1. Lee Smith invigorated by the good vibe in Buffalo
Lee Smith returned to a Bills locker room and facilities that looked nothing like he remembered. Smith played with the Bills from 2011-14 and the only teammate left over from that time is Jerry Hughes. Smith has spent the past four seasons in Oakland.
Smith returned to the Bills with a brand new weight room and facility that immediately made him feel welcomed.
“I’ve been saying this since I walked in last week, Mr. and Mrs. Pegula have spared no expense around here,” Smith said on One Bills Live. “It’s invigorating and makes the players feel not just respected but appreciated. This place is first class.”
Smith is bringing his family back to the area as well. They’ve spent the last four years out in sunny California but Smith says they’re excited for the snow, especially his oldest son Brody. When he walks around the area he has new faces to introduce himself to as teammates but plenty of people he still has great memories with.
“This area is a lot more like home,” Smith said.
Maybe most importantly is his connection with offensive line coach Bobby Johnson. Johnson coached tight ends in Oakland previously.
“I’m all about enjoying coming to work everyday,” Smith said. “If you’re fortunate enough to be able to make a decision of where you want to go then my thing has always been that being around good men that I want to work for. And that’s the reason I became a Raider in the first place with Bobby Johnson.”
Smith played with Johnson for three years and marks it as a bright point in his career with Johnson helping him become a better man and football player.
It’s no secret what Smith’s role will be on the Bills. Smith has made a name for himself in the NFL as one of the league’s premier blocking tight ends. Smith didn’t talk X’s & O’s on his visit and focused himself in on the culture surrounding the organization.
“It was the feel when I walked in the building.” Smith said. “There’s a human element to this thing. When players are treated like they are here and you’re not putting 87 fuel in a Ferrari and treating these million dollar investments like million dollar investments, there’s a good vibe.”
2. NFL.com’s Gil Brandt: Bills had one of NFL’s best offseasons
NFL media senior analyst Gil Brandt pegged the Bills as a team who completed a top-five offseason.
The 2018 Bills had over $50 million in dead money in anticipation of retooling the roster with talent this offseason. Buffalo followed through with its plans and added Mitch Morse, Spencer Long and Ty Nsekhe on the offensive line and veteran wide receivers in Cole Beasley and John Brown.
Defensively they replaced Kyle Williams with Ed Oliver to add to the number two defense in the NFL last season.
Yes, the Bills just recorded their 11th losing season in the last 15, but this team was surprisingly feisty at times in '18, upsetting the Vikings in Week 3 and finishing with the second-stingiest defense in terms of yards allowed. All of Buffalo's moves, combined with rebuilding projects going on with the Dolphins and Jets, mean anything less than a playoff appearance will count as a disappointment.
3. Brandon Beane’s offseason grade from Bleacher Report
NFL players are responsible to win games every week but it is up to the head coaches and general managers to execute the plan put in place for them.
Bleacher Report graded every NFL general manager from Arizona’s Steve Keim to Washington’s Bruce Allen on their performance this offseason and from the splashy moves to the free-agent bargains.
Bills general manager Brandon Beane received an A-.
There weren't many general managers who were more active this offseason than Buffalo's Brandon Beane.
In free agency, the Bills focused on the offensive side of the ball. They brought in a pair of veteran wide receivers in speedster John Brown (4.34 40-yard dash) and slot man Cole Beasley, as well as a veteran tight end in Tyler Kroft. They got offensive line help by signing center Mitch Morse and tackle Ty Nsekhe. They added depth in the backfield with ageless tailback Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon.
The draft class was a bit more well-rounded. Ed Oliver is a disruptive 3-technique tackle who has drawn comparisons to Aaron Donald. Offensive lineman Cody Ford has the potential to be a Day 1 starter at guard or tackle. Devin Singletary gives the Bills one of the deepest running back corps in the league. And fifth-round inside linebacker Vosean Joseph could prove to be a steal if his production ever meets his potential.
The Bills are on the edge of being playoff contenders and are certainly better than they were a few months ago, writes Bleacher Report.