Bills Rumors

Bills WR Gabe Davis Preparing To Depart In Free Agency?

Gabe Davis is one of several pending free agents who could depart the Bills at the start of the new league year. While the deep-threat wideout has long been expected to explore the open market, he recently hinted his time in Buffalo has come to an end.

Davis showed immediate promise as a secondary pass-catching option during his first two seasons. He posted nearly identical statlines across 2020 and ’21, totaling 70 catches, 1,148 yards and 13 touchdowns during that span. In the latter campaign, the former fourth-rounder delivered an historic performance in the divisional round of the playoffs with 201 yards and four touchdowns.

Consistency has been an issue for the 24-year-old, though, and he has yet to post a catch percentage above 56.5% in his four-year career. As Buffalo continues to seek out a dependable secondary option to complement Stefon Diggs, Davis has made it clear no extension talks have taken place and that he is therefore on track to reach the open market. He recently posted a video reflecting on his time with the Bills; while it does not confirm he will be heading elsewhere, it can certainly be interpreted as a farewell to the franchise.

Buffalo has Diggs under contract though 2027 (although speculation about his satisfaction regarding his situation and his financial outlook have been a major talking point for some time now). The Bills invested a first-round pick in tight end Dalton Kincaid last April, and he delivered an encouraging rookie season. 2022 fifth-rounder Khalil Shakir also took a substantial step forward in production last season, and he could be in line to operate as the team’s No. 2 wideout if Davis were to depart.

The latter is set to join the likes of Tee HigginsMichael Pittman Jr., Mike Evans, Calvin Ridley and Marquise Brown as free agent wideouts in March (although the franchise tag looms as an option for that list to dwindle between now and the start of the league year). Given Davis’ age and proven ability as a vertical threat, he could very well receive offers the cap-strapped Bills are unable to match. A deal keeping him in Buffalo could still be worked out in the near future, but signs continue to point to a departure this offseason

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Bills, Pioli

The dominoes continue to fall in NFL coaching circles and that’s certainly the case in the AFC East. The Dolphins made a trio of adjustments to their 2024 staff with two promotions and an external hire.

We learned about a week and a half ago that, after failing to land Miami’s defensive coordinator position, which went to Anthony Weaver, outside linebackers coach Ryan Slowik was set to remain on the team’s staff for next season in a different capacity. Thanks to Charean Williams of NBC Sports, we now know that Slowik’s new position will be as defensive backs coach and pass game specialist. Williams also informed us that assistant defensive backs coach Mathieu Araujo has earned a promotion, as well. Araujo will serve as cornerbacks coach in 2024.

Additionally, we learned today that University of Montana defensive coordinator Ronnie Bradford will be taking the role of senior special teams assistant with the Dolphins for next season, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Bradford has extensive history as an NFL special teams coach, even serving as special teams coordinator in Denver back in 2005, when both Slowik and head coach Mike McDaniel were low-level staffers for the Broncos.

Here are a few other staff updates from around the AFC East:

  • The Bills made a serious addition to their defensive staff with the recent hiring of Scott Booker as their new nickel coach and senior defensive assistant. Booker spent the last four years as safeties coach for the Titans, mentoring one of the league’s best in Kevin Byard. Thanks to ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg, we also learned that last year’s midseason hire, DJ Mangas, has earned a promotion in Buffalo. After spending the back half of the season as an offensive assistant, he will serve as an offensive quality control coach in 2024. The former teammate and roommate of offensive coordinator Joe Brady joined the team after Brady’s interim promotion last year.
  • Lastly, we learned that the Patriots had finalized their coaching staff today, but changes are still expected in the front office. Now, we know that New England plans to take their time in making the decisions in the player personnel department, but we did throw out a few names to watch for. Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated believes that former Falcons assistant general manager Scott Pioli is another name that could be a factor. Pioli held the Patriots vice president of player personnel position for nine years back from 2002-08, essentially helping to set the stage for the team’s eventual dynasty.

Assessing NFL’s OC Landscape

This offseason showed the turnover that can take place at the offensive coordinator position. As a result of several decisions in January and February, the NFL no longer has an OC who has been in his current role for more than two seasons. Various firings and defections now have the 2022 batch of hires stationed as the longest-tenured OCs.

One of the longest-tenured coordinators in NFL history, Pete Carmichael is no longer with the Saints. The team moved on after 15 seasons, a stay that featured part-time play-calling duties. The Browns canned their four-year non-play-calling OC, Alex Van Pelt, while three-year play-callers Arthur Smith and Shane Waldron are relocating this winter. Brian Callahan‘s five-year gig as the Bengals’ non-play-calling OC booked him a top job.

The recent lean toward offense-oriented HCs took a bit of a hit of a hit this offseason, with five of the eight jobs going to defense-oriented leaders. Callahan, Dave Canales and Jim Harbaugh were the only offense-geared candidates hired during this cycle. But half the NFL will go into this season with a new OC. Following the Seahawks’ decision to hire ex-Washington (and, briefly, Alabama) staffer Ryan Grubb, here is how the NFL’s OC landscape looks:

2022 OC hires

  • Ben Johnson, Detroit Lions*
  • Mike Kafka, New York Giants*
  • Wes Phillips, Minnesota Vikings
  • Frank Smith, Miami Dolphins
  • Adam Stenavich, Green Bay Packers
  • Press Taylor, Jacksonville Jaguars*

Although this sextet now comprises the senior wing of offensive coordinators, this still marks each’s first gig as an NFL OC. Three of the six received HC interest this offseason.

Johnson’s status back in Detroit has been one of the offseason’s top storylines and a development the Commanders have not taken especially well. The two-year Lions OC was viewed as the frontrunner for the Washington job for weeks this offseason, and when team brass did not receive word about Johnson’s intent to stay in Detroit (thus, waiting until at least 2025 to make his long-expected HC move) until a Commanders contingent was en route to Detroit for a second interview, a back-and-forth about what exactly broke down took place. Johnson should be expected to remain a high-end HC candidate next year, but Dan Campbell will still have his services for 2024.

Kafka interviewed for the Seahawks’ HC job, and the Giants then blocked him from meeting with the NFC West team about its OC position. Rumblings about Kafka and Brian Daboll no longer being on great terms surfaced this year, with the latter yanking away play-calling duties — given to Kafka ahead of the 2022 season — at points in 2023. Taylor may also be on the hot seat with his team. Doug Pederson gave Taylor the call sheet last season, and Trevor Lawrence did not make the leap many expected. After a collapse left the Jaguars out of the playoffs, the team had begun to look into its offensive situation.

2023 OC hires

  • Jim Bob Cooter, Indianapolis Colts
  • Nathaniel Hackett, New York Jets*
  • Mike LaFleur, Los Angeles Rams
  • Joe Lombardi, Denver Broncos
  • Todd Monken, Baltimore Ravens*
  • Matt Nagy, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Drew Petzing, Arizona Cardinals*
  • Brian Schottenheimer, Dallas Cowboys
  • Bobby Slowik, Houston Texans*

Only nine of the 15 OCs hired in 2023 are still with their teams. One (Canales) moved up the ladder, while others were shown the door following that organization canning its head coach. The Eagles were the only team who hired an offensive coordinator last year to fire that staffer (Brian Johnson) after one season. Nick Sirianni fired both his coordinators following a wildly disappointing conclusion.

Hackett may also be drifting into deep water, given what transpired last year in New York. Rumblings of Robert Saleh — who is on the hottest seat among HCs — stripping some of his offensive play-caller’s responsibilities surfaced recently. This marks Hackett’s fourth chance to call plays in the NFL; the second-generation staffer did so for the Bills, Jaguars and Broncos prior to coming to New York. After the 2022 Broncos ranked last in scoring, the ’23 Jets ranked 31st in total offense. Hackett’s relationship with Aaron Rodgers has largely kept him in place, but 2024 may represent a last chance for the embattled coach.

Of this crop, Monken and Slowik were the only ones to receive HC interest. Neither emerged as a frontrunner for a position, though Slowik met with the Commanders twice. The Texans then gave their first-time play-caller a raise to stick around for C.J. Stroud‘s second season. Stroud’s remarkable progress figures to keep Slowik on the HC radar. Monken, who is in his third try as an NFL OC (after gigs in Tampa and Cleveland), just helped Lamar Jackson to his second MVP award. The former national championship-winning OC did not stick the landing — as Jackson struggled against the Chiefs — but he fared well on the whole last season.

Schottenheimer is on his fourth go-round as an OC, while Lombardi is on team No. 3. The latter’s job figures to be more secure, being tied to Sean Payton, compared to what is transpiring in Dallas. With the Cowboys having Mike McCarthy as the rare lame-duck HC, his coordinators probably should not get too comfortable.

2024 OC hires

  • Joe Brady, Buffalo Bills*
  • Liam Coen, Tampa Bay Buccaneers*
  • Ken Dorsey, Cleveland Browns
  • Luke Getsy, Las Vegas Raiders*
  • Ryan Grubb, Seattle Seahawks*
  • Nick Holz, Tennessee Titans
  • Kliff Kingsbury, Washington Commanders*
  • Klint Kubiak, New Orleans Saints*
  • Brad Idzik, Carolina Panthers
  • Kellen Moore, Philadelphia Eagles*
  • Dan Pitcher, Cincinnati Bengals
  • Zac Robinson, Atlanta Falcons*
  • Greg Roman, Los Angeles Chargers*
  • Arthur Smith, Pittsburgh Steelers*
  • Alex Van Pelt, New England Patriots*
  • Shane Waldron, Chicago Bears*

The 49ers do not employ a traditional OC; 16 of the 31 teams that do recently made a change. Most of the teams to add OCs this year, however, did so without employing play-calling coaches. This naturally raises the stakes for this year’s batch of hires.

Retreads became rather popular. Dorsey, Getsy, Moore, Van Pelt and Waldron were all OCs elsewhere (Buffalo, Chicago, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Seattle) last season. Smith will shift from calling the Falcons’ plays to running the show for the Steelers. Dorsey, Getsy and Van Pelt were fired; Moore and Waldron moved on after the Chargers and Seahawks respectively changed HCs. Moore and Smith will be calling plays for a third team; for Moore, this is three OC jobs in three years.

Coen, Kingsbury and Roman are back after a year away. Kingsbury became a popular name on the OC carousel, having coached Caleb Williams last season. This will be his second crack at an NFL play-calling gig, having been the Cardinals’ conductor throughout his HC tenure. This will be Coen’s first shot at calling plays in the pros; he was Sean McVay‘s non-play-calling assistant in 2022. Likely to become the Chargers’ play-caller, Roman will have a rare fourth chance to call plays in the NFL. He held that responsibility under Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco; following Harbaugh’s explosive 2015 49ers split, Roman moved to Buffalo and Baltimore to work under non-offense-oriented leaders.

Grubb, Holz, Idzik, Pitcher and Robinson represent this year’s first-timer contingent. Grubb has, however, called plays at the college level. Robinson is the latest McVay staffer to move into a play-calling post; he was a Rams assistant for five years. A host of teams had Robinson on their OC radar, but Raheem Morris brought his former L.A. coworker to Atlanta. Pitcher appeared in a few searches as well, but the Bengals made the expected move — after extending him last year — to give him Callahan’s old job.

* = denotes play-calling coordinator

Updated 2024 NFL Draft Order

With Super Bowl LVIII in the books, the 2023 campaign has come to a close. Teams outside Kansas City and San Francisco had already turned their attention to the offseason well before Sunday’s game, of course.

Regular season standings determine the order for the top 18 picks, so they have been known since the conclusion of Week 18. For the second straight year, the Bears face the question of dealing away the top selection and starting over at quarterback or re-committing to Justin Fields. Expectations still point toward Caleb Williams heading to Chicago, although the Bears will not move the No. 1 pick at a discounted price.

With the Commanders also in position to add a signal-caller second overall, the Patriots and Cardinals will be worth watching closely. New England will be in the market for a QB, but it may not come via the team’s top selection. Arizona’s position could also be a trade-up target for teams seeking a quarterback addition. This year’s class is expected to be dominated by blue-chip prospects under center, as well as at wide receiver and offensive tackle.

The final 14 spots in the draft order are filled by postseason results. The Chiefs find themselves in familiar territory picking at or near the end of the first-round order for the fourth time in the past five years following another Super Bowl appearance. The team has a mixed track record with its selections in that regard, but another impact rookie would of course help its bid to sustain its impressive run.

While a number of selections will no doubt be swapped between now and draft day, here is the full 2024 first-round order:

  1. Chicago Bears (via Panthers)
  2. Washington Commanders: 4-13
  3. New England Patriots: 4-13
  4. Arizona Cardinals: 4-13
  5. Los Angeles Chargers: 5-12
  6. New York Giants: 6-11
  7. Tennessee Titans: 6-11
  8. Atlanta Falcons: 7-10
  9. Chicago Bears: 7-10
  10. New York Jets: 7-10
  11. Minnesota Vikings: 7-10
  12. Denver Broncos: 8-9
  13. Las Vegas Raiders: 8-9
  14. New Orleans Saints: 9-8
  15. Indianapolis Colts: 9-8
  16. Seattle Seahawks: 9-8
  17. Jacksonville Jaguars: 9-8
  18. Cincinnati Bengals: 9-8
  19. Los Angeles Rams: 10-7
  20. Pittsburgh Steelers: 10-7
  21. Miami Dolphins: 11-6
  22. Philadelphia Eagles: 11-6
  23. Houston Texans (via Browns)
  24. Dallas Cowboys: 12-5
  25. Green Bay Packers: 9-8
  26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 9-8
  27. Arizona Cardinals (via Texans)
  28. Buffalo Bills: 11-6
  29. Detroit Lions: 12-5
  30. Baltimore Ravens: 13-4
  31. San Francisco 49ers: 12-5
  32. Kansas City Chiefs: 11-6

AFC Coaching Notes: Dickerson, Browns, Bills, Addae, Day, Chargers, Dolphins, Colts

The Browns allowed Bill Callahan out of his $3MM-plus contract to join son Brian in Tennessee. Given Bill Callahan’s status as one of the NFL’s best O-line coaches, this left a void on Cleveland’s staff. The team will fill it with one of the candidates it interviewed for its OC post. Seahawks O-line coach Andy Dickerson will take the same position with the Browns, SI.com’s Albert Breer tweets. Set to work under Ken Dorsey, Dickerson was one of the ex-Sean McVay staffers who followed Shane Waldron to Seattle. The Seahawks promoted Dickerson to their O-line coach in 2022. Upon removing Pete Carroll from his longtime HC post, the Seahawks let their assistants speak with other teams. Additionally, the Browns are adding Roy Istvan as their assistant O-line coach, per the Associated Press’ Tom Withers. Istvan was most recently the Eagles’ assistant O-line coach under acclaimed staffer Jeff Stoutland; Istvan had been in that role for five seasons.

Here is the latest from the AFC coaching ranks:

  • Recently retired safety Jahleel Addae will return to the NFL as a coach. The former Chargers starter will join the Bills as their cornerbacks coach, ESPN.com’s Pete Thamel tweets. Addae, 34, had been on the Miami Hurricanes’ staff. Addae started 63 games during his nine-year career, with most of the starts coming as a Charger.
  • The Bills are not bringing back DBs coach John Butler, Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News tweets. Butler had been Buffalo’s DBs coach since 2018. With the Bills moving Bobby Babich to DC, some changes are being made. Another will be the hire of Matt Edwards as assistant D-line coach. The team recently bumped up Marcus West to D-line coach, replacing the departed Eric Washington. Edwards previously worked as a Raiders defensive assistant, concentrating on the team’s pass rush.
  • Shane Day is coming back to Los Angeles. Spending two seasons as the Chargers‘ QBs coach under Joe Lombardi, Day was with the Texans as a senior offensive assistant. Jim Harbaugh will bring Day back to the Bolts as their QBs coach, NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo tweets. Justin Herbert became the AFC’s Pro Bowl starter under Day in 2021, and Garafolo adds the star QB enjoyed working with Day. Though, Brandon Staley fired both Lombardi and Day following the Bolts’ wild-card collapse in Jacksonville. The veteran assistant was with the 49ers on two separate occasions, though neither was during Harbaugh’s San Francisco run.
  • The Chargers are also hiring Sanjay Lal as their wide receivers coach, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Lal has been coaching wide receivers in the NFL since the late 2000s. One of those tenures — 2015-16 with the Bills — overlapped with new Bolts OC Greg Roman. Lal was most recently the pass-game coordinator and WRs coach with the Seahawks.
  • Recent Titans assistant Ryan Crow will move to Miami. The Dolphins are hiring Crow as their outside linebackers coach, Breer adds. The Vikings, Seahawks and Giants showed interest as well, per Breer. The Browns also interviewed Crow last month, but he will instead work with the likes of Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips in Miami. Crow’s former boss, Shane Bowen, is now in New York, explaining the Giants’ interest. Crow will replace Ryan Slowik, who interviewed for the DC job that went to Anthony Weaver. But Slowik is set to stay with the Dolphins in a different capacity, according to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson. The older brother of Texans OC Bobby Slowik, Ryan has been an NFL assistant for more than 15 years. Although Mike McDaniel hired him in 2022, the two were low-level staffers in Denver in 2005.
  • The Colts found their next D-line coach at the college level. Charlie Partridge, who spent the past seven seasons as Pitt’s D-line coach, will take the same position under Shane Steichen in Indianapolis, Fox59’s Mike Chappell notes. The former Florida Atlantic HC, Partridge has never coached in the NFL previously, spending more than 25 years in the college ranks. Partridge coached recent first-round pick Calijah Kancey at Pitt and was J.J. Watt‘s position coach at Wisconsin.

Bills Expected To Hire Saints’ Ronald Curry

Being set to hire 49ers pass-game coordinator Klint Kubiak as their next OC, the Saints will continue to bid farewell to assistants on that side of the ball. Quarterbacks coach Ronald Curry will follow Pete Carmichael and Doug Marrone out of New Orleans.

Curry has already landed a gig elsewhere. The Bills are expected to hire him to be their next QBs coach and pass-game coordinator, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson reports. Joe Brady entered last season in as Buffalo’s QBs coach but was bumped up to OC following the team’s Ken Dorsey firing. With Brady now in the full-time OC position, the AFC East champions had a vacancy.

NOLA.com’s Jeff Duncan initially reported Curry was not going to be part of the Saints’ 2024 staff. The Saints offered to keep Curry on as their wide receivers coach, according to NewOrleans.football’s Nick Underhill. Curry served as the team’s wideouts coach from 2018-20, but his departure to mentor Josh Allen is understandable, especially considering a new OC is coming to New Orleans. As of now, the only Saints position coaches still in place on offense are O-line coach Jahri Evans and tight ends coach Clancy Barone.

[RELATED: Broncos Add Pete Carmichael To Staff]

A former NFL wide receiver, Curry had been with the Saints since 2016. Sean Payton hired Curry, a former college quarterback at North Carolina, and steadily promoted him over the years. Curry became New Orleans’ QBs coach in 2021 and worked in that role over the past three seasons. Curry and Brady overlapped as Saints assistants from 2017-18, undoubtedly helping lead to the former’s anticipated appointment in Buffalo.

The Saints were among the teams to interview Curry for an offensive coordinator post over the past two years, meeting with their longtime assistant about the job that is expected to go to Kubiak. The Broncos and Buccaneers met with the 44-year-old assistant about their OC gigs in 2023 as well.

Buffalo’s OC job being tied to Allen could certainly make Brady a key part of the 2025 HC carousel, thus putting Curry in a position to potentially become a coordinator in Buffalo. Allen will represent a new tier of QB talent for Curry, who coached the likes of Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill, Trevor Siemian and Andy Dalton in New Orleans before the Derek Carr signing. Each post-Drew Brees option had moments of success, however.

Dalton threw 18 TD passes compared to nine INTs, while averaging a career-best 7.6 yards per attempt. That landed the 2022 Saints starter a nice QB2 offer from the Panthers. Before suffering an ACL tear, Winston finished with a 14-3 TD-INT ratio in 2021; he did so with a basement-level receiving corps. Though, the former No. 1 overall pick could not match that form in 2022. Carr produced an uneven 2023, still improving down the stretch and finishing 16th in QBR. Carr’s contract aside, the Saints also continued to make Hill a regular part of their QB equation in 2023.

Coaching Notes: Vrabel, Fangio, Dolphins, Eagles, Marrone, Saints, Titans, Bills

Seeing as Mike Vrabel went from highly regarded HC to trade candidate to bumped off this year’s carousel entirely, potential reasoning behind the ex-Titans boss’ standing is certainly relevant. Vrabel’s old-school, intimidating style may have been a factor in him not landing a job, with a GM going so far as to mention to The Athletic’s Dianna Russini this even could even extend to his physical stature. The former NFL linebacker also may have found himself pigeonholed as a slightly older candidate, even at 48, than some owners wanted, Russini offered during an appearance on The Athletic Football Show. Only Jim Harbaugh (60) and Dan Quinn (53) was older among this year’s eight HC hires. Vrabel interviewed for the Falcons, Panthers and Chargers’ jobs.

Some teams were interested in hiring Vrabel as a defensive coordinator, Russini adds, but the six-year NFL HC has not been connected to any specific coordinator jobs. With not many DC positions left, Vrabel seems likely to join Bill Belichick as coaches on the outside looking in this year. Vrabel may stand to have a better chance of landing another HC job moving forward, with Belichick set to turn 72 in April. For now, however, he is out of the league. The reports about Vrabel clashing with Titans ownership may have impacted his chances as well.

Here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • On the subject of coaching clashes, Vic Fangio‘s style did not appear to draw universal praise while with the Dolphins. Jalen Ramsey, Jevon Holland and rookie Cam Smith expressed issues with the veteran DC, ProFootballNetwork.com’s Adam Beasley notes. While praising Fangio’s old-school demands, Tyreek Hill also relayed a rumor about others indicating behind closed doors the team’s 2023 DC wanted to return to Philadelphia. Previously mentioned as rubbing some in Miami the wrong way, Fangio is indeed back with the Eagles. The Dolphins have hired ex-Ravens D-line coach Anthony Weaver to replace him.
  • Preparing to hire Klint Kubiak as offensive coordinator, the Saints will not extend Doug Marrone‘s second stint with the team into the 2024 season. In place as the Saints’ offensive line coach from 2022-23, Marrone will not be asked back, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.football tweets. The Saints have veteran O-line coach John Benton as a frontrunner to fill the spot, NOLA.com’s Luke Johnson adds. Benton, 60, would be a logical hire. He worked as Gary Kubiak‘s O-line coach for eight years in Houston and was the 49ers’ O-line coach under Kyle Shanahan from 2017-20. After following Robert Saleh to New York in 2021, Benton spent this past season out of football.
  • Former Falcons assistants Steve Jackson and Frank Bush will be part of new Titans DC Dennard Wilson‘s staff, ESPN.com’s Turron Davenport tweets. A former Texans DC and interim Jets DC, Bush was on Arthur Smith‘s Falcons staff as linebackers coach for three years. This will be a return trip for Jackson, who has a history as a player and a coach with the franchise. A former Oilers cornerback, Jackson finished his career in Super Bowl XXXIV with the Titans. He later served as assistant DBs coach under Mike Mularkey in Tennessee from 2016-17. Jackson spent the past two seasons with the Falcons.
  • The Bills are moving senior defensive assistant Al Holcomb to a position coach role. The former Panthers DC will replace Bobby Babich as Buffalo’s linebackers coach, ESPN.com’s Alaina Getzenberg notes. Babich is now Buffalo’s DC. Holcomb, who worked with Sean McDermott in Carolina, joined the Bills last year. The AFC East champs are also promoting Marcus West from assistant defensive line coach to D-line coach to replace Eric Washington, who became the Bears’ DC last month.

Bills GM: “I Don’t Think You’re Going To See Any Splashes” In Free Agency; Latest On Team’s Top FAs

Bills GM Brandon Beane, echoing the remarks he made in the 2023 offseason, said that his club is unlikely to hand out any especially lucrative contracts in free agency this year. As Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic (subscription required) observes, Buffalo is projected to be roughly $49MM over the 2024 salary cap, which obviously puts a damper on the team’s spending ability.

“I don’t think you’re going to see any splashes,” Beane said. “Even if I found something that was exciting to me, I don’t think it would fit within our cap parameters. I think everyone needs to understand that we’re going to be shopping at some of those same stores we were shopping last year. We’re not going to be on Main Street of New York City or whatever all those high-end shopping centers are. It’s not feasible to where we’re at.”

In Buscaglia’s view, the only surefire way to alleviate the Bills’ cap problems would be to undergo a full roster overhaul as they did in 2017 — the year before quarterback Josh Allen was drafted — and 2018. However, with a star QB like Allen in place, the team is not going to punt on a season just to get right with the salary cap, as Buscaglia opines.

As a result, Buffalo will not be able to swim in the deep end of the free agency pool, and the team may also be forced to part with some of its own top free agents. Indeed, Buscaglia expects most of Buffalo’s high-profile FAs to at least test the open market.

That list includes wide receiver Gabe Davis, who emerged as a key big-play threat for Allen after being selected by the Bills in the fourth round of the 2020 draft. Over his four-year tenure in western New York, Davis posted 27 touchdowns and a 16.7 yards-per-reception rate (though that comes with a modest 54.5% catch percentage, which is typical for a home run hitter). Unfortunately, Davis was forced to sit out the Bills’ two playoff contests at the end of the 2023 campaign due to a PCL injury sustained in the regular season finale against the Dolphins, and even before that happened, 2022 fifth-rounder Khalil Shakir had shown an ability to serve as a capable, cost-controlled complement to Stefon Diggs.

Davis, who will turn 25 in April, confirmed that he plans to test free agency next month (via ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg). He suggested that he would be receptive to a new deal with the Bills, but he said that there were no extension talks between him and the club last season.

Notably, while Davis’ injury was originally classified as a PCL sprain, Ryan O’Halloran of the Buffalo News says that the UCF product actually suffered a torn PCL. There is presently no indication as to whether that ailment will impact Davis’ free agent prospects.

Defensive tackle DaQuan Jones, meanwhile, is one of a number of Bills defensive linemen who are out of contract, and like Davis, he said he has not had any talks with the club about a new deal (as relayed by Buscaglia). Jones signed a two-year, $14MM contract with Buffalo in March 2022, and after playing 16 regular season contests in his first year with the team, he was limited to seven games in 2023 thanks to the pectoral injury he sustained in Week 5. The 32-year-old veteran, who has been a consistently strong and mostly durable starter throughout his career, returned to play the final two games of the regular season and both of Buffalo’s postseason matchups, and he said he is looking forward to his return to the open market.

Jones’ fellow DT Jordan Phillips, on the other hand, is considering retirement, per O’Halloran. Phillips, who stepped into the starting lineup following Jones’ injury, suffered a dislocated wrist in a Week 15 win over the Cowboys and ended the season on IR as a result. Now 31, Phillips enjoyed his finest season as a member of the Bills in 2017, posting 9.5 sacks over 16 games (nine starts). He parlayed that performance into a lucrative three-year contract with the Cardinals the following offseason, but his time in the desert was marred by injury, and he was released in March 2022. He has spent the last two seasons back in Buffalo, but he conceded that “this might be it” for his playing career.

Safety Micah Hyde may also hang up the cleats, as Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News reports. Hyde, a Packers draftee who began a long and productive stint as a member of the Bills in 2017, played in 14 games in 2023 after being limited to just two contests the year before as a result of a neck injury. In the view of Pro Football Focus, he was not quite as sharp as he had been throughout most of his time in Buffalo, though he was still an above-average defender.

Hyde, 33, said he had no issues with his surgically-repaired neck over the first half of the 2023 season, but he sustained a stinger in Week 9 and another in Week 14, and he conceded that it was a difficult year for him physically. Although he has medical clearance to play, he has not yet decided if he wants to do so.

The Bills also have several key edge rushers on expiring contracts: Leonard Floyd and A.J. Epenesa. Floyd, who signed a one-year contract with the team in June, posted 10.5 sacks in his first Buffalo season, the fourth consecutive year in which he has recorded at least nine sacks. As he prepares for his age-32 campaign, Floyd acknowledged that he will follow the money in free agency, though he still wants to sign with a contender.

Of all of the soon-to-be FAs mentioned above, it could be that Epenesa has the best chance to return to the Bills. The 2020 second-rounder has posted 6.5 sacks in back-to-back seasons, and as ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler writes in a subscribers-only piece, Buffalo — in keeping with its usual desire to retain homegrown talent — may talk extension with Epenesa before free agency opens.

Bills Likely To Retain Von Miller

Given their tight cap situation, the Bills will face a number of challenges this offseason with respect to roster moves. In the case of edge rusher Von Miller, a release or trade would carry signficant financial implications. Neither route appears to be in the team’s plans, however.

When speaking to the media about the Bills’ outlook, head coach Sean McDermott made repeated references, via The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia, to next season as it pertained to Miller remaining in Buffalo (subscription required). In spite of a forgettable 2023 campaign, therefore, the former Super Bowl MVP is likely on track for a third Bills campaign. Four years remain on Miller’s contract, and guarantees exist for 2024.

Miller is owed $17.5MM in each of the next two seasons, and his pact calls for $6.44MM in guaranteed compensation for the ’24 campaign. For that reason, designating him a post-June 1 cut would be necessary to avoid negative cap savings. A trade before that date would create a dead cap charge of nearly $22MM and only $2MM in savings. No guaranteed money is in place beyond 2024, though, so next season will be imperative as Miller looks to rebound from a disappointing second campaign in Buffalo.

The 34-year-old posted zero sacks and only three QB hits in 12 games in 2023, finding himself a healthy scratch at one point late in the regular season. He was also held without a sack in the Bills’ two playoff games, a far cry from his production in 2022. Of course, Miller began the campaign late as he recovered from an ACL tear, and he will aim to be in a better health situation in time for Week 1 of the 2024 season.

Wideout Stefon Diggs has also been the subject of recent speculation, though the Bills have made it clear he remains a central part of their plans moving forward. In Miller’s case, McDermott’s stance points to at least short-term continuity. Gregory Rousseau still has term on his rookie contract, but fellow edge rushers A.J. EpenesaLeonard Floyd and Shaq Lawson are each pending free agents.

As such, Buffalo could see considerable turnover at the position in the near future, and heavy losses could see Miller receive a higher workload than the 32% snap share he saw in 2023. At a minimum, he should be expected to log a rotational role in a bounce-back bid with the Bills.

Latest On Stefon Diggs’ Future With Bills

After finishing with at least 100 receiving yards in five of his first six games, Stefon Diggs didn’t put up nearly the same numbers through the final three months of the season. In his final 11 regular-season games, Diggs averaged only five catches for 51 yards per contest, and he scored only three touchdowns over that span. Things didn’t get any better in the playoffs, with the Bills wideout hauling in only 73 receiving yards. This includes a playoff loss to the Chiefs where he had a season-low 21 receiving yards and dropped a crucial fourth-quarter pass.

Considering his drop in production, some have speculated that Diggs may be frustrated in Buffalo and looking for a change. Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda.com says that’s not the case, as Diggs isn’t expected to ask for a trade. Diggs discussed his future in Buffalo while attending this week’s Pro Bowl Games, marking the first time he’s talked with reporters since Buffalo was eliminated from the playoffs. The receiver was generally noncommittal about his future, just stating that he’s “ready to go no matter which way it goes.”

“I feel like I take it day by day,” Diggs said (via ESPN’s Stephen Holder). “Obviously, there’s a lot of changes going on, a lot of things going on. I can’t really put the carriage before the horse, you know what I’m saying? But I got a great offseason in front of me to put a lot of work in and kind of build around what we got and what we’re doing.

“I can’t tell you what the future holds, but I’m still being me.”

Diggs is a questionable trade/release candidate just by virtue of his contract. He’ll account for a $27.35MM cap hit next season, and there’s three years remaining on the four-year extension he inked back in 2022. The Bills would face significant dead cap if they cut the veteran, and his incoming salary would likely be untenable for many trade suitors.

As a result, Pete King of Football Morning in America believes that GM Brandon Beane and the Bills front office will ultimately do “major surgery” on the wide receiver’s deal, and the writer suspects that Diggs wouldn’t be happy about that arrangement. Pauline agrees that a restructured Diggs contract would partly help the cap-strapped Bills, but he’s also wary of how that move would impact the player’s attitude.

For what it’s worth, it doesn’t sound like the Bills are particularly anxious to get rid of Diggs. Beane told reporters that he expects the two-time All-Pro receiver to continue leading their depth chart in 2024.

“He’s a No. 1 receiver,” Beane said (via Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic). “I firmly believe that. I’m not wavering off of that. Listen, we have to continue to put weapons out there to keep teams from bracketing him or, you know, locking him down in different ways to take him away.”