1 - Favorable grades on the Bills free agency moves
The Bills have taken a proactive approach so far this offseason with free agency, as they’ve already filled many holes throughout their roster. The national media is applauding the team’s moves thus far.
Buffalo has brought in a quarterback, added many defensive players, and made a few trades along the way. Here’s how Bleacher Report, ESPN, and Sports Illustrated’s MMQB graded those transactions.
*A big few weeks for the Bills because lest you forgot they agreed to terms with Vontae Davis at the end of February. Also, the team shipped left tackle Cordy Glenn to Cincinnati and swapped first-round draft picks, which allows Buffalo to move in position to strike for a top-five pick in the NFL Draft. Now the Bills hold picks 12 and 22 (along with two picks in rounds two and three each). *
*The draft capital was the best free-agent acquisition the Bills had, but they got plenty more, too. *
*They re-upped veteran defensive tackle Kyle Williams a day after they agreed to sign tackle Star Lotulelei to a five-year deal. Shortly after Williams’ signing they got Trent Murphy on a three-year deal to really strengthen their pass rush across the line. *
They even got some insurance for Shady McCoy by getting Chris Ivory. Indeed, the Bills have to pick their rookie quarterback correctly for any of this to matter, but the draft isn’t for another six weeks, making them winners today.
Bleacher Report, AJ McCarron to the Buffalo Bills (Grade: A )
The Bills landed McCarron—healthy, 27 years old and with nearly all the tread on his tires—for only a two-year, $10 million commitment.
*This was a low-risk, high-reward move for a Bills team that might soon look smart for sitting back while the Vikings, Broncos, Cardinals and Jets played a frantic and expensive game of musical chairs. *
Buffalo general manager Brandon Beane refuses to stop in his attempt to hoard as many draft picks as possible, presumably to trade up for a new quarterback. Now he might not need to make a deal at all. ... Beane was able to move his top draft pick up from the 21st selection to the 12th pick.
The Bills got a meaningful pick for ... Taylor, giving them another asset for a possible trade up in this year’s draft.
2 - Alexander likes the revamped defensive front**
Bills linebacker, Lorenzo Alexander, has spent two seasons (2016-2017) with the team. In 2016, Buffalo’s defense ranked eighth in the NFL in sacks (39). The following year, they fell to 29th in the league with 27 sacks.
Getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks was undoubtedly a weakness of the Bills defense last season. However, the organization has revamped the defensive front and it’s looking promising.
Alexander joined the John Murphy Show on Thursday to talk about some of the recent free agent additions. First, he mentioned the newest defensive tackle, Star Lotulelei.
“I know him from how he flashes on film. When you watch in other games, or common opponents, certain guys just normally pop off the screen. Star’s been one of those guys,” said Alexander. “He throws people around. He’s a big, strong man. He fills the gap. It takes two to block him. Then, he’s quick and agile down the line. He knows how to scrap, get off blocks, and cover strictly down the line and make plays laterally. He’s a guy that I’m excited to play behind.”
The next free agent who will be a valuable member of Buffalo’s defensive line is Trent Murphy. Alexander mentioned why Murphy’s length helps him be a successful defensive end.
“If you talk to some scouts, that’s all they want to see. They want to see that length, because obviously one arm is longer than two. He has great hands coming off and he’s able to finish,” he said. “That’s why he’s so versatile. He can play the defensive end spot, because he can get off the ball.
“His versatility is definitely going to be able to help us out. Being able to move him around the board and definitely want to get our sack numbers up front last year by utilizing his skill set.”
*3 - Travaris Cadet appreciates another opportunity *On Dec. 24, 2017, Bills running back Travaris Cadet suffered a severe ankle injury. Cadet credits the team’s medical director, Dr. Leslie Bisson, for possibly saving his career.
“Yeah, he put it back in place on the field. [Dr.] Bisson probably saved my career,” said Cadet.
On Friday, about three months after his injury, Cadet signed a one-year deal to remain with the Bills. Following his re-signing, he gave a pleasant update about the progress of his rehab.
“Right now, I’ve just been taking it day-to-day. Trying to get the best out of each day. Chris [Fischetti], Joe [Micca], those guys in the training room, they’ve been pushing me to the limits every day,” said Cadet. “I would say I’m ahead of schedule. I’m a couple of weeks ahead of schedule. Actually, right now I’m running and what not.”
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