Though the Buffalo Bills will almost certainly have a top-10 draft pick this coming April, they are only a few players away from being a contender in the AFC.
In order for the Buffalo Bills to advance towards the playoffs in 2013, a few players need to be let go, and a few need to be added. This list looks at potential free agents that would remove Buffalo from the bottom of the barrel in the AFC East and push the Bills towards the division title in 2013.
Here are the top free agents for Buffalo to target this off-season.
The Buffalo Bills have long been in the market for a big receiver to compliment Stevie Johnson, and Dwayne Bowe might be their guy.
Bowe was tendered by Kansas City in 2012 and will most likely bolt this off-season. He is listed at 6'2'' and 221 pounds and is exactly the deep field threat Buffalo needs.
In 2010 Bowe recorded 72 receptions for 1,162 yards and 15 touchdowns. In 2011 Bowe snagged 81 receptions for 1,159 yards and five scores. This year, injuries limited Bowe to 13 games but he still managed 59 catches for 801 yards and three touchdowns.
If Bowe were to sign with Buffalo, the Bills might look to draft another big receiver, sign another wideout or start Donald Jones opposite of Bowe. This would allow Johnson to move into the slot, where his precise route running ability would allow him to separate from defenders and keep the chains moving.
The Bills' passing game cannot truly open up until another big time receiver is added to the roster. Bowe has the history of making plays on a consistent basis and is exactly the type of receiver Buffalo needs.
Other free agent possibilities at wide receiver: Joshua Cribbs, Mohamed Massaquoi, Devery Henderson
Scott Chandler is a big and tall tight end for the Bills, but a two tight end formation will benefit the Buffalo offense next season, regardless of who the quarterback is.
Jared Cook's contract is up at the end of this season and he should generate interest in the open market. Cook is listed at 6'5'' and 248 pounds, providing Buffalo with another red-zone and third down target. However, Cook is elusive enough to stretch the field, as he has career touchdowns of 80 and 61 yards.
If the Bills were to add Cook, there would be times where Chandler could be at tight end and Cook could split out wide. The New England Patriots have thrived with their two tight end system. The Indianapolis Colts also have a similar system in place. This may result in weaker stats for the individual tight ends, but the offense will be able to open the field with ease.
A team can never have enough pass catchers, and Buffalo can improve in that department with the addition of Cook.
Other free agent possibilities at tight end: Martellus Bennett, Dallas Clark, Delanie Walker
Dwight Freeney is defensive end playing outside linebacker in Indianapolis' new 3-4 defense. He will be 33 years old this off-season and will probably want to go somewhere where he can produce the way he had previously for 10 seasons with the Colts.
The Buffalo Bills pride themselves with a great defensive line, led by Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams and Mark Anderson. Just imagine how good that unit would be if Freeney was added to the mix.
Freeney does have connections to New York State, as he was a star at Syracuse University. He has a career 106.5 sacks and 44 forced fumbles heading into Week 17 of the 2012 NFL season and might be willing to return to familiar territory.
If Freeney were to join Buffalo, he could start opposite of Mario and allow for Anderson to be a situational pass rusher and rotate in to keep everybody fresh. Since they play Tom Brady twice a year, terrorizing the quarterback is something the Bills need to do, but haven't quite accomplished on defense. Freeney has a few good seasons left in him and his experience could pay dividends for Buffalo.
Other free agent possibilities for the defensive line: Osi Umenyiora, Glenn Dorsey, Randy Starks
This is not saying that the Buffalo Bills should go out and make Jason Campbell their starter, but they need to acquire a veteran backup for 2013.
Assuming that Ryan Fitzpatrick is no longer a Bill in 2013, the Bills will go out and look for their franchise quarterback. That could be from the draft, from a trade or by signing somebody. Regardless of who they get, Tyler Thigpen won't make for a good backup.
Campbell has starting experience and was playing at a high level before an injury during the middle of the 2010 season led to the Oakland Raiders trading for Carson Palmer in an all out pursuit to make the post-season that year.
His days as a starter may be behind him, but Campbell is an above average backup and can offer security if the starter were to go down. He might even make a case to be the starter in pre-season, depending on which quarterbacks are on the roster.
Signing Campbell would add depth to the most important position in football and would prove that Buffalo is willing to stock up on talent to better its football squad.
Other free agent possibilities at quarterback: Matt Moore, Drew Stanton, Chase Daniel