5 Free Agents The Buffalo Bills Should Target This Offseason
5 Players The Buffalo Bills Should Target
The Buffalo Bills endured another tough season in 2013 finishing with a record of 6-10 in Doug Marrone’s first year in charge. It was an all too familiar story for Bills fans who have not seen their team finish with a positive record since 2004. The Bills haven’t made a postseason appearance in 14 years -- the longest active streak among NFL teams and a franchise record.
On offense, the problems seem to lie in the passing game. The Bills ranked 28th in the league with an average of 193.9 yards per game, but the issue can be somewhat attributed to the loss of rookie starter E.J. Manuel, who missed a large part of the season through injury. Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel each had opportunities to prove themselves as starting caliber quarterbacks and neither covered themselves in glory.
There are positives on the offensive side of the ball for the Bills. Fred Jackson amassed 890 yards rushing and nine touchdowns while C.J. Spiller had a fantastic 933-yard season; 15th highest in the league. Buffalo averaged 144.2 yards on the ground per game, second only to the Philadelphia Eagles. Conversely, the Bills struggled to stop the run on defense and finished the season ranked 28th in the league, allowing 128.9 yards per game.
With issues on both sides of the ball, the Bills are expected to be very active in free agency and have a rumored $30m available to spend. Stability is key to the franchise and in order to give their second year head coach and sophomore quarterback a chance to flourish, the Bills should target these five free agents during the offseason.
5. Jordan Gross
Gross has played offensive tackle with the Carolina Panthers his entire career. Picked in the first round of the 2003 NFL draft, he has been voted to the Pro Bowl twice and played in Super Bowl XXXVIII. The Bills could use an upgrade in run blocking and Gross is a viable option.
4. Jason Worilds
Worilds had a breakthrough season with the Pittsburgh Steelers this year and is likely to enter free agency due to the Steelers’ salary cap issues. The Bills were poor against the run this year and Worilds could be the solution.
3. Eric Decker
Bills fans can dream, right? The chances of Decker joining the Bills are slim, but the Denver Broncos do have a wealth of receiving talent and several other would-be free agents who need to be resigned at the end of the year before Decker’s situation is resolved. While unlikely, crazier things have happened.
2. Ryan Clark
It appears more and more likely that All-Pro safety Jairus Byrd will be leaving Buffalo during the offseason and Ryan Clark would be a suitable replacement. The 34-year old has played at the highest level for 12 years and – like Worilds – is set to leave the Steelers due to money woes.
1. Dennis Pitta
Tight end Dennis Pitta has been with the Baltimore Ravens since 2010 and helped them to a Super Bowl victory last season. He suffered a dislocated and fractured hip during training camp and was sidelined until their Week 14 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. Injury concerns may see him enter free agency and he would be a great addition to the Bills' lackluster receiving corps.