Bills' Early Report Card for Most Impactful Offseason Decisions

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 24, 2021

Bills' Early Report Card for Most Impactful Offseason Decisions

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    The Buffalo Bills entered the offseason in danger of losing three key pieces to the squad that advanced to the AFC Championship Game. 

    Before the legal tampering window opened, the Bills locked down linebacker Matt Milano and offensive tackle Daryl Williams on new deals. Shortly after that, they agreed to terms with offensive lineman Jon Feliciano. 

    In addition to not losing any vital parts of the roster, the Bills made improvements at a few spots on the offensive depth chart. 

    Sean McDermott's team switched out John Brown for Emmanuel Sanders and made an intriguing pickup to get Mitchell Trubisky to be its backup quarterback. 

    The three new deals and pair of additions set Buffalo up for more success in 2021 in an AFC East that may have gotten tougher to win with the New England Patriots spending a ton of cash in free agency.

Re-Signed Matt Milano, Daryl Williams and Jon Feliciano

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    Buffalo found a way to retain the heart of its defense and two important parts of the protection for Josh Allen. 

    Milano landed a four-year deal worth $44 million, while Williams and Feliciano landed new three-year contracts. 

    Buffalo may have been in the most danger of losing Milano, who improved his pocket pressures over the last two seasons. 

    The 26-year-old produced career bests in sacks and quarterback hits despite playing 10 regular-season games in 2020. 

    In four seasons with the Bills, Milano has averaged 68.3 tackles per season. He had a total of 179 tackles in 2018 and 2019. If he did not experience some injury trouble in 2020, he likely would have come close to eclipsing the 101 takedowns he made in 2019. 

    Williams turned himself into one of the better resurgent stories in the NFL in 2020, as he took a chance in joining Buffalo after starting 13 games with the Carolina Panthers in the two previous seasons. 

    The offensive tackle became a reliable force on the outside of the offensive line that let up 26 sacks of Allen in the regular season.

    Feliciano has been an important piece on the interior part of the line over the last two years, and his return gives Allen more consistency in his protection. 

    Buffalo's offseason would have been viewed as a success if it just kept Milano, Williams and Feliciano, but it also made two offensive upgrades that should help it in the future.


Signed Emmanuel Sanders

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Buffalo enters the 2021 season with a deeper and more consistent set of wide receivers compared to 2020. 

    Sanders will take John Brown's place on the depth chart behind Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley. The Bills also have Gabriel Davis and Isaiah McKenzie with one more year of experience to their names. 

    In the last three seasons, Sanders has at least 60 catches, 700 receiving yards and four touchdowns. More importantly, he remained healthier than Brown, who was plagued by injury issues. 

    Sanders brings title-winning experience from his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he knows how to play a supporting role to one of the NFL's best wideouts from his time with the New Orleans Saints

    With defenses keying in on Diggs, Sanders should receive a large number of touches as a middle-of-the-field threat. 

    He could play a similar role as Beasley, but Sanders will likely do a bit more than run 10-to-15-yard routes out of the slot. 

    Allen now has a wide variety of wideouts to work with. Diggs is the high-volume pass-catcher, Beasley and Sanders are the wily veterans who could be called upon in pressure-packed scenarios, and Davis and McKenzie are the big-play threats on the outside.

    The set of five wideouts could challenge the Kansas City Chiefs for the best wide receiver room in the AFC. 

    That is important for the Bills in any potential meetings with the Chiefs because the depth may even out the imbalance at tight end with Travis Kelce on the field.

    Grade: A- 

Signed Mitchell Trubisky

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Trubisky got shuffled out of Chicago when it brought in Andy Dalton to be the favorite for its starting job.

    Things never worked out for the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, but he can still go on to have a lengthy NFL career. 

    Trubisky should be an upgrade over Matt Barkley at the backup quarterback spot since he is younger and spent more time as a starter. 

    The last thing Bills fans want to see is Trubisky on the field. That would mean something significant happened to Allen, but if it occurred, he would have more weapons around him than he did in Chicago. 

    Spending time around Allen and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll should help Trubsiky rebuild his confidence and prepare him just in case he has to take the field for a significant stretch. 

    Buffalo brought in Trubisky on an inexpensive deal that would blossom to $4 million for the 2021 season if incentives are met, per ESPN's Field Yates

    Those incentives likely include starts and specific snap counts, so if he remains on the sideline, the Bills would only be spending $2 million on a young backup quarterback.



    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

    Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference.


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