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What Bills fans need to know about player offseason workouts | 2024

Buffalo Bills players arrive for Phase One of voluntary offseason workouts, April 15, 2024 at One Bills Drive.
Buffalo Bills players arrive for Phase One of voluntary offseason workouts, April 15, 2024 at One Bills Drive.

Buffalo's roster of players returns to One Bills Drive this week for the start of their voluntary offseason conditioning program. Each year the Bills roster undergoes change, much like any other NFL club, but the 2024 roster underwent arguably the most significant turnover in the Beane-McDermott era. Below we outline some of those changes and what to look for as the team begins their preparations for the 2024 campaign.

Who's back?

With 22 unrestricted free agents, turnover on Buffalo's roster was anticipated, but there were a handful of players both fans and the front office were hoping to return to the fold. Chief among them was starting defensive tackle, Da'Quan Jones.

Fortunately, the Bills and the defensive stalwart were able to agree on a new two-year contract keeping him in the fold through the 2025 season.

"Really, it came down to just being comfortable in the system," Jones said after re-signing with the club. "I enjoy how coach Sean McDermott coaches the defense, and how we're able to play up front kind of just go on the attack. Really the whole deal, so special. And I really love those guys. I know we've got a lot of guys in coming back."

The Bills were also able to bring DE AJ Epenesa back on a two-year deal to further fortify a defensive front that had eight unrestricted free agents this spring.

Buffalo additionally re-signed Taylor Rapp and Cam Lewis, who will bring some welcome continuity to the safety position after the departures of long-time starters Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer.

On offense OL David Edwards, who played a sixth-man type role on Buffalo's offensive line last season will be in line to start at left guard with last year's starter Connor McGovern expected to slide into the pivot at center. RB Ty Johnson was also brought back into the fold after signing right before the 2023 season and moving up the depth chart through the course of the season to serve as James Cook's primary backup by season's end.

Restricted free agent TE Quintin Morris also agreed on a new contract with Buffalo.

Here's a look at the numbers new players will wear in 2024 and number changes for players on the existing roster.

Who's new?

Bills GM Brandon Beane with a cap-constrained budget said there wouldn't be any big splashes in free agency, but he was able to bolster the roster with some proven veteran talent through the course of the spring.

He split the signings right down the middle with five on offense and five on defense.

Among the more notable additions was WR Curtis Samuel, who signed a three-year contract after some productive seasons in Washington and Carolina. Safety Mike Edwards, who is fresh off a Super Bowl title winning season with Kansas City. DT Austin Johnson, a full-time starter the past two seasons with the L.A. Chargers. And most recently, the addition of seven-year starting offensive tackle, La'el Collins.

We also saw the return of backup QB Mitchell Trubisky, who re-signed for a second stint after serving as Josh Allen's backup in 2021.

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.

Coaching changes

Buffalo also had its share of coaching changes this offseason. Interim offensive coordinator, Joe Brady, was promoted to the position full time going forward.

"Number one, was his relationship and rapport with our quarterback," said head coach Sean McDermott of the decision to name Brady his permanent OC. "Second was the collaboration that Joe was able to establish with the offensive staff in a short amount of time. Three were the results that we were able to get."

Buffalo went 6-1 over the last seven games of the regular season in which Brady ran the offense. Set to help him on that side of the ball is new quarterbacks coach Ronald Curry, with whom Brady previously worked in New Orleans when they were both offensive assistants.

Atop the changes on the defensive side of the ball was the elevation of linebackers coach Bobby Babich to defensive coordinator. Though the play calling responsibilities haven't been finalized yet, defensive players for the Bills were fully supportive of the promotion.

"He's the type of guy that you can feel his energy," said Taylor Rapp. "The first time I really spent time with him was during OTAs and his energy is just unmatched. Now with the promotion becoming the defensive coordinator, I'm looking forward to working a little more closely with him from this dynamic."

Also promoted was Assistant defensive line coach, Marcus West, who will now serve as Defensive line coach.

"Marcus is a very smart, smart man in how he approaches the game," said Da'Quan Jones. "He takes it a step further, if you will, as far as just understanding what you're going to get. And really knowing situational football there, it's going to help. He knows our group a lot and to be able to pull us up from those situations and be able to execute a little better in crunch time."

Buffalo's other new additions to the staff are below.

  • Jahmile Addae – Cornerbacks
  • Scott Booker – Nickel corner/Senior defensive assistant
  • Matt Edwards – Assistant defensive line
  • DJ Mangas – Offensive quality control
  • Christian Taylor – Defensive quality control

Offseason program phases

The beginning of the voluntary offseason conditioning program is geared toward training, classroom teaching, and conditioning.

The voluntary nine-week program has three phases.

Phase one consists of the first two weeks of the program with activities limited to meetings, strength and conditioning, and physical rehabilitation only.

Phase Two consists of the next three weeks of the program. On-field workouts may include individual or group instruction and drills, as well as "perfect play drills," and drills and plays with offensive players lining up across from offensive players and defensive players lining up across from defensive players, conducted at a walkthrough pace. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.

Phase Three consists of the next four weeks of the program. Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or "OTAs." No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

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