The Buffalo Bills will find themselves positioned for a Super Bowl run if General Manager Brandon Beane can capitalize on something special – a talented quarterback on a rookie deal.
Seven of the 12 playoff teams last year featured a starting quarterback on their rookie contract. When the most important position in football commands a low percentage of a team’s salary cap, they can afford to fill the roster with talented players.
For example, the Los Angeles Rams made the Super Bowl while spending the sixth least amount of money on the quarterback position, according to overthecap.com. The Rams took advantage of a talented young quarterback in Jared Goff and spent money on the rest of the roster. The team was able to resign Defensive Tackle Aaron Donald and Running Back Todd Gurley to monster contracts and added several other valuable pieces via free agency or trades (Defensive Tackle Ndamukong Suh, Left Tackle Andrew Whitworth and Cornerback Aqib Talib).
The Bills are not the Rams and don’t have talent such as Donald or Gurley to resign. However, the Bills have the fourth least amount of money owed to the quarterback position and also possess the fourth highest cap space ($78,837,065).
Josh Allen, a 22-year-old quarterback out of Wyoming, showcased his immense talent in 11 starts as a rookie last season. There is no guarantee that Allen is the Bills’ franchise quarterback, but Beane owes it to the team and its fans to take advantage of Allen’s contract by surrounding him with weapons and protection.
Last year, the Bills offensive line allowed 41 sacks (14th worst) and failed to create running lanes. Although the team gained 1,984 yards on the ground, Allen led the team with 631 yards because he was running for his life. After removing Allen’s rushing yards from the team total, Buffalo ranked 31st in total rushing yards, according to NFL.com.
To improve the rushing attack and protect Allen, there needs to be significant upgrades to the offensive line. Last year, the Bills spent $13,535,618 on the offensive line, which is dead last in the league. Beane must look into signing at least one top offensive linemen in free agency and drafting several top prospects.
Buffalo also ranked 31st in passing offense last season, which coincides with the fact they spent the least in the league on the wide receiver position ($3,135,006).
A team can’t just throw money at random players and expect them to perform though. A huge part of building a successful football team is hitting on draft picks, which the Bills have done the last two years (Tre’Davious White, Tremaine Edmunds, Matt Milano, and Dion Dawkins).
The future is bright in Buffalo, how bright though, depends on Beane’s approach this offseason. For the Bills to make a Super Bowl run by 2020, Beane must hit on several draft picks and sign top tier free agents this offseason.