NFL free agency begins next week.
The legal tampering period opens Monday with things allowed to become official Wednesday at 4 p.m. when the new league year starts.
As we wait through the weekend for all the fun to kickoff, figured another great time to answer some of your Bills questions as we approach the next key portion of the offseason.
The story that just won’t go away.
I thought we had moved past Diggs displeasure following the Bills early playoff exit, but now the wide receiver adding more logs to the fire over the past week or so with social media posts and his appearance on HBO’s The Shop.
While I remain firm in saying that he’s not going anywhere, continuing to drag this out in the manner he is does warrant the conversation.
As Spotrac’s Mike Ginnitti explained on the latest “Buffalo End Zone” podcast, financially the Bills cannot release or even trade Diggs. If outright let go, they’d eat over $45 million in dead cap and still owe money, not gain any cap relief. A trade would carry $37.5 million in dead cap and also provide no relief.
In other words, it’s absolutely not happening.
And I’m not completely sure, even with all his cryptic ways, that Diggs wants to go anywhere.
He has been pretty consistent talking about his feelings on how the season ended. Frustration and maybe more so confusion as to why things didn’t go the Bills way.
But they still have one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Josh Allen and Diggs will remain his unquestioned top target for a Super Bowl contender and getting paid like one of the best WRs in football.
Pushing this thing forward, I’ve been of the belief that adding a WR this offseason (and the previous few) is critical for just as much a reason to help now as Diggs sidekick, but even potentially flip roles years down the road.
Free agency is not the place to do that this year, with the crop not nearly bringing the return their price tag would need.
The NFL Draft isn’t full of elite talent at the top, but even if it was the Bills would never get their hands on it picking at the end of the 1st round. It is, however, a very solid group that could push or even pass Gabe Davis as the #2 option.
Let’s stay on WR.
Initially I was completely off the idea of the Bills pursuing Hopkins.
This team needs to add younger, cheaper options at the position that they’ll have control of for years to come, which isn’t Hopkins.
He’s going to be 31 in June and currently carries a cap hit of $30M, though that would be adjusted if a trade occurred.
However, Spotrac’s Ginnitti brought up on the podcast that a Hopkins deal could potentially involve a player… such as Ed Oliver. While the numbers don’t completely match, the gap would be small enough for the financial aspect of things to work out for the Bills in 2023.
Then you forecast ahead to 2024, the Bills would be in the position of needing to either re-sign Gabe Davis to a deal likely north of $20M to be their #2 WR or find one on the open market for a similar or larger price tag.
The money for Hopkins would be in that range and solve the problem before you get there.
It’s not my favorite idea or one I even think is likely, but not completely off my radar after really thinking it out.
I’m not sure whether or not the Bills are attending Odell Beckham Jr.’s workout in Arizona.
Josina Anderson specified the Jets and Ravens while adding there’s a team very much interested that isn’t attending because they already have the information they need.
We know the Bills had OBJ in town late in the season and have been doing their homework on him for a while, so whether they are at the workout or not, I’d put them in the category of likely having most if not all of the info they need.
As we’ve gone through at length already here in the mail bag, WR is a position where the Bills could use a substantial talent injection and we know what OBJ has done in the past.
Can he be that guy again at 30 going on 31 off of his second ACL injury?
Who knows, but I wouldn’t pay a lot of money to find out.
I’ve exhausted WR so far, so let me begin with OL.
Left guard needs to be addressed with Rodger Saffold all but certainly not coming back.
Dalton Risner is a guy who started 62 games at that spot for the Broncos the last four seasons.
Spotrac has his market value around $9.5M over a four-year deal.
For a guy about to turn 28, I love the idea of investing in a young, long-term options at the guard spot.
As for a FA WR, I’ve got to be honest – I don’t think the Bills should invest any real money there through the open market.
I’d be fine bringing in depth pieces with potential upside on one-year, low cost deals.
Think of Jamison Crowder a year ago, who I’d be in favor of bringing back and see what might have been had he not gotten injured.
But it is a *hard* pass for me on the likes of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Jakobi Meyers, and Adam Thielen.
And as for DE – too much has been invested on that group already to dish out more significant money.
If it’s not adding one from a deep draft class, I’m in favor of trying to run it back with Shaq Lawson, who I feel played very well filling in for Von Miller.