1. These ESPN analysts pick the Bills as their Super Bowl LVI winner
The prediction game is already underway for the 2021 NFL season. A pool of ESPN.com NFL reporters were asked to make their picks for the Super Bowl LVI matchup. Dan Graziano and Kevin Seifert both picked the Bills as seen below.
GRAZIANO: Bills over 49ers. I think the pace Buffalo is on leads it all the way to the top next season. Yeah, I could pick the Chiefs, but why go with the easy choice? As for the NFC, San Francisco can't possibly suffer as many injuries in 2021 as it did in 2020, and I'm thinking it'll find a way to upgrade at quarterback as well.
SEIFERT: Bills over Packers. It is indeed way too early to know what the NFL landscape will look like after what is expected to be a significant offseason quarterback shuffle. But we know that Josh Allen is returning to the Bills, who are really close on both sides of the ball. The Chiefs can't be dominant every year, can they? And at this point, the inclusion of the Packers' Rodgers in the QB shuffle seems unlikely.
Seifert also picked Josh Allen as the league MVP for 2021. He was joined by fellow reporter, Matt Bowen with that pick.
2. NFL Network insider expects the Bills to keep rolling
While a restrictive salary cap, a list of 15 of their own free agents and the desire to close the gap on the two-time AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs all presents a respectable offseason challenge for Buffalo's front office, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport is also taking all the positive strides the Bills took in 2020.
In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Rapoport doesn't believe the Bills have a long offseason to-do list based on where he feels they sit in the AFC pecking order.
"I would say they're right up at the top. This year was a good year. They took some significant steps, which was good. They did not win it all, which is okay. The Kansas City Chiefs are still formidable. The Bills are really close and right there. What do they need to do? Keep doing what they're doing, add a couple of pieces maybe. There's not a ton that they need. Maybe a couple of complementary pieces and keep rolling."
3. What could a Josh Allen extension look like?
Bills GM Brandon Beane said last month that despite the reality of a pandemic-reduced salary cap for 2021 that the club could get a contract extension completed for QB Josh Allen this offseason. In confirming it could be done, Beane did admit the team would have to get creative in light of the cap constraints.
So what might such a contract for Buffalo's franchise quarterback look like?
Mike Ginnitti, Founder and editor of Spotrac.com, a popular professional sports salary site, took his best stab at how it might look in terms of structure in an appearance on 'One Bills Live' Wednesday.
"Before 2020 he's probably looking at a Deshaun Watson type deal," said Ginnitti. "A standard four-year extension with a good-sized signing bonus that doesn't hold much dead cap. It's low risk, high cash traditional quarterback extension. But what we saw with Mahomes didn't move the needle with regard to the Chiefs cap number and it slightly moves it in 2021. So if the Bills do an extension they'll have to be more creative and go somewhere in between Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes' deals both in terms of the money and the structure so they can keep Josh's cap figure neutral this year so they can build around him while also putting some cash in his pocket and make sure he's happy over the next three or four years."
Ginnitti was also of the opinion that the Bills will take a multi-layered approach toward addressing their offensive line using the draft, free agency and re-signing their own to sure it up.
"They'll probably bring back both Jon Feliciano and Daryl Williams along with a free agent and one of their top two draft choices to fix the right side of the offensive line," said Ginnitti. "There's flexibility and some trust in Feliciano and Williams."