Like the rest of the sports world, the NFL is unsure of what will happen next season. But the league year has begun and free agency is underway. Plenty of teams made moves to strengthen their rosters, including the Buffalo Bills. But despite the Bills’ inglorious record of futility, there may be hope on the horizon. Here’s why the Bills are having a better offseason than you think.
The Bills’ 2019-20 season recap
Last year, the Bills went a respectable 10-6 under head coach Sean McDermott — good for second in the AFC East behind the Patriots. They scored 314 points (23rd in the league) and allowed 259 (second in the league). Buffalo experienced some growing pains as young starting quarterback Josh Allen improved incrementally. Defense was their strength.
In the wild-card round, the Bills lost a heartbreaker, 10-7, in overtime against the Houston Texans. Now Buffalo finds itself in year three of the Allen experiment with one of the league’s best defenses. The question entering this offseason: What moves could they make to maintain their defense while upgrading their offensive production?
The Bills’ key 2020 offseason moves
The Bills have had quite the busy offseason, as CBS Sports reports. They said goodbye to defensive end Shaq Lawson, defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, and linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. Buffalo made a lot of additions, however, including:
- Defensive end Mario Addison
- Linebacker A.J. Klein
- Defensive end Vernon Butler
- Defensive end Quinton Jefferson
- Wide receiver Stefon Diggs (acquired via trade)
The flashiest move is the acquisition of Diggs, a top-flight No. 1 receiver. He’ll give Allen an elite wideout, which is sure to help his development. Jefferson, Butler, and Addison will bolster the team’s defensive line, making them even more effective at getting to the quarterback.
Buffalo’s been active in free agency (and in the trade market). But will it be enough? Do they have a legitimate shot at becoming a contender next season?
Why the Bills may contend in the AFC East
There are two primary reasons why the Bills should be considered serious threats to not only win the AFC East but make a deep playoff run. The first involves the offense.
Allen showed a little progress in his second season, leading the Bills to a playoff berth. Adding Diggs will only make him stronger. A mercurial talent in Minnesota, Diggs often made his qualms heard in the locker room. But one can’t deny his results on the field. If he can stay healthy, he’ll put up big numbers for Buffalo and give them the big-time receiving threat they need.
The second reason why Buffalo should expect to contend? There’s a large power vacuum at the top of the AFC East waiting to be filled. With Tom Brady departing the Patriots, it’s anyone’s guess how good they’ll be next season. They could win the division behind the mastery of Bill Belichick. Or they could come crashing down to Earth with an unsure quarterback situation.
The bottom line is that as funny as it sounds, the Bills are the closest thing to a known commodity in the AFC East right now. Miami showed potential last year but is still years away from contending. The Jets are…well, they’re the Jets. And the Patriots aren’t sure what they’ll have until they fix the quarterback situation.
Enter Buffalo. They’re coming off a 10-6 playoff season and have only gotten better. Expect the Bills to become major players in the AFC this year.