of those men and decide if they need to replace either by promoting from within and hiring from the outside.
You are right though, Beane assembled a heck of a staff in year one, and the pursuit of some of his hires is a strong validation of that.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills
With the money that Smith and Jimmy G got, so the Bills a) pickup TT option and draft a guy to sit behind him for a year similar to Smith or b) pickup his option and trade him as it would still, at $18 million, be cheaper than signing some of the higher end FA right now?
CB: Getting Tyrod to renegotiate his deal last offseason was an astute move by the Bills. Though some still see the $18M cap hit as tough to swallow, it’s a very reasonable deal. And the chance of them going another season with Tyrod at QB while drafting a QB to groom is possible.
It’s hard to predict which way it will turn, knowing there will be quarterback options in free agency, potentially by trade if the Eagles are willing to listen to offers for Nick Foles and in the draft.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills
Would you personally trade the #Bills’ 21, 22, and RD3 to Denver for the fifth-overall pick if Rosen and Darnold are off the board?
CB: I personally wouldn’t. I think those two are by far the top two QB prospects from all the scouting people I’ve talked to around the league over the last few months. Unless you feel players like Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph are right there with them and still on the board I don’t make that deal.
I think you only give that draft capital up for one of the best QBs in the draft, not QB three or four, especially since I feel there is a drop off that’s more sizable than pick 2 to pick 5.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills
What are the chances they re-sign Gaines?
CB: I think there’s a legitimate chance they’ll make an effort to re-sign him. It all depends on the supply and demand in free agency. The market will have some decent talent available if players don’t re-sign with their current clubs (e.g. Malcolm Butler, Rashaan Melvin, Trumaine Johnson), but I don’t think the Bills want to pay giant money.
Gaines durability issues (he’s missed 26 games over last 3 seasons) figure to make him a more affordable option, plus he’s just 26-years old. So his affordability makes him a realistic re-sign candidate. The only thing that changes that is if they can find a more durable player without having to pay significantly more.
Tags: 2018 NFL draft, Brian Gaine, E.J. Gaines, Fan Friday, Josh Rosen, NFL free agency, Sam Darnold, Tyrod Taylor
Posted in Inside the Bills
The 2017 NFL draft is barely in the rear view mirror and there are already some 2018 mock drafts circulating. Buffalo will have two picks in the first round next year via their trade in this year’s draft with Kansas City. FOXSports.com’s 2018 mock has the Bills taking a quarterback with the first of their two first-round selections.
The bad news is the mock has Buffalo picking seventh overall, which would mean another year without a playoff berth, but looking past that, the mock has USC QB Sam Darnold first off the board to the Jets with the number one pick.
They then have Cleveland, the Rams and the 49ers all taking defensive players before Chicago takes an offensive tackle at five and Washington at six takes Wyoming QB Josh Allen. At pick 7 here is FOXSports.com’s mock selection for Buffalo.
7 – Bills: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
The Bills move on from Tyrod Taylor and go with Rosen, who showed flashes of greatness when he was healthy at UCLA.
Rosen, who was a sophomore last season, played in only six games last season. Poor pass protection kept him under fire and eventually led to a season-ending throwing shoulder injury. Suffice to say Rosen, and his throwing shoulder will be closely monitored this fall.
Another QB to watch that not many are talking about is Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham. The transfer from Baylor is expected to start for the Tigers this year, and many believe he’ll have great success and become a top prospect.
With Buffalo’s second first-round pick, the mock has the Bills taking a top end running back.
19 – Bills (From Chiefs): Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Shady McCoy’s replacement — Guice is the game breaker the Bills will make the focal point of their offense in 2018.
Tags: 2018 NFL draft, Derrius Guice, Josh Rosen
Posted in Inside the Bills