Following a tough defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game, Buffalo Bills GM Brandon Beane and the rest of his front office made some major moves to try and upgrade from the past season. He re-signed a plethora of guys like Matt Milano, Levi Wallce, Daryl Williams, and Isaiah McKenzie. He also extended Micah Hyde, Jon Feliciano, and made Josh Allen one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL. In the NFL Draft, Beane went to the trenches, drafting two DEs and two tackles in the first four rounds.
In free agency, Beane’s biggest moves were signing Emmanuel Sanders and Mitch Trubisky, both as (assumed) one-year rentals. He also agreed to deals with UK star Efe Obada, speedster Matt Breida, and Allen’s former Wyoming teammate Jacob Hollister. Now, as of August 30th, after moving Darryl Johnson for a 6th round pick from Carolina, the off-season has (presumably) come to an end. There was a lot of back and forth between fans during the last few months. Was doubling up on defensive end and tackle worth it? Was Emmanuel Sanders the best one-year rental Beane could’ve signed? Should the team have conserved more cap rather than re-signing most of the roster? Let’s see how the community graded the 2021 off-season.
An overwhelming number of people believe that Beane & Co. aced the off-season. Looking through the lens of a non-biased Bills fan page, there are many reasons as to why. Brandon Beane worked the cap like an evil villain. He’s used every dollar he could to bring in both guys who will elevate the team as well as some much needed depth. He knew what the weaknesses were, and addressed them. Longevity wise, the Buffalo Bills will have depth at positions like: tackle, edge rusher, linebacker, wide receiver, and (of course) quarterback. Beane’s biggest headline was securing the services of Josh Allen through 2029. All-in-all, I’d have to agree with the community here, there’s not much else the front office could have done, and additions such as Emmanuel Sanders, Greg Rousseau, and a nice insurance policy in Mitch Trubisky should only elevate Buffalo’s chances at a Super Bowl.
The less optimistic option, nearly ⅓ of all voters gave the Buffalo Bills a “B” grade for this off-season. When looking through this lens, let’s start with the draft. In rounds one and two, Beane took defensive linemen, a massive position of need. In rounds three and four, he took two mammoth sized tackles in Spencer Brown and Tommy Doyle. This is the biggest kicker for me. Buffalo had a ton of other needs at that point: depth corner, running back, or even a tight end could’ve been more impactful for this team right now, rather than taking a small-school tackle in the fifth round. I totally get why this move was made, as Buffalo now has two freakazoid offensive linemen, that they can develop to protect Josh throughout the bulk of his contract.
But, this team’s contention window is now. I would’ve loved to see the Bills draft a corner like Iffy Melinfonwu or Ambry Thomas. Another note is the Emmanuel Sanders signing. Receiver was, and is, a position of need due to the age and contract of Cole Beasley, as well as the departure of “Smoke” Brown. Yet, again, not for this season. The Bills could’ve used the money they spent on Sanders, as well as the money freed up from the Diggs restructure, to sign Melvin Ingram, who would have immediately upgraded this D-Line, rather than having to wait for Rousseau, Epenesa, and Basham to develop. All-in-all, this off-season gets a B from some people who thought Buffalo should go all-in on Super Bowl 56 in Los Angeles.
Not a whole lot of voters for the “C” grade option, but I get where they’re coming from. The same issues still apply, except they’re viewed more drastically. A lot of people disagreed with the Emmanuel Sanders signing, and I get why. He’s a true one-year rental, the chances that Sanders plays with Buffalo next year are slim. So, what was the point?
Does Emmanuel Sanders make this Buffalo Bills team better than Kansas City or Tampa Bay? No. A lot of Bills fans wanted some bigger moves to be made following the blowout loss to KC in the AFC Championship, and the biggest one was bringing in a 32 year-old WR on a one year deal. The Bills had opportunities to trade for Zach Ertz as well, who would be the immediate starter and offer a ton of help both in blocking and receiving. A deal never came, and now Bills twitter is stressing about Dawson Knox once again. It’s not necessarily what Buffalo did, it’s what they didn’t do.
To the Dolphins fan that snuck onto my Twitter page to vote “D” in this poll, enjoy going 8-9, Tua is definitely the future! Not.
As always thank you all for the support on the polls! Be sure to follow @SemiAverageRigs to be a part of future polling processes.