1. Why Buffalo is one of the most interesting teams in free agency
The NFL is not delaying free agency and is set to begin on Monday at 12 noon with the start of the open negotiating window and player signings can be officially announced on Wednesday starting at 4 pm. With a couple of right moves, the Bills could topple the Patriots for the AFC East crown, says The Ringer.
Buffalo is in the rare position of having plenty of cap space (nearly $80 million, one of the five highest figures in the league) while also retaining most of its 2019 team. This week, Buffalo agreed to a three-year contract with guard Quinton Spain, ensuring the team will bring back all five of its starters on the offensive line, in addition to key contributors everywhere else on offense. Buffalo's main concern on offense is at receiver, but with such a deep draft class for receivers the Bills are likely to look at free agency for defenders.
The Bills could lose key defensive line players in Jordan Phillips and Shaq Lawson but the Bills have the money to keep them and even splurge on a free agent like Chris Harris Jr. to add to the secondary, writes The Ringer.
The Bills already have perhaps the best safety combo in football with Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde, plus an elite cornerback in Tre'Davious White. Adding Harris to that secondary could improve what's already one of the best pass defenses in football. The team has already taken a one-year flier on former All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman, who signed this week after being cut by Washington earlier. Harris would give them four defensive backs capable of All-Pro-caliber play, and the team is hoping Norman could return to that level. The Bills could realistically have the best roster in the AFC East for the first time in decades.
With the free agency period opening on March 18, scroll through to see some of the most impactful free agent signings in team history.
2. Milano, Wallace benefit from NFL's performance-based pay system
Buffalo Bills Matt Milano and Levi Wallace each earned a substantial raise form the NFL's performance-based pay benefit system in 2019.
NFL players will receive $147.952 million in "Performance-Based Pay" for their performance during the 2019 season, the NFL announced today. The Performance-Based Pay program is a collectively bargained benefit that compensates all players, including rookies, based upon their playing time and salary levels.
Under the Performance-Based Pay program, a fund is created and used as a supplemental form of player compensation based on a comparison of playing time to salary. Players become eligible to receive a bonus distribution in any regular season in which they play at least one official down. In general, players with higher playtime percentages and lower salaries benefit most from the pools.
Wallace and Milano were the ninth and 10th most compensated players, respectively. Wallace a 2018 UDFA earned $363,599 while Milano, a 2017 fifth-round pick, earned $360,498.
Kansas City cornerback Charvarius Ward earned the largest amount at $428,335.
3. Buffalo needs to "think" about running back room
NFL.com ran down the running back situation for all 32 NFL teams. The Bills have "much to think about" with only Devin Singletary, T.J. Yeldon, and Christian Wade under contract for next season.
Buffalo Bills: Buffalo experimented last summer with a veteran-heavy backfield of LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore, but neither graybeard is expected to be in Western New York this time around. 2019 third-round pick Devin Singletary was brought on slowly behind Gore and emerged as a back worth building around by season's end. He's currently flanked by T.J. Yeldon and Briton experiment Christian Wade in Buffalo's backfield. …. Buffalo can replace Gore with a thicker free agent like Melvin Gordon, Carlos Hyde, Jordan Howard or, well, Gore, if the Bills are open to another go with the 36-year-old.