Here are 15 takeaways from Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane on Wednesday during his end of season press conference:
Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson (91) helps up Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) (USAT photo)
At the top, Beane said he will not “overreact to one game,” which is a good idea. But he also didn’t shy away from saying the Bills had issues against the Cincinnati Bengals in their playoff loss to them.
The GM didn’t just focus in on that game, rather, he said the stretch run wasn’t as positive as years past.
“We’ve done a lot of good things (and) you have to be playing your best football at this time of year. This year, we weren’t when we hit the playoffs – we weren’t in a groove the way we were in 2020 and 2021,” Beane said.
There’s a way to fix that from a front-office standpoint. Beane gets paid the big dollars to figure out how.
Beane also noted just how the whole run of the loss to Cincy… hit different.
“At least in the last three years, I can’t remember a game where we (were) kickoff, down 7-0, three-and-out, down 14-0. You get down 14-0 to a good program, you get out of your game plan a little bit,” Beane said.
The cap will be tight
Bills general manager Brandon Beane Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Barring some sort of salary cap miriacle, the Bills won’t have a lot of money to spend during free agency. Usually transparent (or at least more than Sean McDermott is), Beane said he doesn’t expect any big additions when the market opens.
The 2023 salary cap is not yet. When that is, Beane even admitted he hopes it’s as high as possible so he can have more room to work.
“I’m hoping for a lot of dollars. It’s $208 [million]. but I couldn’t tell you if it’s going to be $208 or $230 [next year]. It’s not going to be 240-something. There’s not going to be a Von Miller signing,” Beane said. “We’re going to be creative. We’re going to try and win. It’s up to me to figure it outWe have to hit on draft picks, we have to find low-cost free agents that can find roles.”
Edmunds and Poyer
Bills safety Jordan Poyer (USAT photo)
Two of the Bills’ biggest pending free agents are linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and safety Jordan Poyer. A pair of blue chip defenders, it might be hard for Buffalo to get both back but Beane said he’d love to have both back.
“Two guys that are true Buffalo Bills. Can’t say enough great things about them,” Beane said.
Man, (Poyer) is a great pro and did a lot of great things for us. Would love to have him back, for sure,” Beane added. “Tremaine, he’s been amazing to watch his growth. Very proud of who he is and you can just see his maturation.”
No problem with Stef
Stefon Diggs #14 of the Buffalo Bills (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Like coach Sean McDermott and quarterback Josh Allen before him, Beane has no issue with Stefon Diggs’ show of emotions against the Bengals. Beane even compared him to another former NFL receiver that Beane knew from his time with the Carolina Panthers.
“Stef is a competitor. Steve Smith was a lot like that,” Beane said.
More Beane on Diggs’ reactions can be found below:
Coordinators get good news
Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
A day prior, McDermott didn’t sound as committed to coordinators Ken Dorsey and Leslie Frazier as he could have. Beane picked up the pieces, backing both guys saying questioning them is pointless since the Bills won so much.
“We won 13 games,” Beane said. “It’s easy for us to sit here and question Ken Dorsey. ‘Why did you go deep there and not get the first down? Why did you run the ball there?'” Beane said. “Everyone is a Monday morning quarterback–Or Leslie Frazier, ‘Why didn’t you blitz more?'”
Beane’s full coordinator thoughts can be found below:
Sounded like a shot fired
Ja’Marr Chase #1 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Beane did not directly say the Bengals did it wrong or give them less credit. What he stated was technically a truth: He never built the Bills by bottoming out. Cincinnati on the other hand? They picked in the top-five selections to get their best players.
Beane, while noting building up a roster through the draft–something he’s been hit or miss at–is not going to involve him picking high.
“They right now are on the advantage of a rookie quarterback contract,” Beane said of the Bengals. “And they had some lean years and without getting too much into their build, I don’t want to suck bad enough to have to get Ja’Marr Chase. I would love to have him, but you got to go through some lean years to do that. They were able to get Burrow at one, and I don’t remember where Chase was drafted, but it was pretty high.”
For Beane’s full tone, see the attached clip below:
Von's health bar is interesting
Maybe Von Miller’s confidence is rubbing off on Beane? The pass rusher is always optimistic and he has continued to assure us all that his stay on the sideline from a knee injury will only be until August.
For reference: Tre’Davious White suffered a similar injury and was out an entire year.
Everyone heals different, but August will be a fast turnaround… and even Beane is optimistic? Often one to take a cautious approach to injuries, the GM was… just as open-minded about Miller’s recovery as the player is.
“I think Von’s in a good spot. I think he’s doing well. I expect him–I’m going to say the same thing. I expect him for a good portion of 2023; I’m not ruling out all of 2023,” Beane said.
Beane backtracked a little, but not much from that.
Spencer Brown #79 of the Buffalo Bills (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Spencer Brown was one of the most criticized offensive linemen on the Bills in 2022. Some hoped for a better step forward in Year 2. Beane admitted Brown had some struggles, but put together a picture of a player that had setbacks for good reason.
In doing so, Beane sounds like he’s backing his guy. The GM noted that Brown came into the NFL during COVID constraints and mentioned how Brown dealt with a back injury last offseason. Tough circumstances for a guy from a small school (Northern Iowa).
“What I saw in Spencer is a guy, the second half of the season that played better than the first half of the season. So I got a lot of confidence in him,” Beane said.
Will 'count on' Kaiir more
Kaiir Elam #24 of the Buffalo Bills . (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Without going through them all, I think that most of [the Bills’ rookies] helped us in some way, and we’ll be counting on them even more. Whether it’s – Kaiir rotated some this year, started some. We’ll be counting on him more,” Beane said.
Sounds like Kaiir Elam will be your Day 1 starter next to Tre’Davious White at cornerback to start the 2022 season. Elam, a first-round pick, had a rocky Year 1. He did show positives late, including a playoff interception.
One shot at Dorsey did stay
Nyheim Hines #20 of the Buffalo Bills (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
McDermott said in his end of season presser that he thought running back Nyheim Hines could have been used more on offense. That’s a shot, or at least a notion, toward Dorsey.
While Beane backed Dorsey much more than the head coach did, the GM agreed with one sentiment: Hines should have been used more on offense after the Bills traded for him.
“We added Nyheim Hines to add another weapon on offense,” Beane said.
Hines had 13 total touches on offense as a Bill.
Cole Beasley back?
Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley (11) Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
Cole Beasley was signed mid-season and only got a bit involved in the offense. He did score his first-career playoff touchdown with the Bills.
On the receiver, Beane said he thought he”really started seeing the Cole you saw before” down the stretch run.
Beasley said he’d like to return for one more season in Buffalo. Beane doesn’t have a lot of cap space, so maybe Beasley is an option for 2023.
Doesn't mind Allen being aggressive
Bills quarterback Josh Allen (USAT photo)
Allen being aggressive and turning the ball over too much in 2022 was never a problem for Beane.
“You have to live with some of the turnovers based on the big plays he makes off schedule,” Beane said.
That’s a smart approach. Prior to this past season, Allen was actually renowned for never turning the ball over in the red zone. Without his elbow injury, perhaps Allen will regress back to playing better ball in those areas of the field next season.
More needed from Ed
Ed Oliver #91 of the Buffalo Bills. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Beane said Ed Oliver can do better. There was no bashing of the defensive tackle, but his play is undoubtedly inconsistent at times. In the GM’s words, there’s still “meat on the bone” in terms of what Oliver can do.
In 2023, Oliver is entering the fifth-year option of his rookie contract.
WR Round 1 is not off the table
Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14)Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
The Bills aren’t ruling out a wide receiver with their first-round pick in 2023. That’s the No. 27 selection, for those wondering.
“I wouldn’t hesitate to a take a wide receiver in the first round. If he can fit in our offense and do what we need a receiver to do,” Beane said.
The GM also joked that he “drafted” one in the first round already when he traded a Round 1 pick for Stefon Diggs. It’s actually a good point.
On a similar topic, here’s how Beane broke down the game of Gabe Davis: “Gabe Davis did a lot of good things this year. People focus on drops. He finished on a strong note in the postseason.”
Bills defensive end Greg Rousseau (50) Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
The Bills front office under Beane’s watch hasn’t done a good job filling out the trenches. They hit on Miller, but who could miss there? Beane sounded like he’s going to once again be on the prowl for offensive and defensive linemen.
“That game we didn’t get it done up front on either side the ball, and that starts with me,” Beane said.