2021 free agency: 10 teams that could target Bills LB Matt Milano

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Nick Wojton
·4 min read
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Many around Buffalo would agree that the most important pending free agent name for the Bills to watch over the next few weeks is linebacker Matt Milano.

While Buffalo’s 2017 draft haul did include quarterback Nathan Peterman in Round 5, the team also struck gold in Milano there as well. A modern-day, undersized linebacker, Milano could be one of the most overlooked players in the NFL.

That is, in terms of national headlines. Other clubs around the league will certainly be aware of his talents and he’ll likely be a coveted player in a thin free agent pool of linebackers.

Buffalo will hope Milano doesn’t make it to free agency, but if he does, here are 10 teams that could be interested in signing Milano:

Los Angeles Rams

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams have big names on their defense, like lineman Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey. They don't have at linebacker, though. Adding Milano there would help bolster what Rams Wire calls the "weakest spot on the roster." But the Rams' salary cap mess might make grabbing him difficult.

Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles' entire early offseason headlines surround the Carson Wentz-Jalen Hurts QB drama. However, Pro Football Focus suggested the Eagles should target Milano in free agency, adding the Eagles' linebackers group was "one of the worst units in all of football." Still, expect them to focus on solving their QB situation first since as that might affect their cap.

Cleveland Browns

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) and defensive end Myles Garrett (95)/ Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

While the Browns do have some strong pass rushers along the defensive line, their secondary lacks. Milano has shown an ability as a strong linebacker in coverage, when healthy, which the Browns could use. Cleveland also has a nice chunk of cap space, near $30M (pending a $185M salary cap), per Spotrac.

Kansas City Chiefs

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Mahomes covers up a lot of problems the Chiefs have... kind of like Josh Allen did with the Bills in 2020. But make no mistake, they could use an athletic linebacker like Milano. Currently $18M over the projected cap, they might be a longshot for him but they do seem to find a way to get what they want in free agency recently.

Detroit Lions

Dolphins tight ends coach Dan Campbell. Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

There's a new regime in Detroit with the Lions' new coach Dan Campbell and maybe they'll throw some dollars at Milano? PFF recently predicted that they could use Milano next to Jamie Collins Sr. The Lions' cap situation sits similar to the Bills: Right near the fence of where the reported salary cap could land in 2021, but they could do some maneuvering to make space for him like the Bills would have to do to keep him,

Tennessee Titans

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

The Titans have a smaller, undersized linebacker of their own that's a pending free agent: Jayon Brown. If he skips town, could Milano be a more cost-efficient replacement? The Titans, like the Bills and Browns, are right around the area where the cap could reportedly land. Rinse and repeat with the Lions above.

Cincinnati Bengals

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (Gannett photo)

The Bengals have a ton of cap space ($46M) and should be expected to be players in free agency. ESPN recently pegged Milano as a free agent fit for Cincy, but their rookie QB in Joe Burrow needs help as well.

Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (Gannett photo)

Another team with a less than ideal cap situation currently, the Packers. could use a coverage linebacker. Per PFF, four of five Packers linebackers in 2020 were beaten for a passer rating above 110.0 in coverage this past season.

Washington Football Team

Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera. Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Like the Bengals, the Football Team has cap space to spend ($42M) and while their defensive line is stacked, their linebackers are not. Plus, Ron Rivera is leading the show there now and his defensive background is intertwined with Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott. Perhaps Milano could be a plug-and-play guy in their scheme?

New York Jets

49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

If Milano stayed close to home in the AFC East, the team on his tail the most could be the Jets. With some of the most cap space in the NFL this offseason ($76M), the Jets will be looking to fill the roster for Robert Saleh, their new head coach. In recent years, New York has had a 3-4 base defense, but Saleh is expected to go to a 4-3, per Jets Wire, and Milano is a 4-3 guy... plus we all know the Jets have holes all over their roster...

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