The Buffalo Bills could be major players in free agency come March 18 when the new league year opens.
General manager Brandon Beane has more than $82 million to play with this season to upgrade a roster coming off a playoff appearance. Part of that wad of cash, however, will be earmarked for Buffalo’s own players.
Bean said on WGR Sportsradio 550 Wednesday that re-signing several key players is part of his offseason management plan.
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"We’d like to get guys done or re-done if we can," Beane said, via the team’s official website. "That’s the ideal way. When it’s time to sign a guy or re-sign a guy that you have on your roster, it always takes two to figure it out. The best deals are win-win."
The No. 1 player on Beane’s list is star corner Tre’Davious White, who enters his fourth season. The Bills have the no-brainer choice to pick up White’s fifth-year option for 2021 but locking down the former first-round pick for more than one season is the ideal scenario.
"Any guy that’s been in Tre’s situation that we want back and obviously Tre’ is a guy we love and we want back, you do look and try and find what the value is and it’s hard," Beane said. "It can sometimes be hard for agents too because they’re trying to look at what the market is today versus what’s it going to be in two years. Do they want to play it out? Do they want security now?
"Some guys are truly fine with playing it out and seeing where it goes in two years. Some guys want the security. Then it’s up to us to figure out where we see his market value, and you know is he the number one corner in the league? Or the number two corner in the league, etcetera? And that’s at whatever position you’re talking about so I think you have to take each player individually, case by case."
Dion Dawkins and Matt Milano are also up for extensions, and defensive end Shaq Lawson and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips are set to be free agents. White, however, is a priority.
Signing White to a long-term deal this offseason would stand in contrast to how the Bills handled their last star cornerback: Stephon Gilmore. Buffalo allowed the corner to reach the open market in 2017 and he signed with New England. Three seasons later, Gilmore won the Defensive Player of the Year award.
Two months after Gilmore signed in New England, former GM Doug Whaley was fired and Beane took over in Buffalo. Unlike previous management, Beane has no plans to let his lockdown corner reach the open market.
Getting a deal done this offseason, as opposed to waiting, would also make the Bills’ cap situation clearer down the road when other key players become eligible for extensions.
"And obviously next year Josh (Allen) and Tremaine (Edmunds) would fall into that bucket as well. And we’ll have that decision at that point on those two guys," Beane said. "But Tre’ is a guy we love and we definitely want him to be here as a Buffalo Bill for a long time. At the right time the deal will happen. Deals get done when they’re supposed to get done and that’s kind of always been my stance."
One holdup on most of the offseason action this year is agents and teams waiting to see how the CBA situation shakes out in the coming days and weeks. The players’ decision will shape how clubs and player reps approach long-term extensions moving forward, including in Buffalo.
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