The Buffalo Bills were able to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1999. Here are five players they can target in free agency to reach them again.
2017 was a fantastic year for the Buffalo Bills. Though they kind of tried to tank and needed the most clutch moment of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton’s career, the Bills ended their league-worst playoff drought. It was most glorious. While the Bills lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars 10-3 in the AFC Wild Card round, reaching the AFC playoffs was so worth it for the Bills.
It gives this group a reaffirmation that yes, Sean McDermott is the right hire at head coach. He and general manager Brandon Beane are in lockstep to make the Bills playoff viable for at least the rest of the decade. While Buffalo has several great players on both sides of the ball, they can definitely find ways to get better in 2018 NFL free agency.
Buffalo is middle of the pack in the league with $31,646,937 in available cap space. That means the Bills could land at least two marquee free agents should Beane and McDermott feel so inclined. While the Bills look to be solid in the trenches, they could use a bit more dynamism in the passing game, as well as a nose tackle to keep this defense in check.
Not to say that Buffalo will be a marquee free agency destination, but free agents across the league have to like what they have seen out of the Bills under the new regime. Here are the five player that the Bills will need to target in the upcoming free agency period.
WR, Buffalo Bills
Though it was not a great first season in Buffalo, the Bills should at least look at potentially bringing back wide receiver Jordan Matthews. You have to remember that he was traded before the start of the season for cornerback Ronald Darby with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Matthews will be hitting unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career. He made $4,949,269 on his rookie contract he signed with the Eagles in 2014 out of Vanderbilt University. Buffalo doesn’t have to give him a one-year deal, but should consider giving him another year to prove himself valuable in yet another offense he’ll have to learn.
Matthews has had Chip Kelly as his coach in Philadelphia his first two years in the league. Doug Pederson, Frank Reich and John DeFilippo brought a new scheme with them to the Eagles in 2016. After being traded to the Bills, Matthews had to learn what Rick Dennison wanted to do. Now in 2018, he’ll have to figure out what former Alabama Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is all about.
In college and in his first years with the Eagles, Matthews was a pass-catching phenom. He has 250 career receptions for 2,955 yards and 20 touchdowns. Since it’s hard to throw the ball in Buffalo to begin with, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to sign Matthews to a one-year deal to see if he gels better in Daboll’s offense. You did trade for him, Buffalo, so you might as well full vet your investment.