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Top 3 things we learned about Bills free agency from GM Brandon Beane | 2024

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Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane addressed the media Sunday afternoon at the 2024 NFL annual meetings held in Orlando.

As the Bills prepare for the 2024 NFL Draft, in which they hold 11 picks, Beane spoke about the status of the Bills roster after a round of roster cuts and free agent signings.

The Departures

The Bills parted ways with several long-tenured players this offseason, including safety Jordan Poyer (seven seasons), cornerback Tre'Davious White (seven seasons), center Mitch Morse (five seasons) and cornerback/gunner Siran Neal (six seasons).

"That's the hard part of this job," Beane said. "There's a lot of hard things, but it doesn't get harder than saying goodbye to some of the names … so many of those guys who have meant so much to what Sean and I have built here all the way back to 2017."

White had a series of injuries towards the tail end of his career in Buffalo, suffering an ACL tear in 2021 and an Achilles tear in 2023.

"You feel bad for him because we all know the player that Tre was, first of all prior to the ACL, and then we were hoping last year he was going to really get back into that number one corner and he pops that Achilles versus Miami which was super crushing," Beane said. "Which again, I told him just because this move is now doesn't mean it doesn't work out for us to get you back in Buffalo."

Because White is a post-June 1 cut, the move will free up around $10 million of space.

Regarding the decision to cut Morse, Beane said that they knew Connor McGovern, who played left guard last season, would be capable of taking over at center if necessary.

"You don't take that decision lightly, and it doesn't mean that it's the perfect decision but when we did sign Connor last year we did say, 'hey, this is a guy that could be a future center for us when his number's called. We didn't know at that time that we'd call it this time but Connor has welcomed the opportunity and he'll get his chance once we start lining up," Beane said.

The Bills re-signed David Edwards, who served as the Bills sixth offensive lineman throughout the 2023 season, to a two-year extension – making him a likely candidate to take over at left guard for McGovern.

In addition to the Bills' roster cuts, free agent wide receiver Gabe Davis agreed to a three-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, ending his four-season stint in Buffalo. Davis was a first-time captain last season and a fan-favorite for his clutch performances – including a four-touchdown game against Kansas City in the 2021 playoffs.

"The guy made a lot of great plays for us," Beane said after comparing watching Davis walk in free agency to making a difficult roster cut. "He's one of those guys we'll continue to follow and root for other than when we're playing him."

Beane said that he was still unsure of the status of safety Micah Hyde, who has also entered free agency, saying that the seven-year Bill was unsure of whether he would continue playing when the two had last spoken.

The Arrivals

The Bills have been busy in the offseason, bringing in free agents to address a wide range of positions of need, including offensive line, safety and wide receiver.

Two key factors behind their flexibility with the cap was an unexpectedly high cap limit set by the NFL and the decision by edge rusher Von Miller to restructure his contract to free up significant money for Buffalo.

"I thought Von did something I don't know many people would have done, because he took less than what he was guaranteed," Beane said. "Say what you want whether you thought he's performed at a level or not. … I do think Von will look more like the Von we know coming into this year. But he put the team first. He wants to win and he's said that since the day he got here and to basically cut it in half and go below his guarantee, I don't know if I've seen a player do that and especially someone who's going to be a first ballot Hall of Famer."

Buffalo signed wide receiver Curtis Samuel to a three-year deal earlier this month, bringing in a versatile weapon for Josh Allen and the Buffalo offense that has some familiarity with both Beane and offensive coordinator Joe Brady.

Samuel was drafted by Beane in his last draft as the Carolina Panthers' assistant general manager and had his best statistical season in 2020 with Brady as his offensive coordinator.

"I remember spending time with him and scouting him at Ohio State. The guy spent half the time in the running back room at Ohio State and half in the receiver room … He's obviously smart to be able to do that," Beane said. "What gave me confidence to bring him here was talking to Joe Brady. … Joe saw what he could do and really played to his strengths so we see him as a guy that, yes, can be in the backfield, can line up at receiver, he could be a returner for us, he can stretch the field vertically."

With the signing of safety and two-time Super Bowl champion Mike Edwards and the decision to bring Taylor Rapp, Beane said he felt good about where the Bills secondary was headed.

"I thought [Rapp] did a great job in his role last year and showed that he fit our DNA," Beane said. "And Mike Edwards, we thought was very good a year ago and it was a really good move by Kansas City to get him. … Another guy that's tough, instinctive, smart, fits some of those top qualities that we look for in a safety, very similar to Taylor."

Beane confirmed that the Bills were finalizing a deal to add defensive tackle Austin Johnson – something fellow defensive tackle DaQuan Jones and former college teammate of Johnsons' reported on Twitter Saturday afternoon. The Bills were also able to re-sign Jones, a player who made a huge impact on the defensive line down the stretch after working hard to return from a torn pectoral muscle in Week 5.

"[Jones and Johnson] are both going to start as a one-tech. I think even DaQuan you've seen in our system improve his pass rush and we do think Austin can kind of follow that same trajectory," Beane said. "We brought him in for a visit, great young man. He talked about the importance of culture, a winning team and obviously DaQuan was helping sell our situation."

The Draft

The Bills received a compensatory fourth round pick due to losing linebacker Tremaine Edmunds in free agency last season. Compensatory picks are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors, and the Bills expected to get a third round pick – the highest compensatory pick awarded – for the loss of Edmunds.

"We got a raw deal. We had separate Zooms with the league trying to go through how it was calculated, because even by their accounts as we were checking with them through the year, we clearly had a third-rounder," Beane said. "It was a major blow because we had planned for that."

Wide receiver, defensive tackle and defensive end have all been popular first round selections in various Bills mock drafts. However, Beane doesn't see a desperate need on the roster, perhaps opening the Bills up to be more flexible regarding their No. 28 overall pick.

I feel like we're in a pretty good spot. Do we have some holes? Yes. But I don't feel like, man, we've got something gaping that we've got to get round one or round two per se."

The 2024 NFL Draft will take place in Detroit and begins April 25.

Scroll to see photos of Nick Morrow, Mack Hollins, Curtis Samuel and Casey Toohill as they arrive at 1 Bills Drive to sign during Free Agency.

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