1. SI.com says Buffalo's window is "right now"
On this week's episode of the MMQB NFL Podcast, host Gary Gramling and guest Andy Benoit dove into the landscape of the AFC East after the first week of free agency. The Bills were the first topic of conversation and the two are sold on the Stefon Diggs trade, agreeing it was a great move for what Josh Allen needs in year three.
"I think he's going to be perfect for Josh Allen in that offense," Gramling explained. "If you want to see if Josh Allen can take that next step, this is the type of guy you needed."
Benoit said he thinks DeAndre Hopkins is a better receiver, being traded to Arizona just before Diggs, but Diggs gives you more versatility which works better for Buffalo.
"You could probably do a little more schematically with Diggs though because he's a more dynamic mover than Hopkins," said Benoit. "So when you factor in his cap hit this season is $11.5 million and $12 million for the next few years, that's a very affordable rate for what I think we both agree is a true No. 1 wide receiver."
Benoit explained that the trio of receivers now on the Bills roster are an enticing group that will be hard for any defense to face.
"Both of those guys last year were much more diverse than you would have guessed," Benoit said, talking about Cole Beasley and John Brown. "Beasley is obviously mostly a predominant slot receiver, but he is not just only a slot receiver. They used him in a few different ways, same with John Brown. Diggs can line up anywhere in the formation. They have three pretty interchangeable quality wide receiving weapons there."
With the AFC East looking quite different, the two say it's time for Buffalo to win now.
"You were a playoff team a year ago, the one team ahead of you has weakened," Benoit said. "Your window is right now."
2. NFL Films' Greg Cosell says Buffalo filled defensive voids
Senior producer at NFL Films and NFL Matchup analyst Greg Cosell appeared on One Bills Live to discuss his thoughts on Buffalo's new free agent acquisitions on the defensive side of the ball. Cosell says the Bills filled voids left by linebacker Lorenzo Alexander retiring as well as defensive linemen Jordan Phillips and Shaq Lawson joining new teams. With the addition of defensive end Mario Addison, Cosell says the Bills have found a dangerous weapon.
"Mario Addison is a long, lanky edge pass rusher," Cosell said. "The Bills need that kind of player. They do not really have an edge pass rusher. Addison has been very good in Carolina. He's got some suddenness to him, some explosiveness to him."
Another defensive lineman that Cosell believes will strengthen the line is defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson.
"I've loved him ever since he came out of the University of Maryland," Cosell explained. "I thought he had a really good year this year in Seattle. He can play end, he can play tackle. He's got versatility. He can rush the quarterback. To me, that's one of those signings that was an under the radar signing because Quinton Jefferson playing in the Pacific Northwest is certainly not a household name. I think he's a really good player and they lost Jordan Phillips, so they were looking to replace Phillips. Basically because he had a really nice year for them. I think with Jefferson and Vernon Butler, particularly Jefferson, they've really done that."
Cosell sees linebacker A.J. Klein as a player who will start next to Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano. Klein will fit with the two because he understands the defense already because he played in Carolina from 2013 to 2016 when Sean McDermott was the defensive coordinator.
"A.J. Klein came out of Iowa State, really solid player," Cosell said. "He played a lot of snaps with the Saints. He played in their base, he played in their sub. I think it will be Klein, Edmunds and Milano as the starting linebackers in the base. It will be interesting to see what they do in their nickel because they're a nickel defense, not a dime defense."
2. Will new playmakers help the Bills win in 2020?
After the first week of free agency frenzy has died down, several national analysts are ranking the teams who fared best in week one. Buffalo needed to add more playmakers around a young quarterback in Josh Allen and that's what they did — trading a first-round, fifth-round, sixth-round and a 2021 fourth-round pick for former Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs. Diggs is known as being a weapon who excels at beating corners off the line of scrimmage to get open, thanks to his superb route running. SI.com’s Conor Orr thinks Diggs will give the Bills a better chance to win in 2020.
This is part of a two-sided point, but Allen now has a legitimate No. 1 playmaker on offense —Stefon Diggs —at which to direct his cannon. Last year was a victory for scheme design in Buffalo, which allowed Allen to take a statistical leap forward. Just take a look at his 2018 and 2019 ratios in intended air yards per pass and actual air yards. This past year, the offense broke in a way that allowed him to find the target with a much higher upside without the risk. The completion percentage goes up, the interceptions go down and the quarterback rating rises to "OK we can win with this."