On Wednesday, the Bills officially announced the team has agreed to terms with seven unrestricted free agents.
NFL analysts are taking this opportunity to assign grades on the vast numbers of moves being made around the league during the 2019 free agency period. Here’s a sample of what they’re saying about the Bills’ free agent additions so far.
Mitch Morse: Grade B+
I love this move. Morse is an athletic player who can stabilize the middle of the Bills offense. Buffalo also signed Spencer Long, who has played center, but it looks like he will play guard.
Morse gives second-year quarterback Josh Allen a nice, steady player under center, which is important for a young passer.
John Brown: Grade B+
I love this move for the Bills. Brown is a deep threat with blazing speed who is a perfect fit for Josh Allen, the big-armed second-year Bills quarterback. Brown has been a 1,000-yard receiver in his career (back with the Cardinals) and I think he can be that with the Bills in 2019.
Brown's ability to stretch the defense was on display early last year for the Ravens when Joe Flacco was playing, but when Lamar Jackson took over he kind of vanished. That won't happen with Allen's ability to drive the football.
John Brown: Grade = B
Josh Allen has his deep threat. Brown impressed in the first half of a one-year, $5 million deal with the Ravens last season, as the former Cardinals standout racked up 558 yards and four touchdowns through the first seven games. … this is a high-upside signing for a Bills team that needed one for Allen's sake.
Mitch Morse: Grade = B
Morse should be a huge aid for Josh Allen in terms of helping to set protections in Brian Daboll's offense.
Cole Beasley: Grade = B+
The Bills were able to fill a need early on in free agency and did so without giving away a ridiculous amount of money. Playing for a more creative offensive coordinator should allow Cole Beasley to easily play up to this modest deal.
Frank Gore: Grade = B+
You never know when Frank Gore is just going to fall off a cliff, but he showed no signs of doing that last year. Even in a reserve role behind Shady McCoy, Gore should have no problem doing enough to justify this modest contract.
Tyler Nsekhe: Grade = A
Buffalo’s mission to upgrade the talent around Josh Allen continues. Nsekhe is the second offensive line upgrade the Bills added along with Mitch Morse. Nsekhe has long been seen as one of the top backup offensive linemen in the league. Whenever Washington was without Trent Williams or Morgan Moses, Nsekhe had no problem filling in for them for games at a time.
If Nsekhe can continue to play at the level he did as a part time starter, then the Bills will have found a valuable piece along their offensive line. … Great signing for both parties.
John Brown: Grade = A
Just a few years ago, John Brown looked like he was going to become a star wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals. In 2015, Brown had a career high 1003 yards and seven touchdowns in his second year in the league. Since then, Brown has dealt with injuries, but he had a nice bounce back season for the Ravens, totaling 715 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
Brown never really developed a chemistry with Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, but he still showed that he’s a talented receiver that can play a big role in an offense. The Bills desperately needed to upgrade their wide receivers for quarterback Josh Allen — John Brown is a great start.
The winners from Day 1 of the legal tampering period:
Every quarterback needs weapons, no matter how athletic or far they can throw, and that’s exactly what the Bills have addressed in their first few hours of free agency. After agreeing to terms with Frank Gore, they quickly went after two of the top receiving options at budget pickups, securing the services of John Brown and Cole Beasley to be targets for Josh Allen. Gore was the highest-graded running back in the AFC East a year ago, and even at 35 years old in 2018, was a tough guy to bring down.
Brown had a tough time in Baltimore with their quarterback situation during the 2018 season but he can still fly while Beasley adds a reliable slot option. Beasley finished seventh in total receiving yards from the slot a season ago in Dallas and has shown no signs of slowing down. The Bills also tightened up at center by signing Mitch Morse, the current record holder for longest streak of pass-blocking snaps without allowing a sack. They added Ty Nsekhe as well, who has played well in limited duty as a swing tackle and performed great in pass protection, allowing just 49 pressures over the past four years of 753 pass-blocking snaps.
The Bills addressed big needs early and are putting Allen in a place to succeed as best they can. And that’s a win.
Cole Beasley: Grade = A-
John Brown: Grade = B
The Buffalo Bills’ offense suddenly looks a lot more interesting.
The Bills on Tuesday reportedly agreed to contracts with a pair of veteran receivers: speedy John Brown and slot receiver Cole Beasley, both of whom should bring different, but intriguing, elements to a Bills offense that is trying to maximize the skills of second-year quarterback Josh Allen.
Kudos to the Bills for realizing that for Allen to make a substantial jump in 2019, they’ve got to give him players who will help him succeed. The Bills are getting slightly more value it appears with the Beasley deal, and he has the potential to be a huge asset to a young quarterback right away, just like he was for Dak Prescott in Dallas.