Less than two months left in the offseason and all teams are currently running full steam ahead to get ready for their opening games. A lot of trades and free agent acquisitions have been made in the past few months with some big names moving around. Some of the bigger moves have been Tyreek Hill moving to Miami, Russel Wilson moving to Denver, Deshaun Watson to Cleveland, and Baker Mayfield to Carolina, there have been so many moves it’s hard to remember that one of the biggest splashes was Buffalo picking up free agent Von Miller on a $120M, six-year deal.
Free agency is over, right? All of the big names are gone, and most teams are looking to cut players at the moment, not add them. Well, you’d be wrong, free agency is never over and even if a team made a big move, it doesn’t mean they won’t be doing so again soon. There are several free agents still available out there, guys like Odell Beckham, Julio Jones, and Anthony Barr are waiting for a team to call them. So, of all the available free agents, are there any the Bills should consider picking up?
Free Agent, Landon Collins
Here’s a strong safety that I’m surprised no one has signed. Since being drafted by the Giants in 2015 he’s been selected for the Pro Bowl three times. In his time with the NFL, he’s recorded 676 total tackles, 11 interceptions, 10 sacks, seven forced fumbles, and five fumble recoveries. His best year was 2016 when he recorded five interceptions and four sacks along with 13 passes defenses, but he still has some gas in the tank as last year he racked up two interceptions, two fumble recoveries, and a forced fumble. The Bills would benefit from bringing in Landon Collins as competition for Jordan Poyer.
Poyer is a stud strong safety and one of the best in the league, he wants to get paid and perhaps he should be but having a backup option is never a bad move and Landon Collins has shown the ability to make game-changing plays.
The only problem with Collins is that he’s been prone to injury in recent years. In the past three seasons, out of 49 possible games played Collins has played 35 of them. He tore his Achilles in 2020 (an injury that takes a notoriously long time to heal) and in 2021 he was placed on injured reserve for the last few games due to a foot injury. Taking all of that into consideration I still feel adding Collins to the roster would benefit the Bills not just as a backup to Poyer but as a bargaining chip too.
Free Agent, Anthony Barr
Linebacker Anthony Barr was drafted in 2014 and has been with the Vikings his whole career. Since he was drafted, he’s collected over 17 sacks, five interceptions, eight forced fumbles, and seven fumble recoveries, and last year alone he recorded three interceptions and 2.5 Sacks. The Bills have already made a big move when they acquired linebacker/edge, Von Miller, so for them to take another linebacker from free agency would be a bit surprise but not unreasonable.
The Bills are in a tight spot with Tremaine Edmunds who hasn’t been great but hasn’t been a bust either. It’s a make-or-break year for Edmunds and (like with Poyer) I think having some competition would help light a fire under him. If Tremaine Edmunds wants a big payday, he’ll have to prove it, and putting a four-time Pro Bowler next to him might be just what he needs. Beyond competition, I’m sure a veteran presence like his would benefit the linebacking core of the Bills by bringing experience and knowledge to the younger players.
Like Landon Collins before him, Barr has been prone to injury. Of 49 games in the past three seasons, he’s only played 25 with his biggest injury happening in 2020 that sidelined him for most of the season. That said, if he can be acquired without breaking the bank, I think Barr would be a strong addition to the linebacker squad.
Free Agent, Duane Brown
Last on the list is Duane Brown the Offensive Tackle. Drafted in 2012 he’s spent most of his career with the Texans before being traded to Seattle. He’s 36 years old which is on the older side for NFL players but despite his age, he did make the Pro Bowl last year and has made the Pro Bowl five times in his career.
While I don’t think he’s a must-have for the Bills, he’s available and while the Bills’ current starting offensive tackles aren’t bad, they don’t have much in the way of strong backups. Plus, much like Barr, adding a veteran pro-bowler to the squad who knows he’s on the tail end of his career might only benefit Dion Dawkins and Spencer Brown as he may be able to teach them a few things.
There are a lot of free agents available and some of them are playmakers but just aren’t in a position we need to fill. The above-mentioned free agents all fit in a place on the roster where the Bills have or will have shortcomings in the near future. Adding veteran talent is never a bad idea in the NFL, especially if you’re not relying on them to change the attitude or overall ability of the team. Of course, any free agent signings would have to come at the right price but like the saying goes “any given Sunday” and anything is possible in the NFL.
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