The Buffalo Bills have been rather quiet in free agency. With still some holes to fill, which remaining free agents should they look at?
The Buffalo Bills have been rather quiet in free agency thus far. The signing of Micah Hyde was a strong one, which should help to solidify the back end of their defense. Unfortunately, besides Hyde they have not brought in anyone significant.
The signings of wide receivers Andre Holmes and Corey “Philly” Brown appears to be a band aid approach on a much depleted wide receiver corps. Additionally on the defensive side of the ball, they have not addressed the corner position. With Stephon Gilmore heading to their division rival, the New England Patriots, on a long term deal, they are in desperate need of some playmakers in the secondary.
With nearly of all the top free agents already off the market, the talent still available to be signed is extremely thin. Nevertheless, there are some free agents who the Bills should seriously consider. The Bills will look to the draft to fill some of these holes on their roster. Yet the draft cannot fill 3-4 starting positions which are currently open on this roster. A starting receiver, an outside pass rusher and a corner are required.
The Bills should definitely look to free agency to fill a couple of these holes. These three remaining free agents ought to intrigue the Buffalo Bills.
Nov 20, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd (15) against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Cardinals 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
3. Michael Floyd, WR
The 2016 NFL season for Michael Floyd was rather disappointing. He was released from the Arizona Cardinals after being charged with a DUI in mid-December. Up to that point, he only had 33 catches for 446 yards.
Floyd later signed with the Patriots, but was not given a real chance, and played a mere two games. With two DUIs on his record, he could be considered a risky signing. However, he is exactly what the Bills need. Buffalo severely lacks a wide receiver who can stretch the field, and Michael Floyd can do exactly that. His play has declined in the past couple of years. However, he does not need to be the No. 1 receiver on this team.
If Sammy Watkins can stay healthy, they will need a couple of receivers who can help round out this corps. Robert Woods was never spectacular for the Bills, but that’s the type of role they’d need Floyd to fill — and hopefully improve that spot from Woods’ production. The upside here is Floyd has a 1,000-yard campaign under his belt and is only 27 years old.
The Bills have been linked to receivers such as Corey Davis and Mike Williams in the first round. But as we all know, the NFL draft is unpredictable and they are not guaranteed to take either Williams or Davis. If the Bills decide to pass on a wide receiver in the first round, they should definitely look at Floyd to help complement Watkins.
The reasons as to why Erik Walden remains unsigned are beyond me. A player who has 11 sacks in a season prior to hitting the open market does not tend to last long. Nonetheless, this is the case for Walden. The 31-year-old outside linebacker had a career year last year with the Indianapolis Colts.
Walden’s 11 sacks led the Colts and was also a career high for him. The downside is that he had never eclipsed more than three sacks prior to the 2016 season, and he isn’t getting any younger. He will be 32 years old when the 2017 season begins, and teams aren’t opening up their check books for aging pass rushers.
The Bills already have a solid front 7. With Marcel Dareus as the anchor of that defense, they are in pretty good shape on the interior. Then again, they could definitely use some pass rushing help. The Bills brought back linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, which was a solid move.
Alexander aside, their linebacker corps requires some additional assistance. Reggie Ragland is coming off a season ending surgery and has not yet played an NFL snap. Bringing in a situational pass rusher who had 11 sacks last season on a cheap, short term deal would be a perfect move for this defense. Walden checks every box in that regard.
Sep 11, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Chicago Bears cornerback Tracy Porter (21) is congratulated by running back Paul Lasike (47) after making an interception during the first quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
1. Tracy Porter, CB
The recently released 30-year-old corner is now looking for a new team. Tracy Porter had an up and down 2016 season with the Chicago Bears. After a solid start to the season, he started to fall off as the year progressed. He had two interceptions in the first six weeks, and did not have one the rest of the season. Meanwhile, there were some injury issues he had to deal with as well.
The decision by the Bears to cut him was a combination of the $3.6 million savings in cap space they received and the fact that Chicago is entering a massive rebuild. Even though the Bears released him, Porter can still play. Once the Super Bowl hero for the Saints, the 30-year-old still has some left in the tank. The Bills have a much depleted secondary after the loss of Stephon Gilmore, and could benefit from some veteran experience.
Besides Ronald Darby, there is not a proven corner on this roster. The Bills will look for second-year rookie Kevon Seymour to step up and win the second corner spot behind Darby. However, if he does not live up to Sean McDermott’s expectations, it would be nice to have a veteran corner to fall back on. Porter would be a nice complement to the very young cornerback corps that’s (likely) only going to get younger after the draft in Buffalo.