Buffalo Bills - 2021 Free Agent Frenzy Recap
Writer: Alex James
Editor: Brandon Caputo
Photo Credit: Sara Scmidle via BuffaloBills.com
The 2020-2021 NFL season is now etched into football history and a season no Buffalo Bills fan will ever forget. First and foremost, it took place during the notable Covid-19 pandemic and Bills fan were in attendance for any of the regular season home games.
Second, we seen Josh Allen take an incredible leap forward in his career, from average starting QB to talks of being in contention for the MVP race. Are Buffalo fans seeing the next resemblance of the Bills "God" himself
Next, the Bills posted thirteen regular season wins and clinched the AFC East Division, taking it away from long-time rivals the New England Patriots.
Lastly, the Bills came within one game of playing for the Superbowl, while setting a precedence for the future in what the team, fans, and general football fans expect from the Buffalo Bills in the years to come.
So, what’s the first step in building off a legacy year for the Bills franchise? Well, roster changes for one will be a talking point from now until the beginning of the 1st regular season games. Throughout the league, there are always some astonishing signings that take place and can change the face of a franchise in the blink of an eye. Look at Tampa Bay, signing Tom Brady and winning the Superbowl in only one year.
What’s to stop the Bills from adding some key pieces in areas of weakness and giving the Chiefs a run for their money next? Let’s take look at what GM Brandon Beane and Coach Sean McDermott have already begun to the roster during the 2021 offseason:
Notable Free Agent Signings
Mitchell Trubisky - CHI Bears
The most interesting offseason signing so far and a talking point for all Bills fans, is the signing of former 2nd overall pick, from the Chicago Bears, quarterback "Magic" Mitch Trubisky.
For some, this is a head scratcher.
Do the Bills feel Jake Fromm isn’t ready to take the next step and be a backup for Allen?
What has Matt Barkley shown for him to be out of a job? Going to fulfill this role again?
Photo Credit: Getty Images
There can be speculation for the rest of the summer for this signing and basically and transaction the Bills make from here on out. However, Brandon Beane has changed this franchise within his limited time here and we can trust the analytics for any big (or small) signing he makes.
If the inevitable happens and Allen gets hurt (knock on wood he doesn’t) Trubisky likely gives the Bills the best opportunity to win a football game. Although he’s coming off a forgettable year in battling Nick Foles for the starting position, Trubisky will know the role he’s expected to fulfill in Buffalo and hopefully will flourish in backup position for Allen. Who doesn’t want to see some Magic Mitch in the future? Albeit it being Week 17 when we already clinched a home playoff spot.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Jacob Hollister - SEA Seahawks
Aside from Dawson Knox, the tight end position has been a revolving door with players coming and going in Buffalo. Hollister, a fellow Wyoming alumnus played two seasons with Allen (2015 & 2016) and is being reunited again on a one-year deal.
While Knox’ offensive prowess slipped during his sophomore year the two players are similar offensively in yardage. With the current wide receiver core, the tight end position be less relied on for their scoring capabilities and more so for blocking and creating space. With Lee Smith & Tyler Kroft moving on, Hollister will be given ample opportunity to make an impact and forge himself a starting position.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Butch Dill
Emmanuel Sanders - NO Saints
Sanders was once an elite wide out in the league and now at 34 is at the tail end of his career joining the Bills and adding further depth to the WR core. Sanders has 3 seasons where he accumulated over 1000 yards and will likely be the number 3 or 4 wideout for Buffalo next season.
Most importantly, he gives Allen another pay of reliable hands to catch the ball and the veteran status to rely on during difficult situations.
Photo Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Haack - MIA Dolphins
The former Miami Dolphins punter accumulated an average punt of 44.7 yards, 6 yards less the Bojorquez in the 2020 season (although more attempts were made). He is more costly then what the front office is used to paying a punter, however Beane has more knowledge of what will be best for the team and we should trust his judgment.
Photo Credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images
Matt Breida - MIA Dolphins
Matt Breida was signed by the Bills on a one year contract. Another former Miami Dolphin (along with previously mentioned Haack) will have a difficult time cracking the lineup with Singletary and Moss ahead of him in the depth chart.
While he may see limited snaps in a crowded backfield, Brieda brings some veteran experience for the Bills younger running backs and is a reliable carrier if needed, as one of the most well known running backs in the NFL today when it comes to elite level speed out of the backfield.
Other signings: Jordan Devey - LV Raiders, Efe Obada - CAR Panthers
Photo Credit: twitter.com/BuffaloBills
John Feliciano & Daryl Williams
The Bills renewed two offensive linemen contracts for 3 more years in Feliciano and Williams. Williams had a terrific year playing in all 16 games. He’s currently in his prime and will be impactful for protecting Allen and leading the O-line in the future. Feliciano was set to have a big 2020 season until being sidelined and missing the first half of the 2020 season. When he did return, he was shifted across the line because of injuries and didn’t have the impact everyone expected. With a full healthy offseason, Feliciano should hit the ground running in 2021 and be a force to be reckoned with on the line next year. Feliciano is my choice for bounce-back player of the year for the 2021 season.
Photo Credit: BuffaloBills.com
Every Bills fan gasped a sigh of relief when the news broke that Milano had re-signed for another 4 years, and his partnership with Edmunds will continue for the foreseeable future. Most fans assumed he was going to go where the money was offered, and it was astonishing he decided to stay in Buffalo.
When healthy, Milano has been brilliant alongside Edmunds, and elevated this defense to another level.
Bills fans saw how shaky things were at the beginning of 2020, with him out and Edmunds playing injured.
The goal for Milano will now be staying healthy and building off how he ended his 2020 season.
Again, Beane deserves so much praise for signing Milano to a team-healthy deal and maintaining a rising star on defence. None of us will be surprised to see Milano in future Pro Bowls.
Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
What else can be said about Hyde? Along with Poyer, the two have been the most consistent safety duo in the NFL since 2017.
We are lucky to have him for another 2 years, enough said.
Other notable re-signings: Levi Wallace, Tyler Matakevich, Taiwan Jones & Isaiah McKenzie.
"Smokey" Brown played two seasons with the Bills prior to his release and now signing with the
Las Vegas Raiders. After the 1000-yard, season in 2019 there was heavy expectations for Brown in 2020;
that is until the signing of Stefon Diggs. Add into the picture an incredible season by Beasley and rookie
Gabe Davis, and lagging injuries all season, it was best for both parties to part ways.
Smith’s second stint with Buffalo comes to an end after playing in only ten games during the
2020-2021 season. Smith was traded to the Atlanta Falcons for a future late round draft pick.
He was beloved by his teammates and will be missed.
Jefferson shown moments of greatness but ultimately ended the season with 3 sacks and 23 tackles and was released by the Bills. Best of luck to Jefferson in his future endeavours as a Las Vegas Raider.
Other notable releases: Matt Barkley & Tyler Kroft.
Hope you enjoyed my 1st piece as a Contributor for the Armchair GM's and look forward to delivering more written Bills content for you this offseason, going into the 2021 NFL Season!
Circle the Wagons,
Do you agree or disagree with the offseason changes the Bills have made thus far? What are other moves would you like to see throughout spring and summer? The next segment will discuss the 2021 NFL draft next month. What position would you like the Bills to draft and further strengthen the roster? Comment and discuss below!