An underrated area of concern for the Bills heading into the 2020 offseason is cornerback. Currently, the only cornerbacks signed through next season for Buffalo are Tre’Davious White and Taron Johnson. Although the Bills may choose to resign players like Levi Wallace or Kevin Johnson, there still is room for improvement. With proven veterans like Darius Slay, James Bradberry and Josh Norman hitting the open market and a future big contract extension for White likely, it begs the question and this week’s Thursday Thought: What should the Bills do at cornerback?
We know that one of the Bills most pressing needs to upgrade their wide receivers and edge rushers. Yet, not a lot of people are talking about the clear need at cornerback. As I mentioned earlier, the Bills only have two cornerbacks signed on the roster for next season, so this front office will have to do something at that position.
Let’s first look at who the Bills may want to retain on the roster. Levi Wallace was the starter opposite White for most of last season. After having a phenomenal rookie season Wallace had a very inconsistent sophomore season. Wallace found himself being picked on at times by opposing quarterbacks. However, Wallace is a young player that has the respect of his fellow players and coaches, which makes him someone Buffalo would like to keep around next season.
Kevin Johnson is the other name that will be hitting the open market. Johnson played on special teams and started some games in place of Wallace towards the end of the season. The former first-round pick had a solid season and played like a high draft pick at times. However, Johnson didn’t necessarily impress that much either. He was a very serviceable cornerback, but should the Bills bring him back and if so how much do they pay him?
If the Bills don’t like those options there are guys like Slay, Bradberry, or even potentially A.J. Bouye that could fill this role. All of these players are in the prime of their careers and playing very good football, so the Bills would have to pay these guys and with a Tre White contract on the horizon, is that the best move for Buffalo?
Lastly, the Bills could always use a higher draft pick on a cornerback if they so choose. The Bills have had some success drafting defensive backs under Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane which include Tre White, Taron Johnson, Jaquan Johnson, and Siran Neal. This would be a much cheaper option than the prior two, but the risk you run is having a very young player play an important role on defense. Do McDermott and Leslie Frazier want to do this?
What should the Bills do at cornerback this offseason? I think the best move for Buffalo is to resign Wallace first. He’s one of their guys and he’s played at a high level before. I would then bring on a veteran player that’s proven but not looking for a big contract. This means no Slay or Bradberry but maybe a player like Bradley Roby. Lastly, I’d draft a cornerback, but during day three of the draft. Try to find a player like Siran Neal that can play special teams and develop into a contributor on defense.
Mitch Broder is a contributor for The Buffalo Fanatics. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mitchell_broder