10 Buffalo Bills Trade Targets (Part 2)

The Buffalo Bills are contenders, but they have some significant needs heading into the trade deadline (11/3). In Part 1, I listed 10 players the Bills should target at the defensive tackle and nickel back positions. Now, in Part 2, I will present 10 players that they can target at defensive end, outside linebacker, tight end, and running back. I will also guesstimate the potential cost (i.e. draft picks and/or players) of acquiring each player.

Defensive End

1.) Carl Lawson (Bengals)

Now, I know Bills Mafia would prefer to get either Geno Atkins or Carlos Dunlap, but the team can’t afford them. Carl Lawson, on the other hand, is in the last year of his rookie deal, making $2.13 million in base salary this year. He has been a decent rotational pass rusher with the Bengals, tallying 18 sacks in almost three and a half years. There is no reason to think he couldn’t do the same for Buffalo.

Trade Value: 5th round pick

2.) Takkarist McKinley (Falcons)

Takk McKinley could fill Shaq Lawson’s role in the d-line rotation. (Photo courtesy of Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Takk McKinley, a former 2017 first-round pick, has not lived up to expectations in Atlanta. He has had similar numbers to Shaq Lawson, tallying 17.5 sacks, 22 tackles for loss (TFLs), and 45 quarterback hits to this point in his career. While he would only be a rental as Atlanta declined his fifth-year option, he is a considerable (and affordable) upgrade in the pass rush.

Trade Value: Conditional 4th round pick

3.) Derek Barnett (Eagles)

Like McKinley, Derek Barnett has also had Shaq Lawson like numbers so far, tallying 17.5 sacks, 26 TFLs, and 56 quarterback hits in three-plus years in Philly. He does currently play in a rotation (playing less than 50% of defensive snaps) and is outperforming Trent Murphy and Jerry Hughes. Barnett is also in the fourth year of his rookie deal, but the Eagles exercised his fifth-year option. This actually makes him less desirable as the Bills would be on the hook for $10.05 million if he is not released before the 2021 league year. Additionally, since the Eagles are currently in first place in the NFC East, they are less likely to sell at the trade deadline.

Trade Value: 5th round pick

Outside Linebacker

4.) Jarrad Davis (Lions)

Jarrad Davis is another former first-round pick who didn’t live up to expectations. Despite tallying 196 total tackles and eight sacks in his first two seasons, he has fallen out of favor with Matt Patricia. He may be a marginal upgrade over A.J. Klein, but an upgrade nonetheless. He would also be a rental as Detroit declined his fifth-year option, making $1.96 million in base salary.

Trade Value: 5th round pick

5.) Thomas Davis (Washington Football Team)

Thomas Davis can be a veteran leader for Buffalo’s defense. (Photo courtesy of The Washington Times)

We have finally reached the obligatory former Panther. Now, If you are done throwing tomatoes at me, I will explain why Davis could be a decent option. Obviously, he is familiar with the McDermott defense. He was better than Klein in pass coverage last season, allowing only 7.9 yards per catch and 5.2 yards per target compared to Klein’s 10.4 and 7.2 respectively. He is also on an expiring deal, making only $1.5 million in base salary (+ per game active bonus). However, Davis could make a significant contribution as a leader. It is clear that Buffalo misses elder statesmen Lorenzo Alexander and Kyle Williams, who kept the train going when Sean McDermott couldn’t. Maybe bringing in a former captain who is familiar with the system can help put the defense back on track. Plus, he is 37 and will likely not command a significant amount of draft capital.

Trade Value: Conditional 7th round pick

6.) Denzel Perryman (Chargers)

Davis’s former Chargers teammate, Denzel Perryman, is another intriguing option at outside linebacker. While he is listed as a starter, he has not played over 50% of the team’s defensive snaps in any of his six years with the Bolts. Perryman is not good in pass coverage, but he is well suited for run defense. This means he likely would not replace Klein in pass coverage. He is also on an expiring deal, making only $1 million in base salary (+ per game active bonus).

Trade Value: 6th round pick

Tight End

7.) David Njoku (Browns)

David Njoku could give the Bills another athletic receiving threat at tight end. (Photo courtesy of Joshua Gunter/cleveland.com)

Njoku is yet another former first-round pick who has not lived up to expectations. He was productive his first two years with the Browns, catching 88 receptions for 1,025 yards and eight touchdowns in 32 games. However, he has missed 15 games since 2019 due to injury. This past offseason, Cleveland signed Austin Hooper and drafted Harrison Bryant, making Njoku all but expendable. He has become fed up with his situation and requested a trade from the team. Njoku is set to make $1.76 million in base salary this year and will make $6.01 million next year on his fifth-year option. Since he wants out of Cleveland, he would not command significant value on the trade market. Additionally, if no team bites on him before the deadline, the Browns would likely have to release him or risk a locker room distraction (just like what happened with Quinton Spain).

Trade Value: Conditional 6th round pick OR Waiver Claim

8.) Will Dissly (Seahawks)

Dissly showed some flashes of brilliance in 2019, catching 23 of 27 targets for 262 yards and four touchdowns in six games before injuries derailed his season. Additionally, he has yet to have an official drop in his NFL career, compared to Dawson Knox’s 12. (That’s invigorating to me as well.) However, he has not had the same opportunities in 2020 given the signing of Greg Olsen and the emergence of D.K. Metcalf. He is currently in the third year of his rookie deal and will make a total of $1.67 million in base salary in 2020 and 2021.

Trade Value: 5th round pick

Running Back

9.) Kerryon Johnson (Lions)

Johnson is another Detroit player who has fallen out of favor with Matt Patricia. The team has all but moved on from him, having drafted D’Andre Swift and signed Adrian Peterson this past offseason. He does have some injury issues, as he missed 14 games over his first two seasons. However, when he was healthy, he was a solid back. In the 18 games he was on the field, he had 231 carries for 1,044 yards and six touchdowns. He can be that between the tackles back Buffalo has been missing since Frank Gore left. Plus, he is under contract through the end of next season making just $1.07 million this year and $1.37 million next year.

Trade Value: 5th round pick

10.) Jordan Howard (Dolphins)

The Bills should strongly consider getting Jordan Howard, a proven between the tackles and goal line back. (Photo courtesy of David Maialetti/Philadelphia Enquirer)

Howard was once considered a top back in the league. In his three seasons in Chicago, he gained 3,370 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns on 778 carries. Then, he was traded to Philly where he put up decent numbers in a reduced role (119 carries for 525 yards and six touchdowns). However, it wasn’t enough to keep him there long term, so he signed a two-year deal with the Dolphins this past offseason. Unfortunately, he has been nonexistent in their offense and the team is willing to trade him after two healthy scratches. The Bills could use a veteran between the tackles and goal-line back. Howard is set to make $1.75 million this year and $4.98 million next year, though he can be released this offseason with no dead cap. Miami’s willingness to part ways leads me to believe he could be cut if no suitors emerge.

Trade Value: Conditional 7th round pick OR Free Agency

Author Notes

* All player stats provided by Pro Football Reference.

* All contract figures provided by Spotrac.

What do you think? Which of these players should the Bills go after? Is there anyone I missed? Let me know on Twitter (@zvaughn2712).

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