Analysis

What’s Next in Buffalo? Breaking Down the Bills’ Offseason Game Plan

What's Next in Buffalo? Breaking Down the Bills' Offseason Game Plan

The heartbreaking loss the Buffalo Bills suffered against the Chiefs is still fresh in the mind of all football fans. With that being said the NFL is a business and there is always work to do to improve a team for the next year. Looking at contract situations and upcoming needs is a very important part of the start of the offseason. With the Buffalo Bills being the most recent team to start looking toward the future we will take a deeper dive into the details of their current situation. The Buffalo Bills have the estimated 22nd most cap space in 2022 with a total of 10.9m.  

Upcoming Contract Extensions:

This offseason the Buffalo Bills have some of their key pieces coming up on contract extensions and some players have outgrown their current ones. Brandon Beane has done a great job at drafting talent and is now faced with the decisions to extend those pieces in the way that suits the Bills the best. 

Stefon Diggs: 

Diggs is technically still under contract through the 2023 season with the contract he signed before being traded from the Minnesota Vikings. His contract talks will most likely surround increases in AAV and adding a couple years to his current deal. Diggs’ current 2022 cap hit ranks him 9th in the league and 7m behind the player in 1st. He has arguably over-performed his contract and is currently valued around 22m per year.

Tremaine Edmunds:

Edmunds is entering the last year of his rookie contract in 2022 where he will make a base salary of 12.7m. He has been an integral part of the Bills’ upward trend since being drafted. A major upside to Edmunds is that he will be 24 years old at the start of next season and has stayed relatively healthy. He has performed well enough to earn a contract extension and has an estimated value of 13.4m per year. 

Levi Wallace:

Levi Wallace has been a very pleasant surprise that Brandon Beane and his staff found after the conclusion of the 2018 draft. Wallace was an UDFA out of Alabama that the Bills signed and developed. Last year he signed a restricted free agent deal with the Bills and will now be unrestricted. In the absence of Tre White this season, Wallace had the added pressure to step up his play this season. He has arguably performed well enough to earn himself a multi-year contract which has been estimated at a value of 5.7m per year. 

Harrison Phillips:

Phillips was a third round pick for the Buffalo Bills out of Stanford in 2018. He has primarily been a rotational player who is effective against the run. Two years ago he tore his ACL and seemed to have some lingering effects. This year Phillips finally was able to regain his explosive legs and disruptive play again. He has turned into a leader on the defensive line and made a huge impact in the Buffalo community. There is no estimated market value for him yet but he has played himself into contract extension talks as a player and leader.

2022 Free Agent List: 

Emanuel Sanders, Isaiah McKenzie, Ike Boettger, Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, Vernon Butler, Efe Obada, Harrison Phillips, Justin Zimmer, Siran Neal, Mitch Trubisky, Taiwan Jones, Matt Bredia, Ryan Bates (RFA)

Team Needs: 

After looking at possible contract extensions and the upcoming free agents, it is important to look at the prominent team needs that will need to be assessed this offseason. The position group with the largest number of free agents is the defensive line. This group of free agents consists of 3 DT’s and 3 DE’s which leaves them with a total of 4 defensive linemen signed to the 2022 season. The defensive line play this year had been inconsistent against the power run teams. The nose tackle position is a spot where the Bills will need to improve on if they want to become more stout against interior double teams next season. Adding depth to this group to create a fresh rotation of pass rushers and a more consistent run defense should be an important goal this offseason.

The other side of the trenches is another key spot for the Bills to tend to this offseason. They have a good core of offensive linemen with 7 signed going into the 2022 season. A critical factor of building an offensive line is the depth to sustain competent play through an entire season filled with injuries. Their run game production was very volatile this season due to the lack of power on the interior of the line. Creating more depth in this offensive line and raising the competitive expectations is the next biggest need for the Bills to fill in this upcoming offseason.