New faces: C Mitch Morse, DT Ed Oliver, WR John Brown, WR Cole Beasley, OL Cody Ford, OG Spencer Long, OG Quinton Spain, OT Ty Nsekhe, OT LaAdrian Waddle, TE Tyler Kroft, TE Lee Smith, TE Dawson Knox, RB T.J. Yeldon, RB Frank Gore, RB Devin Singletary, CB Kevin Johnson, WR Andre Roberts
They’re gone: DT Kyle Williams, TE Charles Clay, OG John Miller, OT Jordan Mills, WR Deonte Thompson
2019 snapshot: Mostly patient a year ago, the Bills went crazy in free agency this offseason, adding both quality and quantity with all kinds of deals.
Morse isn’t worth the largest contract in NFL history for a center (four years, $44.5 million), but GM Brandon Beane found bargains on the O-line in Nsekhe (two years, $10 million), Spain (one year, $2 million) and Waddle (one year, $2 million). After jumping up in Round 2 to nab Ford — who could play tackle or guard — the Bills should have a much improved front five with four new starters.
Buffalo found QB Josh Allen more weapons in Brown, Beasley, Kroft and Knox, a third-rounder with athletic upside. Each were reasonable investments, especially because they’ll help determine just how quickly Allen is progressing. Answers were also added to replace the aging LeSean McCoy, with Singletary (third round) drafted and Gore and Yeldon added in free agency.
Despite extending contract-year DE Jerry Hughes, the Bills didn’t add an edge rusher to complement him, which they might regret unless Shaq Lawson takes a major step. Getting Oliver at No. 9 overall soothes things, however. Not nearly the polished pass rusher Aaron Donald was coming out of Pitt, Oliver nonetheless has similar athletic gifts and will be disruptive (if not a finisher) from Day 1.
Get to know… CB Levi Wallace
An undrafted free agent out of Alabama in 2018, Wallace started seven games as a rookie and then won the competition for the No. 2 cornerback job in a landslide this summer. He’ll get tested plenty opposite top corner Tre’Davious White.
Worth the investment?
–Two years removed from a 9-7 campaign and a playoff appearance, the Bills are certainly capable of going over 7.5 wins. But Allen must develop as a passer, making this a bit of a risky play.
–Oliver might lack the polish to rack up sack totals, but he could still be a highlight machine. His odds for Defensive Rookie of the Year (+1000, tied for fifth-best) could be appealing.
Bottom line: Their spending spree looked a little wild, but the Bills added depth and talent without taking on much risk. That should give them a solid floor, with a chance to contend for the playoffs if Allen takes a leap.