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What They're Saying

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What they're saying | National analysts address the Bills' needs ahead of 2023 free agency 

Buffalo Bills vs Miami Dolphins, Wild Card Game, January 15, 2023 at Highmark Stadium.
Buffalo Bills vs Miami Dolphins, Wild Card Game, January 15, 2023 at Highmark Stadium.

Only one day left until the official start of NFL Free Agency for the 2023 season. So what does GM Brandon Beane have up his sleeve?

Here's what national analysts are saying about what Beane and the Buffalo Bills could and should do during free agency which begins at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

With free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft quickly approaching, NFL Writer Kevin Patra assesses every NFL team's running back situation and their wideout stability looking ahead to the 2023 season. For the Bills, Patra feels that they need to acquire some depth in their running back group before the season rolls around.

Top RBs under contract for 2023: James Cook and Nyheim Hines

Key free agents: Devin Singletary (UFA) and Taiwan Jones (UFA)

"Cook is poised to take on a bigger role in his second season after coming on strong down the stretch. It feels like the Bills have been ready to move on from Singletary for years, and with the veteran set to hit the market, that will likely come to fruition. Buffalo could use another playmaker alongside Cook and Hines out of the backfield, but with other priorities on tap -- key defensive players are set to become free agents, while the Bills also need to retool the offensive line and add another wideout -- using big-time assets on the backfield is less imperative." — Patra

Tyler Sullivan from CBS Sports looks at what current Bills players on both sides of the ball are set to hit the free agent market in just a few days. Sullivan mentions S Jordan Poyer and G Rodger Saffold as some of the bigger names who could create some holes in the roster if free agency leads them to a different team. LB Tremaine Edmunds fits that mold as well and is already reported to have agreed to sign with the Chicago Bears.

"Solidifying the offensive line with players who possess a higher ceiling in both pass protection and in the running game is arguably the biggest need for Buffalo entering this offseason. Speaking of the running game, Devin Singletary is slated to hit free agency as well. While James Cook did show some promise during his rookie season, the Bills need to add more bodies to that backfield to help allow them to put teams away late with a steady rushing attack that burns the clock.

Defensively, the Bills should get a massive boost with the return of last offseason's free agent prize in Von Miller, who tore his ACL last year. That said, the secondary could be a point of emphasis with Poyer hitting free agency. Whatever capital Buffalo does have may be wise to go toward bringing Poyer back into the fold, while addressing their needs on offense could wait until the draft." – Sullivan

Gilberto Manzano from Sports Illustrated feels that OG Isaac Seumalo could be a good free-agent pickup for the Bills. Seumalo just finished up his seventh season with the Philadelphia Eagles where he started all 17 games at right guard.

"Seumalo might have benefited from playing on a talented Eagles offensive line, but he emerged as one of its best run blockers. The Bills were one of the top rushing teams in the NFL last season, but a sizable amount came from quarterback Josh Allen. They need more production from the running backs, and Seumalo can help." - Manzano

Biggest team need: Offensive line

"Buffalo's playoff loss to Cincinnati highlighted a problem that had been brewing for the team all season — an offensive line in decline and reaching a problematic level of play.

The Bills offensive line ranked as low as 28th in PFF's offensive line rankings at one point this season, and they surrendered 211 pressures over the entire season.

While they could certainly use an extra receiver to complement Stefon Diggs, they needto ensure that the offensive line reaches a higher baseline of play in 2023."_

Player to retain: S Jordan Poyer

"The Bills came up short once again in 2022 and have several tough decisions ahead of them. But, fortunately, they don't have a ton of key free agents hitting the market. Poyer had been the consistent presence on the backend of this Bills defense prior to an injury-derailed 2022 campaign, logging 5,018 snaps from 2017-21 — fifth most among safeties — with a 93.9 coverage grade over the span that also ranked fifth.

Poyer was not himself to close out the 2022 campaign, battling through injury to be out there. Perhaps he can be convinced to return for one or two final runs at a price tag lower than the one he presumably wanted on an extension before the season began."

Questions are circulating around what the Bills are going to do when Free Agency kicks off on Wednesday. ESPN's Alaina Getzenberg takes a look at what players might not be in a Bills uniform next season, what potential players could fill open roster spots, and what positions could see new faces next season.

"Middle linebacker and safety would immediately become major needs for the Bills with depth at safety already a concern. Safety Micah Hyde's contract is up after this season and Damar Hamlin continues to visit specialists to determine if he can get clearance to return to football. Sixth-round pick Christian Benford is a potential candidate to shift from cornerback to safety, but McDermott said the current plan is to have him at cornerback." – Getzenberg

And with a handful of members of the offensive line hitting the market, Getzenberg believes that, along with wide receivers, are positions of need to keep an eye on.

"Protecting Allen is a major priority -- Allen is coming off the second-highest sack total of his career (33) -- but finding help at the price the Bills can pay may be difficult. The team already re-signed Ike Boettger, who could compete for a starting role. They will likely address the line in the draft, but the team could sign some depth."

Potential fits at offensive line: Rams G David Edwards (connection to offensive line coach Aaron Kromer), Broncos OL Dalton Risner.

Potential fits at offensive skill positions: Jets WR Braxton Berrios (returner potential as well), Colts WR Parris Campbell, Titans TE Austin Hooper, Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki, Saints TE Juwan Johnson (RFA).

No. 14, S Jordan Poyer: Poyer is coming off one of his best seasons, and he's been one of the cornerstones of the Sean McDermott era in Buffalo. He could be the Bills' Devin McCourty, refusing to age as he directs the secondary.

No. 81, RB Devin Singletary: Singletary scores well annually in PFF's "elusive" ranking, matching the eye test that he usually gets more yards than what's blocked for him by the O-line.

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