With the most room under the cap in several years, Bills GM Brandon Beane took an aggressive, but calculated approach to free agency as seven players agreed to terms with the club.
The clear focus in the early going was to provide Buffalo’s passing game with some proven weapons and bolster their offensive line.
Receiving talent arrived in the form of wide receivers Cole Beasley (four-year agreement) and John Brown (three years).
Brown, 28, is coming off a 2018 season in Baltimore that saw a change at quarterback midway through the season that impacted his production. The speed receiver caught 42 passes for 715 yards and five touchdowns.
His best season came in 2015 with the Arizona Cardinals when he pulled in 65 receptions for 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns.
Brown averaged a career-high 17 yards per reception last season.
Beasley, 29, has played his entire career with the Dallas Cowboys since signing as an undrafted rookie in 2012. The slot receiver has put up three 50-plus catch seasons in the last four years, including a 65-reception season in 2018.
Seventeen of Beasley’s 23 career touchdowns have come over his last four seasons.
The addition of Beasley and Brown provides a much-needed boost of proven talent to the Bills receiving corps. Beasley figures to fill the slot role, which should be a high-volume target in Brian Daboll’s offense. Meanwhile Brown, along with second year receiver Robert Foster, give the Bills the kind of speed that will make defenses think twice about bringing a safety down in the box to stop the run.
Offensive line additions
Fortifying Buffalo’s offensive line began with a starting center in Mitch Morse (four-year agreement), which was followed by interior and edge options in G Jon Feliciano (two years) and OT Ty Nsekhe (two years).
Morse, 26, is a former second-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s been a starter in the pivot since his rookie season in 2015 and has 49 games played in his career.
Morse was the anchor of a line that helped the Chiefs rank fourth in rushing, fourth in passing, third in total offense and first in scoring in 2018.
The Chiefs center was instrumental in helping the Kansas City offense make a smooth transition from veteran QB Alex Smith in 2017 to a young Patrick Mahomes in 2018.
Feliciano, 27, has played his entire career for the Oakland Raiders, which made him a fourth-round pick in the 2015 NFL draft.
The 6-4, 325-pound guard was a spot starter for the Raiders the past four seasons, filling in chiefly for Kelechi Osemele when he was injured. In 48 career games played, Feliciano has eight career starts.
Feliciano is known as a tenacious interior lineman who has a mean streak to his game and likes to bury opponents in one-on-one matchups. Another strength is his keen awareness pre-snap and in pass protection.
He’s expected to compete for a starting job at guard on Buffalo’s offensive line.
Nsekhe, 33, has been a swing tackle for Washington the past four seasons, serving as a spot starter when former first-round pick Trent Williams was out with injury. Over the past four seasons, Nsekhe has made 13 starts in his absence and performed well. He has 16 career starts and has appeared in 56 games in his career.
At 6-8 and 330 pounds, Nsekhe uses his length to keep oncoming pass rushers at bay, often steering defensive ends around the pocket.
Running back royalty and a tight end on the rise
The Bills rounded out their first wave of term agreements with the league’s active rushing leader in Frank Gore, and a tight end in Cincinnati free agent Tyler Kroft.
Gore, who will turn 36 years old in May, has rolled up 14,748 rushing yards in his 14-year career.
He played last season in his native Miami for the Dolphins where he logged 722 rushing yards in 14 games, serving in a backup role to starter Kenyan Drake.
The 2018 season was the first of Gore’s career in which he did not have a rushing touchdown. He did have one receiving touchdown last season.
But there is no denying Gore’s impressive longevity. He has nine 1,000-yard rushing seasons in his career, which for perspective, is one more than Bills Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas. His last 1,000-yard rushing season came in 2016 with the Colts.
Where Gore figures to help Buffalo’s offense most is on third down. Outstanding in blitz pickup and pass protection, the veteran back offers offensive coordinator Brian Daboll some intriguing options in the team’s third down packages.
Kroft, 26, has largely spent the first four years of his NFL career in a backup role to his now former Cincinnati teammate Tyler Eifert.
A third-round pick of the Bengals in 2015, Kroft did have the opportunity to play extensively in 2017, when he replaced an injured Eifert in the Cincinnati lineup. In his 16 starts that season, Kroft had 42 receptions for 404 yards with seven touchdown catches.
His 2018 campaign was cut short due to a foot injury, limiting him to five games.
Kroft is known as an aggressive blocker in the run game with quality athleticism for his 6-6 frame and run-after-catch ability in the pass game. He should give the Bills a versatile starting option at the tight end position.
With the 2019 free agency period officially open, here's a look at Buffalo's acquisitions.