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Quick Hits - Beane: Big free agent spending is done

Posted Mar 16, 2018

Bills GM Brandon Beane covered the week that was in terms of player acquisition, trades and the upcoming draft now that the team's drafts assets are improved.

1. Big free agent spending is done
The Bills were active during the first week of free agency, mixing a pair of trades with the signing of five new players for the roster. After adding Star Lotulelei, Trent Murphy, Julian Stanford, Rafael Bush and AJ McCarron, GM Brandon Beane stated that the bulk of their free agent spending is over.

“We’re very low on money,” said Beane. “We can do some lower level things, but nothing that’s going to hit the (news) ticker.”

So what might that mean for some of Buffalo’s own free agents who are still out on the market?

“We’re still talking with a lot of guys,” Beane said. “We would love to have them back, but other than that, until something is done that’s where it’s at.”

2. Holding draft cards close
After the Bills enhanced their draft capital in their trade with Cincinnati to move up nine slots in round one of the 2018 draft from pick 21 to 12, and add a pick at the top of the third round in a trade with Cleveland, there is a prevailing theory that Buffalo will make a move into the top five to select one of the top-rated quarterback prospects.

Beane believes all of that is very premature, but Buffalo’s personnel boss is excited they’re in a more favorable position to draft a better prospect at 12 than before.

“I know everybody assumes we’re going higher. I don’t know that. I honestly don’t,” said Beane. “But there are some players who are going to be at 12, whether it’s quarterback or another position who I know would not have fallen to 21. I’m excited about that.

“There are some guys that we were talking about right before we went to the combine with our scouts and I said, ‘We’re wasting our time with this guy. He ain’t falling to 21. This guy is a top 10 or 12 pick. He ain’t getting past 15.’ We’re in the range for those guys now. That’s not necessarily quarterback. At the end of the day we’re going to get a better player. You’re getting a player of more value there.”

When pressed on the possibility of moving up to add a third quarterback to their roster, Beane wasn’t going to predict the future, knowing even if it is his intention to try to move higher that you have to find a willing trade partner.

“We’ll see. We’ve got six weeks until the draft. Over that time, I’m really going to get to know every player, not just the quarterbacks, of who we’re going to consider.”

3. Heavy homework on McCarron
Beane chose to take the methodical approach with the free agent quarterback market. When other clubs were scrambling to fill the most important position on the roster, Beane and his personnel department took a deep breath and did some final research on their target, AJ McCarron.

That included speaking as late as this past Tuesday to Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson, who was McCarron’s offensive coordinator in Cincinnati, and some others who coached McCarron.

“I actually spoke to (Browns head coach) Hue Jackson the night before we signed him, texted two other coaches of his that I know and the one word that they both gave me in describing him that I loved was competitor. I love that,” said Beane. “This guy has an edge to him. He’s been backing up Andy Dalton, who is their franchise guy. He started four games, should’ve won a playoff game and had an unfortunate fumble. They were down 15-0 in the fourth quarter and brought them back. Made a big throw to AJ Green.

“We watched every throw of his and what he did and thought he did some really good things and has some upside. We’ve got him and Nathan (Peterman) on the roster right now and those two guys will compete and we’ll see what else happens between now and that first game.”