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Be Active Early or Wait Market Out- Just Don't Repeat Recent FA Periods


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With our roster this close (arguably 13 seconds of inexplicable coaching from a SB)- and with other potential AFC contenders already making critical moves- clearly I hope Buffalo doesn't stand pat as FA opens tomorrow.  But if they do wait out the bigger names/contracts, waiting until the second/third wave(s) of FA when the egregious contracts have been weeded out and bargains become possible, isn't the worst idea.  Repeating recent activity & philosophy would be.

 

Since 2018 Buffalo has been aggressive early- but for exactly the wrong guys:  middling guys, at best, who nevertheless didn't sign contracts reflecting that status.  Since both McDermott and Beane have been here, here is a list of guys we've signed in the first 1-2 days FA to meaningful contracts (meaning multiple years at anywhere from $5-10 million per):

 

2018:

 

DE Trent Murphy (3/22.5; $10.375 mill guaranteed)

DT Star Lotulelei (5/50; $25 mill guaranteed)

 

2019:

 

OC Mitch Morse (4/44.5; $26.175 mill guaranteed)

WR Cole Beasley (4/29; $14.4 mill guaranteed)

WR John Brown (3/27; $10 mill guaranteed)

 

2020:

 

DE Mario Addison (3/30.45; $15.25 mill guaranteed)

DT Vernon Butler (2/15; $9.3 mill guaranteed)

DT Quinton Jefferson (2/13.5; $8.56 mill guaranteed)

OLB A.J. Klein (3/18; $9.7 mill guaranteed)

 

Note:  ILB/ST Tyler Matakevich (2/7.15; $3.45 mill guaranteed) falls just below parameters set.

 

2021:  None; Emmanuel Sanders & Mitch Trubisky signed to one-year contracts.

 

Morse hasn't been a bargain (was highest-paid center at time of signing) and neither Beasley nor Brown will likely complete their contracts.  But 2019 was clearly a class that yielded very good results relative to the $$$ doled out.  But 2018 & 2020 were FA periods badly squandered involving significant money on players who haven't simply earned it. 

 

I know we're differently positioned now than in 2018 (2018 was Allen's rookie year & we had $50 mill in dead cap in a throwaway season) and 2020 (we were just emerging).  But there is simply no excuse to dole out these sort of deals for this caliber of players.  All you do when you sign these sort of guys is start thinking when the earliest you can get out of their contracts is.  And which of these guys has this question not been frequently asked?

 

We're too close to defend sitting out this week as competitors get better.  But our FA approach under McBeane, which has been both aggressive AND poorly targeted, remaining in place would be a worse outcome.  Let's hope they've learned and are ready to build on the still remarkable roster they've assembled.

 

 

 

Edited by Midwest1981
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10 minutes ago, thenorthremembers said:

Just be smart.  Use free agnecy for its correct reason, to supplement.   The Bills dont need to spend money or resources just to appease bored fans.   Win the season not the off season.

 

 

This ^^^^ the Bills have limited cap space. (Setting aside restructuring opportunities).

 

To me, FA is about finding value for need, not making a splash.

 

The draft is more critical to the Bills because it is the best way to manage the cap and to build for the future.

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5 minutes ago, BuffaloBill said:

 

 

This ^^^^ the Bills have limited cap space. (Setting aside restructuring opportunities).

 

To me, FA is about finding value for need, not making a splash.

 

The draft is more critical to the Bills because it is the best way to manage the cap and to build for the future.

So is Chandler Jones value for need at a proposed 15m/year?

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Great reminder. Sign or trade for that one difference-maker who can not be found in our draft slot and for a position that the team can't coach up another player to be.

 

For me, this is a sack artist, a true run stuffing DT, or a guard that keeps Allen upright.

 

WR/TE/RB/CB/LB can be found in this draft.

 

The OL or DL player we need is not in this draft.

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1 hour ago, Midwest1981 said:

With our roster this close (arguably 13 seconds of inexplicable coaching from a SB)- and with other potential AFC contenders already making critical moves- clearly I hope Buffalo doesn't stand pat as FA opens tomorrow.  But if they do wait out the bigger names/contracts, waiting until the second/third wave(s) of FA when the egregious contracts have been weeded out and bargains become possible, isn't the worst idea.  Repeating recent activity & philosophy would be.

 

Since 2018 Buffalo has been aggressive early- but for exactly the wrong guys:  middling guys, at best, who nevertheless didn't sign contracts reflecting that status.  Since both McDermott and Beane have been here, here is a list of guys we've signed in the first 1-2 days FA to meaningful contracts (meaning multiple years at anywhere from $5-10 million per):

 

2018:

 

DE Trent Murphy (3/22.5; $10.375 mill guaranteed)

DT Star Lotulelei (5/50; $25 mill guaranteed)

 

2019:

 

OC Mitch Morse (4/44.5; $26.175 mill guaranteed)

WR Cole Beasley (4/29; $14.4 mill guaranteed)

WR John Brown (3/27; $10 mill guaranteed)

 

2020:

 

DE Mario Addison (3/30.45; $15.25 mill guaranteed)

DT Vernon Butler (2/15; $9.3 mill guaranteed)

DT Quinton Jefferson (2/13.5; $8.56 mill guaranteed)

OLB A.J. Klein (3/18; $9.7 mill guaranteed)

 

Note:  ILB/ST Tyler Matakevich (2/7.15; $3.45 mill guaranteed) falls just below parameters set.

 

2021:  None; Emmanuel Sanders & Mitch Trubisky signed to one-year contracts.

 

Morse hasn't been a bargain (was highest-paid center at time of signing) and neither Beasley nor Brown will likely complete their contracts.  But 2019 was clearly a class that yielded very good results relative to the $$$ doled out.  But 2018 & 2020 were FA periods badly squandered involving significant money on players who haven't simply earned it. 

 

I know we're differently positioned now than in 2018 (2018 was Allen's rookie year & we had $50 mill in dead cap in a throwaway season) and 2020 (we were just emerging).  But there is simply no excuse to dole out these sort of deals for this caliber of players.  All you do when you sign these sort of guys is start thinking when the earliest you can get out of their contracts is.  And which of these guys has this question not been frequently asked?

 

We're too close to defend sitting out this week as competitors get better.  But our FA approach under McBeane, which has been both aggressive AND poorly targeted, remaining in place would be a worse outcome.  Let's hope they've learned and are ready to build on the still remarkable roster they've assembled.

 

 

 

The fact that a player doesn’t complete their contract doesn’t mean it was a mistake. Contracts are constructed to explicitly give teams an out.

 

Calling Morse (it ain’t your money and we’re talking pre Joshy’s extension), Beasley and Brown mistakes is extremely short sighted and shows a lack of knowledge about how the league works. (IMO)

Edited by Beerball
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Nice thread. Free agent D Linemen do *not* appear to be Beane's strong suit. Let's hope if we do sign a DE/DT this off-season, we buck that trend. We can't afford to be signing duds at this point who suck up valuable cap space. And if we do sign those players, at least do it at the point in FA where they don't impact comp picks. 

Edited by junior
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28 minutes ago, thenorthremembers said:

Just be smart.  Use free agnecy for its correct reason, to supplement.   The Bills dont need to spend money or resources just to appease bored fans.   Win the season not the off season.

I agree.  While I do think there's a deal to be made early that will actually move the needle, at least a little bit, in a way these non-2019 FA deals didn't, I would be fine if Buffalo only made one semi-substantial addition early and then checked back next week for the real value.

 

Still, moving forward, with the post-pandemic cap poised to increase at pre-pandemic levels (and then some with the even more lucrative tv deals signed in 2020), Buffalo will have money to spend in FA again, even WITH Allen's contract, which will absorb less and less of the cap (by percentage).

 

Part of that is a function of less than stellar drafts in 2019 and 2020- we’re not probably not re-signing Ford, Epenesa, Moss, and likely not Singletary, and the guys we do don’t seem to be bank-breakers: Oliver, Knox, or Davis. So we’ll have more cracks at this time of year and I hope our approach/tact will get better (I hope that starts this year, in fact).

2 minutes ago, junior said:

Nice thread. Free agent D Linemen do *not* appear to be Beane's strong suit. Let's hope if we do sign a DE/DT this off-season, we buck that trend. We can't afford to be signing duds at this point who suck up valuable cap space. And if we do sign those players, at least do it at the point in FA where they don't impact comp picks. 

Good point- and that's the thing:  especially with less cap space this year than in recent years, we've got to be even more judicious with how we spend it.  We will have something to spend but let's be highly targeted with it- and I'd rather pay a little more for someone legitimately proven than still give good $$$ to a guy like Trent Murphy or Vernon Butler hoping they'll advance their career here in a way they didn't in Washington or Carolina (for example(s).

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7 minutes ago, Beerball said:

The fact that a player doesn’t complete their contract doesn’t mean it was a mistake. Contracts are constructed to explicitly give teams an out.

 

Calling Morse (it ain’t your money and we’re talking pre Joshy’s extension), Beasley and Brown mistakes is extremely short sighted and shows a lack of knowledge about how the league works. (IMO)

I don't understand, I never called the Morse, Brown, or Beasley deals a mistake.  I said that year's signings were "very good."  Those three represent the exception; they're the FA additions of the Beane era that worked out and provided (more than) commensurate value.

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9 minutes ago, Midwest1981 said:

I agree.  While I do think there's a deal to be made early that will actually move the needle, at least a little bit, in a way these non-2019 FA deals didn't, I would be fine if Buffalo only made one semi-substantial addition early and then checked back next week for the real value.

 

Still, moving forward, with the post-pandemic cap poised to increase at pre-pandemic levels (and then some with the even more lucrative tv deals signed in 2020), Buffalo will have money to spend in FA again, even WITH Allen's contract, which will absorb less and less of the cap (by percentage).

 

Part of that is a function of less than stellar drafts in 2019 and 2020- we’re not probably not re-signing Ford, Epenesa, Moss, and likely not Singletary, and the guys we do don’t seem to be bank-breakers: Oliver, Knox, or Davis. So we’ll have more cracks at this time of year and I hope our approach/tact will get better (I hope that starts this year, in fact).

Good point- and that's the thing:  especially with less cap space this year than in recent years, we've got to be even more judicious with how we spend it.  We will have something to spend but let's be highly targeted with it- and I'd rather pay a little more for someone legitimately proven than still give good $$$ to a guy like Trent Murphy or Vernon Butler hoping they'll advance their career here in a way they didn't in Washington or Carolina (for example(s).

 

He seems to like those reclamation projects. Sometimes they pan out, other times they don't. So yeah, maybe this time around we sign 1 or 2 known commodities and backfill with a few draft picks, vs. signing a handful of guys who *could* turn their career around here.

 

Trade-offs of the two:

 

1. You know what you're getting and pay a premium for it vs.

 

2. You don't fully know what you're getting and hoping it clicks in Buffalo, + paying a more reasonable $ amount.

 

The former seems like the better decision during a clear SB window... but I'm also not a GM.

 

Either way, I can't wait for FA to open. For YEARS the off-season was the best part of the entire season for me, and even though we're good now, I still look forward to it just as much. 😄

Edited by junior
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I would definitely prefer a couple lesser dollar free agents vs overpaying for anyone. Chandler Jones is the one guy who I can see sending bigger money on but still can't overpay with Josh pay jumping next year.

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With what money?
 

Unless they announce a bunch of cuts and restructures today, we are less than $1 million under the cap.  You will need at least $5 million for the new draft class if we keep all of our picks so as of right now we have zero flexibility to get any high impact FAs.

 

If you cut Beasley, that gets you the cash for the draft class, but who else would you cut.?  Morse and Williams would be the only significant savings and cutting Morse would leave a huge whole when there isn’t much of anything available at the center position.

 

Get used to it - this is just the beginning of the lean years in FA agency since Josh’s cap hit goes to $39 million next year.

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If we want a top tier FA, history would suggest that we better be on the phone with their agents tomorrow.   Those deals seems to come together pretty quickly. 
 

I think we have interest from the top guys.  I think we have interest in some top guys.   That being said, I also think Beane has a number, and it’s a “we want you, but at this number” type of negotiation. 

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8 minutes ago, Mc1320 said:

With what money?
 

Unless they announce a bunch of cuts and restructures today, we are less than $1 million under the cap.  You will need at least $5 million for the new draft class if we keep all of our picks so as of right now we have zero flexibility to get any high impact FAs.

 

If you cut Beasley, that gets you the cash for the draft class, but who else would you cut.?  Morse and Williams would be the only significant savings and cutting Morse would leave a huge whole when there isn’t much of anything available at the center position.

 

Get used to it - this is just the beginning of the lean years in FA agency since Josh’s cap hit goes to $39 million next year.

From my understanding teams have until 3/16 @4pm to be under the CAP. So, I would guess some of the restructuring and cuts may be based upon who they sign in FA over the next few days. I'm pretty confident they already have plans in place In order to play in FA and can adjust on the fly. I don't however expect major signings. I see more mid level and 1 yr deals. A "splash" is a matter of interpretation. 

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Post more often.  Spot on.  Many of Beane’s free agent signings have been on par with those of his predecessors at OBD.  When you consider that Poyer and Hyde were pre-Beane acquisitions it really highlights the issue - this much-hyped pro personnel department has yet to earn its money or reputation to date.  This is really a critical offseason and they cannot afford to repeat past mistakes - it will end up all on the shoulders of JA17 yet again.

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I'm hoping the talent around Josh Allen is not downgraded. He certainly has the ability to make players around him perform better, but I'm looking for Beane to somehow find players that make Allen play better.

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Quote

 

The 2022 NFL free agency class isn't a great one. Then again, the free agent crop usually isn't that bountiful. 

"Paying big money to free agents is how you kill your team," one NFC GM said at the scouting combine. "Most of them are there for a reason."

 

https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/seahawks-qb-2022-ranking-all-draft-trade-free-agency-and-already-rostered-options-for-seattle/

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