The June 1st tender date has officially passed and this opens up tons of possibilities for every and all NFL teams. For the Buffalo Bills, they restructured star WR Stefon Diggs’ contract, saving around $8 million in cap space this year. This gives the front office the ability to sign or trade for one of the better-named players on the market right now.
In the trade market, three names have been floating around. Obviously, Julio Jones exists and would blow the roof off of this offense. Another trade candidate that has been rumored to Buffalo for quite some time now is Zach Ertz. The third is a current unhappy Viking named Danielle Hunter, does that sentence ring a bell? I doubt any of these trades happen, except for maybe Ertz, as I believe Beane, McDermott and the Bills have their eyes set on some free agents. For this week’s Bills Mafia Poll, I listed Steven Nelson, Richard Sherman, Jurrell Casey, and Kawann Short as potential free-agent signings. Let’s take a look at the results.
CB Steven Nelson (25.9%)
Nelson has been a popular name as of late on Bills Twitter. It was revealed roughly two weeks ago that Buffalo had interest in the former Steelers Corner. So did a quarter of Bills Mafia. He’s a 28-year-old boundary zone Corner who would fit in great opposite Tre White. Through five years in the NFL, Nelson has tallied 52 pass deflections to go along with 7 interceptions and 291 total tackles. Nelson has a ton of regular season and postseason experience throughout his time with Kansas City and Pittsburgh. Another plus for Nelson would be getting to know two AFC top-dawgs defensive looks and strategies. What I love most about this would be the presence of a true camp battle.
Dane Jackson has impressed again through the first few days of OTAs and is truly closing the gap between himself and Levi Wallace. Bringing in Nelson to compete alongside Wallace and Jackson would push the secondary to a new level. And hey, if Nelson is beaten out by Wallace and Jackson, just cut him. Steven Nelson could be a great addition to this team, filling a position of need with a proven commodity. We’ll see what Beane decides to do, as other great Corners are still available in free agency.
CB Richard Sherman (35%)
Richard Sherman has been a pipe-dream for Bills Mafia for some years now. The five-time All-Pro has solidified his presence as a top zone boundary Corner for this generation. Now 32, Sherman is still looking for a team to join for 2021. Earlier this year, McDermott joined Sherman’s podcast and the two seemed to get along well. Furthermore, Sherman made a point to say that he would love to be a part of this Bills team and compete for a Super Bowl. Sherman would elevate this secondary group to arguably the best in the NFL, giving opposing Receivers headaches after running circles in the zone traps manned by White and Sherman. This could lead to a lot more coverage sacks as well. All in all, I believe Sherman is the perfect signing for this team. Get him on a one-year deal, $8 million, and go win a Super Bowl.
DT Jurrell Casey (18.5%)
Jurrell Casey has been in the NFL since 2011 and, other than last year with the Denver Broncos (only 3 games played, 14 tackles), has been one of the best Defensive Tackles in the league. In nine years in Tennessee, he was a five-time Pro Bowler and had statistical highs of 10.5 sacks, 13 TFLs, and 19 QB hits.
The production is there but the scheme fit is what concerns me. Though his game has changed, Casey made his name in the NFL as a 3-4 down DE, which is far from Buffalo’s scheme. His most likely spot on this defense would be the 3T DT spot. However, with Star Lotulelei coming back, Ed Oliver is meant to move back to the 3T spot. This move is weird to me. What is the priority here Bills Mafia? Talent? Fit? Cap? If so, look elsewhere. Maybe a true 1T defensive lineman.
DT Kawann Short (20.6%)
Here’s the big 1T we’ve been looking for. Despite not playing much in the last two seasons, Kawann Short has been an impeccable talent since entering the league in 2014. In his first six years with the Panthers, he put up 32.5 sacks and practically lived in opposing teams’ backfields. He has the ability to play either DT spot, providing value both as a gap-plugging run-stopper and a pass-rushing sack guy.
Plus, there’s the age-old Panther-Bill correlation. McDermott was the man in Carolina during Short’s best years and reuniting the two of them could be a great addition to the team and locker room. Other than Sherman, Short would be my pick to add to this Bills team following the restructuring of Stefon Diggs’ contract due to position of need and past correlations.
Let me know of guys you’d want the Bills to go out and sign! As always, thank you all for the feedback on this week’s Bills Mafia poll. Make sure to follow @SemiAverageRigs on Twitter to be a part of future polling processes.