1. An inside look into the Bills-Panthers pipeline
In the past, the Bills have acquired players via trade or in free agency who have ties to the Carolina Panthers due in part to the fact that general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott both spent time working for Carolina.
On last year's roster, Kurt Coleman and Star Lotulelei were some of the players who came to Buffalo by way of spending time with the Panthers. McDermott was the defensive coordinator in Carolina from 2011 to 2016. Beane was the director of football operations from 2008 to 2014 before taking on the role of assistant general manager from 2015 to 2016.
With Beane and McDermott entering year four together in Buffalo, they welcome corner Josh Norman who played for the Panthers from 2012 to 2015. Reportedly, the Bills add defensive end Mario Addison who was a member of the Panthers from 2012 to 2019, linebacker A.J. Klein who played for Carolina from 2013 to 2015 and defensive end Vernon Butler who was drafted by the Panthers in 2016.
Carolina Panthers play-by-play voice Mick Mixon joined WGR to talk about all the Panthers additions to the Bills roster. Mixon said Addison will be a great fit in the locker room.
"I promise you this, Sean McDermott is going to get whatever Super Mario has left to give and it could be a substantial amount of productive football," Mixon said. "He has been known for this get-off, this burst off the edge. He's a fantastic guy, tremendously active in the community. He will be a positive force in the locker room in the most unnoticeable kind of way, he will just fit in."
Beane and McDermott already have their culture in place at One Bills Drive but are always looking to add players who can help enhance it. These reported four new players will be tasked with just that as well as adding to a defense that needed depth after Lorenzo Alexander retired and Jordan Phillips, Shaq Lawson moved to new teams in free agency.
Scroll through to view the latest updates on Buffalo's reported additions to the roster through free agency.
2. This Bills player could have a big season in fantasy football
With the reported addition of Stefon Diggs to Buffalo's roster, fantasy footballers may want to keep an eye on Diggs as well as Josh Allen as potential draft targets in your next fantasy football draft. Why? NFL Network senior fantasy analyst Michael Fabiano thinks Diggs will get more targets than last year which will in turn help Allen's stats.
"Last year he had the fewest targets he has seen since his rookie year," Fabiano said. "He was a wide receiver two in Minnesota, I feel like he is a wide receiver two in Buffalo maybe sees a little uptick in value. Josh Allen's got that big arm but much like Kyler Murray, Josh Allen's the big winner here. I mean Allen was the QB seven last year. Now you add Stefon Diggs, a playmaker in his prime to go along with John Brown and Devin Singletary. This is an offense that could be very fantasy friendly. Josh Allen's moving up and Stefon Diggs likely to be a fourth or fifth round pick in most fantasy drafts."
Last year with Minnesota, Diggs averaged 9.9 fantasy points per game per fantasydata.com. His season high was in Week 6 against the Eagles when he racked up 36.5 fantasy points from scoring three touchdowns along with seven catches for 167 yards.
3. Buffalo receives this grade for the addition of Mario Addison
ESPN writer Bill Barnwell is grading all of the biggest free agency moves of 2020 and he gave the Bills a 'B' for acquiring defensive end Mario Addison.
The rush of former Panthers to Western New York continues, as Addison joins former Panthers teammates Star Lotulelei and Josh Norman in playing for former Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. I'm not sure there is a more underrated pass-rusher in the NFL than Addison, who ranks 11th in sacks (39.5) over the past four seasons. ...
Barnwell said it's harder to find a player like Addison rather than a player like Shaq Lawson, explaining the role Addison can fill will be one that can help the Bills win. With the AFC East looking quite different than it did last week, Buffalo is looking like an early favorite to win the division.
Addison likely took a bit of a discount to play for McDermott, given how much edge rushers are being paid. That is a useful reminder of how quickly the story has flipped for Buffalo, which was once thought of as a place free agents wouldn't want to go. It's also an indicator of where the Bills are; with Tom Brady leaving the Patriots, the Bills are the favorites to win the AFC East. Spending 5% of the cap on a 32-year-old edge rusher who might play only 50% of the defensive snaps wouldn't have made sense for the Bills for much of the Brady era. Now, having rebuilt their roster and waited out the Patriots, Buffalo is rightfully in win-now mode.