1. Buffalo named one of eight NFL teams to define the 2019 NFL offseason
The start of free agency has already led to many surprising changes for teams around the NFL. Some teams have aimed on the side of the big flashy move like the Browns who traded for Odell Beckham Jr. while other teams have quietly readied themselves for 2019. The Ringer identified the teams that have defined the 2019 offseason and cited the Bills for their work thus far in the calendar year.
The Bills have signed eight players since free agency opened on Wednesday. They re-signed their own players like Jordan Phillips, Dean Lacey, Reid Ferguson and Lorenzo Alexander since the regular season has ended. Buffalo also promoted Chad Hall to wide receivers’ coach and named Ken Dorsey the newest quarterback coach as they readied themselves for next season.
Bills GM Brandon Beane may not have made any headline-grabbing deals in free agency, but collectively, Buffalo has used its abundance of cap space in fascinating ways.
The Ringer explained that Morse’s contract was market-setting and will secure the center position for the first time since Eric Wood’s abrupt retirement. The Bills were “more frugal and creative” on its other signings. The Bills signed three additional offensive linemen, (Spencer Long, Jon Feliciano, Ty Nsekhe) they complimented Beane’s approach of signing talent for cheap with the hopes they can fill some starting spots.
The Ringer also complimented the signings of John Brown and Cole Beasley.
Brown’s ability as an outside-the-numbers deep threat seems to fit well with second-year starter Josh Allen’s strong arm and willingness to push the ball down the field, and Beasley gives Buffalo an over-the-middle option that the team lacked last season. Allen struggled in his rookie year as a short to intermediate passer, but Beane’s attempts to build a receiving corps with varied skill sets is the right idea. The Bills didn’t give their highly drafted rookie quarterback much chance to succeed last season, but in Year 2, they’re providing Allen with a much better infrastructure—and they aren’t breaking the bank to do it.
2. Why this ESPN analyst is impressed with Buffalo’s free agency activity
ESPN insiders looked at the winners of free agency and which deals they liked best. Here’s what was said about the Buffalo Bills.
NFL analyst Field Yates thinks the Bills are the biggest winners of free agency so far.
I'm a huge proponent of the plan that the Bills have laid since coach Sean McDermott and eventually GM Brandon Beane were hired. Drafting and developing will be the primary forces for this regime, but they've wisely identified fits for their greatest needs in free agency. QB Josh Allen had one of the league's weakest supporting casts in 2018, but that will not be the case next season.
3. PFF: Grading free agent deals
Pro Football Focus broke down each free agent deal and graded them as elite, very good, good, above average, below average or poor. The grades were influenced by player grade, age, contract and other factors.
The Bills signing of Ty Nsekhe was graded as very good – the highest of any move made by Buffalo. Only two players, Adrian Amos and Eric Weddle, were graded as elite signings.
Ty Nsekhe may be the game’s best swing tackle, having shown over the past few seasons that he can fill in and start along multiple positions on the offensive line. He also has high-quality starts at left tackle, such as an 81.9 PFF grade against the Falcons this past season. And Buffalo got him for similar money to Bobby Hart in Cincinnati. — @PFFSam_
Along with Nsekhe, the signing of ageless wonder Frank Gore ranked very good as well. Buffalo also received praise for the signing of its two newest wide receivers. John Brown and Cole Beasley each earned good distinctions. Beasley was cited for his ability to be great on underneath routes and as someone who was underutilized in Dallas. Beasley has only dropped six of 189 catchable balls and has tallied 761 of 1907 receiving yards after the catch. Brown has shown to be a viable deep threat and has a high potential for big plays with Josh Allen as he took deep shots 19.7 percent of the time.
Click through to see photos of Buffalo's 2019 free agents in Bills gear on their first day at One Bills Drive.