12 takeaways from Sean McDermott, Brandon Beane free agency presser

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Nick Wojton
·5 min read
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Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane took some time on Thursday to address all the latest happening surrounding the team since the start of free agency this week.

From re-signings of their own last week, to the additions of receiver Emmanuel Sanders and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, the duo had plenty to discuss.

With that, here are 12 takeaways from the press conference:

Why Trubisky was signed

Well who saw Trubisky being a Bills quarterback? Turns out he is. On Thursday, Buffalo signed him to a one-year deal and Beane said that Trubisky is going to replace Matt Barkley as the team’s QB2.

So the pressing question: Why?

Beane said the Bills see more similarities to Josh Allen.

“Physically, very talented. Athletically, can do some of the same things that Josh can do with the RPOs that Brian Daboll uses in the system,” Beane said.

The GM added that the stop in Buffalo might be one and done for the 26-year-old as well.

“This is a reset for him, we don’t expect him to be here long term,” Beane said.

Emmanuel Sanders’ fit

McDermott said the addition of Sanders is not something to overthink. The coach essentially said it was John Brown out, Sanders in. The reasoning for adding another piece is because the Bills didn’t want to give their offense any reason to struggle after their 2020 breakout.

“You never want to lose your fastball in terms of what we were able to do last season,” McDermott said.

Matt Milano returning

Candidly, Beane said if it wasn’t for COVID-19 causing financial changes in the league, linebacker Matt Milano would have be re-signed long ago. Maybe even last offseason. But because fans were not allowed at games in 2020, causing revenues and the 2021 salary cap to drop to $182.5 million … it took some time.

“All along, we had hoped to get Matt back. I think if we hadn’t had the pandemic and lowering of the cap and uncertainty of where everything would be, I think we would have gotten Matt extended last year,” Beane said.

What do you want in a new tight end?

What kind of tight end would Beane want to add to his roster after saying he wants the position to improve this offseason? He beat around the bush completely and didn’t say anything specifically.

However, with the Zach Ertz trade rumors in mind, Beane only mentioned free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft as options of where he could find one.

“We’ll continue to look for free agents out there and we’ll continue to monitor the draft. We’ll continue to add depth to the position,” Beane said.

Beane also added that he has “big expectations” for Dawson Knox and said Tommy Sweeney is “excited about joining back in” after his COVID-related scare last year.

How can the run game improve?

After saying he wanted to improve the rushing attack earlier this offseason as well, Beane backtracked on that, or at least on the idea of needing to add something to the roster to make it better.

“We believe we have the pieces to run the ball better,” Beane said, and previously indicating otherwise.

In re-signing multiple pieces along the offensive line this offseason, the Bills’ actions this offseason match this.

“We can run the ball with the people we have,” McDermott later added.

Didn’t want to lose John Brown, Quinton Jefferson

“Those guys were in our plans, pre-cap going down,” Beane said.

If COVID-19 didn’t cause the salary cap decline, they both could still be with the Bills, according to the GM.

Feelings on the D-line

No answer real here. Beane gave a vanilla sort of response, again beating around the bush when asked about the defensive line. He said he likes what they have despite pursing JJ Watt. Beane even called the Watt thing a bit of an oversell.

“We get in a lot of conversations with people,” Beane said. “There’s many conversations we’ve been in that the Bills weren’t listed.”

One could still envision the team adding in the defensive trenches, though. You don’t just pursue a guy if you don’t want an upgrade.

Moving to a new punter

The Bills wanted Matt Haack much more than Corey Bojorquez at punter, McDermott essentially said. The coach acknowledged negotiations with Bojorquez, but added…

“At the end of the day, we felt like we had an opportunity that was best for our team,” McDermott said.

Furthermore, Beane referenced Haack’s deal was purposely lined up to match the three years remaining on the deals long snapper Reid Ferguson and kicker Tyler Bass are currently signed to.

“Continuity with our specialists,” Beane said.

What say does Josh have?

After his breakout year and clear-cut push into the top-tier of NFL quarterbacks, how much say does Allen have on things? He has a good pull.

“I would say it’s a healthy amount. Josh is a cornerstone to our foundation and our organization,” McDermott said. “He’s earned that.”

Getting Star Lotulelei back

As expected, the Bills are excited to have Star Lotulelei back… and because of that, expect to see him out there a lot on first down, stuffing the run in 2021.

Or trying to since the Bills couldn’t do that very well without him.

“The size, the early down ability to factor in at the line of scrimmage,” McDermott said.

Cornerback battle

Beane said Levi Wallace, who re-signed with the Bills on Wednesday, and 2020 seventh-round rookie Dane Jackson, will battle it out for the No. 2 cornerback job. The GM added that “we’re very content” with those two.

Gronk confirmed

Rob Gronkowski, before he re-signed with the Bucs, got a call from the Bills. But that’s about it.

“We spoke to his representatives,” Beane said. “We never made an official offer.”

“I think there was some interest,” the GM added.

Doesn’t sound like it was very close at all.

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