On the latest episode of The Rico Report, Rico asked some important questions. Do Buffalo Bills fans deserve an explanation for “13 Seconds”, the breakdown which cost them a chance to host the AFC Championship game against the Bengals, and a shot at the Super Bowl? Our top tight end, Dawson Knox, is due for an extension this offseason, but what is he worth? Lastly, he asks whether Cole Beasley can come back to this team and, if his large cap hit can’t be avoided, who are his potential replacements? To watch the video in it’s entirely, you can click here or on any of the timestamps on this page. Let’s get into it.
Does The Team Owe Us An Explanation for “13 Seconds”? (1:30)
Many spend a lot of time and money on this team, and the significant physical and emotional investment takes a toll on fans. It’s understandable to feel a sense of ownership over the team. As investors, financial or otherwise, are we owed an answer? No matter what though, the team will get a lashing for the loss. Is it better to keep it under wraps, or to tell everyone exactly what happened? Exactly what caused us to blow the lead Josh Allen gave us with only 13 seconds remaining?
Is it better to say “It’s over, now it’s the offseason” or to open up? McDermott could have said, “In the excitement, we didn’t tell the kickoff unit to squib it”. Or “The prevent defense failed because of X or Y”. We want to find an answer, but we also hope to somehow avoid throwing people under the bus. The fans want to know why these things happened, and to explain it to the public is to show them you value them. We’ll be here anyway, no matter how angry or upset they make us sometimes. We’ll still share our umbrella with the Buffalo Bills if it rains.
Isaiah McKenzie and Taiwan Jones said it was a “miscommunication” late in the game. Stefon Diggs doesn’t want to talk about it at all and says that it’s done. We can’t change it now. In reality, it could be any one of a thousand possibilities. Perhaps Bass hit the kick poorly or perhaps someone failed their assignment on defense. Sadly, we may never know.
The Knox Paradox (18:50)
The Carolina Panthers gave a big extension to tight end Ian Thomas. His deal came in significantly above market value. As always, we think about how this affects the Bills, considering we have a tight end extension of our own coming up very soon. The Ian Thomas signing makes the Dawson Knox extension much harder. With a reasonable value of $8-9M a year, Knox could prove a costly addition to the offense. Is he worth it or does he get paid elsewhere, perhaps even more than we can offer him?
Last offseason, he wasn’t the answer, but now he’s developed into a high-level piece, with a unique skillset and good chemistry with our franchise QB. By extending him now, can we do what we did with the Josh Allen deal, getting him paid well before the market rises even further? If we’d waited an offseason to extend Josh Allen, we would be staring at a significantly larger deal than the one we got him on just last summer. We could see a similar situation with Knox if we don’t act fast. Extending Knox now may be the smart thing to do.
Buffalo Bills Receiver Room (30:31)
The Buffalo Bills do quietly have a need at wide receiver. It’s not an immediate concern, but definitely an area that could be addressed as our cap space is low and free agency fast approaches. One player with a huge question mark over his head is Cole Beasley. ‘Bease’ commands a $6M cap hit this season and, considering his role in 2021, may not be worth that much money to keep him. Meeting needs ahead of the draft makes it more fun for all of us, so this is a question that needs answering. If Cole Beasley finds himself released or traded out of necessity, who could come in to help replace him? We have a few options.
Braxton Berrios – New York Jets
Berrios works well for this team because he has no quit in him. He’s all about breaking it off for the big play, no matter where on the field he finds himself. As with all our targets for the slot position, yards after the catch (YAC) is a significant focus. He always fights for extra yards and is young enough to help this team out for a long time. He would fill the Beasley void well, excelling in similar roles in the Big Apple. Spotrac has him at a low value of roughly 2.3M/year. If we could get him at that price it would be a steal.
Byron Pringle – Kansas City Chiefs
Pringle does a lot of the same things Berrios does, but he does it all differently. A slightly pricier option at a projected $3.2M AAV, Pringle provides a chunky YAC boost, which is something Buffalo didn’t get much of in 2021. Pringle also provides potential return ability, solving another problem we have this offseason. He could be a great culture fit too. After all, his Chiefs threw a game-losing interception 13 seconds into overtime against the Bengals. Heartbreak seems to be a founding principle of the Buffalo Bills.
Zay Jones – Las Vegas Raiders
This last one may be controversial, but we have to consider it: Zay Jones. It’s unorthodox, and unlikely, but he’s a legitimate option for a triumphant return to Western New York. Jones has improved significantly since we last saw him in blue and plays well out of the slot, unafraid of the spotlight. It could work. Does he provide enough at the position to help this team content for a Super Bowl? Perhaps, and we wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to find out.
As with all these targets, the focus is to not only get cheaper, but also get younger. The Buffalo Bills are in a Super Bowl window right now and, by making the right moves now, we can extend it as far as possible. Winning a championship is always the goal, but this offseason could prove fruitful in getting Buffalo their first Lombardi trophy, and maybe their second or third one as well. Every move we make must be made with the goal of getting there and never having another “13 Seconds” again.
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