1. Getting Josh Allen help on offense
The progress Josh Allen made was certainly encouraging in the 11 starts he made in 2018. General manager Brandon Beane said by no means has Allen arrived, but his development has Buffalo’s personnel boss dead set on surrounding the young quarterback with more talent.
“I’ve got to do a solid job this offseason to improve our offense,” said Beane. “When Josh came back, and it started with Matt (Barkley’s) game against the Jets and Josh was able to play against Jacksonville and beyond, our offense definitely improved from prior to Josh’s injury. That’s what you like, but it doesn’t mean we have it all fixed.
“We know where we need to get stronger. There are a lot of areas where we need to get stronger, and we’ll look to address all those, whether it’s bringing certain players back, paying attention to guys that get cut elsewhere for salary cap reasons prior to free agency. Obviously, free agency and hopefully fill some holes in the draft.”
As for Allen’s learning curve, Beane is encouraged by the signal caller’s approach heading into the offseason.
“I know who he is, and he is not complacent. This guy is competitive. He wants to get better. He wants to be the best at his craft,” said Beane. “He’s got a really good plan. We talked to a lot of the young guys before I came in here and Josh has a really good plan for the offseason to come back here bigger, stronger, faster and mentally even stronger.”
2. Bills plan to be judicious with cap space
GM Brandon Beane’s key word with respect to free agent spending this offseason was judicious. Just because the Bills have upwards of $85 million in cap space to work with, Beane does not want to revisit the cap jail his front office was in when he was hired almost two years ago.
“If you’re not wise with it we could be back to where we were when I walked in the door here,” Beane said.
Beane just cleaned up a salary cap mess from the previous regime that forced the Bills to eat over $50 million in dead cap money this year on contracts that were moved off the roster via trade or release.
“We want to fill holes in free agency,” Beane affirmed. “You use free agency to help you so you’re not going to draft in April with all these holes and you’re drafting for need. I promise you drafting for need is a mistake that can set franchises back and I’m not going to do that as long as I’m in charge here.”
How Buffalo spends their money will not be based on positional need per se, but rather the caliber of the talent at positions they need to fill.
“I think you have to look at what is in free agency and not just go say, hey I’ve got to get one guard in free agency, a tackle and a center, if they’re not capable or (deemed as) upgrades,” Beane said. “We’ll look to bring competition in and we’ll look in free agency.
“If we get two guys that we think are worthy, we’ll add two. If it’s one, if it’s five, we’ll do that and see how the draft falls.
“That’s why I take a big onus in this and you can put the target on me with the calculated move with the cap. That’s fixed and going forward we’ll be able to operate and not have to worry about releasing a guy to get into free agency and make some moves.”
3. McCoy is part of the 2019 plan
LeSean McCoy had career lows in most individual rushing categories this season. It’s prompted outside observers to question whether the 30-year old back is still capable of feature back status. Beane made it clear the Bills still believe McCoy has a lot to offer.
“He is part of our plan,” said Beane in reference to the 2019 season. “Our offense, we’re not happy with a lot of things that happened. We improved in some areas, but (the run game) is one area where we didn’t improve. I think it was our entire running game. It wasn’t just one person to single out LeSean.
“I’m not a believer that LeSean is done. If he gets back to form and we get our offense going I think he can still be a weapon.”
4. Working to bring Lorenzo back
Lorenzo Alexander is one of Buffalo’s eight unrestricted free agents this offseason. He has expressed a desire to return next season. Naturally, the business side of the NFL can force things to take a bit longer than they need to.
Beane surmised that while they do want to re-sign Alexander for a myriad of reasons, it could take some time to reach a figure that works for both sides.
“We like Lorenzo and appreciate all he’s done for this organization. I’m about keeping those types of guys around. Lorenzo we can all agree can still play,” he said. “We’ll get with his representatives. It’s all about coming up with a deal, similar to Kyle a year ago. It’s fair for him and fair for us and sometimes that takes time. We’ll work on that with his representatives and I’d love nothing more than for him to come back for 2019.”