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Top 5 things we're hearing from NFL Insiders about the Bills 2024 offseason


With testing beginning on Thursday for the prospects at the NFL Combine, One Bills Live continues to host some of the top names in NFL media as free agency and the NFL Draft loom in the future.

Here's a roundup of storylines and buzz we're hearing from Indianapolis this week.

Ian Rapoport | NFL Network - Bills must rely on youth when replacing departing free agents

A host of talented free agents will likely sign outside of Buffalo this offseason, as the Bills have work to do in order to become cap compliant. However, the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport noted that the success Buffalo has had over the years in finding and integrating young players into their offensive and defensive schemes should serve as a good sign going forward.

"The Bills are in a really, really good place," Rapoport said. "When you're consistently good, what happens is you have a quarterback, and they did already. You have a bunch of young stars that you need to pay, and they've actually done that with a lot of their really good players. And so the only way to sustain it is you let guys go … The Bills happen to have a really good personnel department and I trust [they] can replace [their really good players]."

While many of Buffalo's free agents may find more money elsewhere, Rapoport also said that the culture head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane have built in Buffalo could convince veteran players to settle for less money if it means playing on a contender.

"One thing with the Bills that makes it a little more complicated is that guys want to be there. It's a good culture and it's a good place. So sometimes, guys would be willing to take a little bit less to stay," Rapoport said.

Tom Pelissero | NFL Network - Bills can get creative with their cap situation

The 2024 salary cap of $255 million is nearly $10 million more than what Beane and the Bills front office had projected, a welcome sign for a team that will have work to do in becoming cap compliant.

Because the Bills have quarterback Josh Allen under contract, they are in position to compete for a Super Bowl. Allen has consistently shown that he is one of the best signal callers in the game and, with the right pieces around him, can put the Bills in position to win on any given Sunday.

The NFL Network's Tom Pelissero noted that, while borrowing against the cap isn't a move the Bills can employ every year, it is a viable strategy for a team with its sights set on a Super Bowl.

"When you have a team that is built to win right now and is a contender, you're usually going to see them borrowing from the future," Pelissero said. "That's the biggest misconception when we talk about the salary cap and cuts and all those things, every dollar you spend hits the cap eventually. There's no cap magic. … [The cap] does exist and that bill comes due eventually, but you are able to borrow short-term money, you can roll things into the future and the Bills are one of the teams in that spot."

Charles Davis | NFL Network/CBS Sports - Year 2 of the Joe Brady and Josh Allen connection will be even smoother

With the Bills officially removing the interim tag from offensive coordinator Joe Brady's title, the 34-year-old will have an entire offseason to put his stamp on the Buffalo offense.

As they enter their second year as offensive coordinator and quarterback, Brady and Josh Allen should expect a smoother communication system, according to the NFL Network's Charles Davis.

"You speak shorthand right away," Davis said. "You don't have to spend a lot of time trying to decipher each other, learn from each other, what you like, what you don't like, all of that."

Not only will Brady and Allen work more seamlessly, but the relationship between Brady and McDermott will only improve in Year 2. Davis said that Brady's success in the run game particularly helped the Bills control the clock.

"The big thing that I thought Joe Brady brought was an understanding of his head coach," Davis said. "That was my understanding from the outside. His head coach is a DC who is also a head coach and I have not met a DC yet who does not want someone who doesn't run the football. … They want to be able to control clock, help their defense and I thought Joe Brady played that masterfully down the stretch."

Field Yates | ESPN - Strong performances at the Combine could hurt the Bills' chances of drafting star WR

With Gabe Davis entering free agency, the Bills could be in search of a star receiver in the first round of the NFL Draft. Luckily for Buffalo, the 2024 draft class is stacked with receiver talent.

Of course, the Bills aren't the only team looking for a stud receiver, and while there are plenty of receivers at the top (Marvin Harrison Jr., Rome Odunze, Malik Nabers) who will be long gone by pick No. 28, if some of the first round bubble players show out at the combine, Buffalo could miss out on getting a late round steal.

Field Yates named Florida State's Keon Coleman and LSU's Brian Thomas Jr. as two wide receivers who have a lot to gain from a strong performance at the combine.

Yates said that should Coleman run in the 4.4's and Thomas in the 4.3's, they both could be gone by Buffalo's turn to draft.

However, if Buffalo is able to land Thomas Jr., they could have the perfect replacement for Davis should he decide to walk in free agency.

"He's exceptional and just a big play waiting to happen when you have the strongest-armed quarterback," Yates said. "Of course, with Gabe Davis a pending free agent, a need for a vertical perimeter receiver could really matter a lot."

Cynthia Frelund | NFL Network - How wide receiver talent can translate at the next level

Not every safety or cornerback that some of the top wide receiver prospects faced in college will make it to the pros, so how can fans properly evaluate whether a future NFL receiver made an elite play or simply bested an inferior opponent?

The NFL Network's Cynthia Frelund has advice for those eager to do some of their own scouting ahead of the NFL Draft.

"When you're looking at someone's resume and body of work at the combine, it's less about one specific thing," Frelund said. "What's better is, take a snapshot at the moment the ball is released from the quarterback's hand and see who is open or running towards open space."

Frelund mentioned Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze as a primary example of what the Bills would be looking for should they be faced with replacing free agent Gabe Davis. While Odunze will almost certainly be off the board by the time the Bills select a receiver at pick No. 28, prioritizing a receiver who can make contested catches and beat the secondary downfield will be important in ensuring the Bills offense can recover from losing a player who has been integral to their success over the past four seasons.

The drop off in receiver talent from players like Odunze or Marvin Harrison Jr. or Malik Nabers could mean the Bills target other positions of need, like defensive line, cornerback or safety.

"There are a number of receivers that could be good," Frelund said. "Unfortunately, for the Bills, you're picking too low again."

Check out the 14 NFL Draft prospects who have been picked for the Bills in this year's mock drafts through the month of February.