Advertisement

5 reasons for hope for the Bills in 2023

The Bills are not being mentioned in the media buzz as much going into their 2023 campaign compared to recent offseasons.

And part of the reason might be the team’s anticlimactic exit against the Cincinnati Bengals in the divisional round of the playoffs.

The team is also around $19 million over the salary cap and a number of their starters and rotation players are free agents.

Still, there may be even more possibility that this year could be an even better one for the franchise. Here are some 5 reasons for hope for the Bills in 2023.

BBB

 

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Since Brandon Beane became the GM of the Bills in early 2017, he has not been shy about making trades to improve the team’s roster.

In fact, he’s also been willing to package players and picks as needed to do so as well. That included a steady flurry of moves that ultimately positioned the team to select franchise quarterback Josh Allen in the 2018 NFL Draft.

During the first few years of Beane’s tenure, he was notably more active on the trade front as he was remaking the roster and payroll. But he did so to strong results and has continued to make big moves that have earned him a stellar reputation as an executive.

“It’s not always obvious to everyone, because he’s a friendly guy, but Brandon is a killer,” now Giants GM Joe Schoen once said about his former boss in Buffalo. Team owner Terry Pegula even has said, “This guy has ice water in his veins.”

Beane has shown that he will draft players based on how they are graded on his draft board, that he has no problem moving up to select a player in the draft the team grades highly, and that he will make a trade if it makes the team better now and in the future.

He is measured in his approach while prioritizing winning and is also very targeted in terms of finding the right fits with the roster and team culture as well.

While the GM tempered expectations last offseason about any big free agency additions, the team signed star OLB Von Miller. He gave fair warning this offseason about the team’s cap situation as well.

Yet when the Bills needed a WR1 in 2020, Beane sent a first-round pick to the Vikings for Stefon Diggs. He said as recently as last season he’s not opposed to big trades like the ones the Rams made that led to their Super Bowl win.

And with players available in free agency, and names like RB Derek Henry reportedly available via trade, who could be had at a lower asking price with one year left on his deal than former trade deadline target RB Christian McCaffrey. The team has picks and potential trade chips in DE Boogie Basham and WR Isaiah McKenzie to work with, among others.

All that to say Bean has earned the “Big Baller Beane” nickname for a reason, all while proving to be the most ingenuitive GM in the NFL along the way. It should come as no surprise to see him go to work this offseason in a similar way to his early years with Buffalo and to find ways to make the team even better.

Healthy Players

Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

CB Tre White made it back for the second half of the season but it was after a year of recovery from injury. OLB Von Miller and S Micah Hyde were lost to season-ending injuries, while QB Josh Allen played through an elbow injury most of the year, and WR Gabe Davis played through a high ankle sprain down the stretch. And of course, there was the near-death experience and miraculous recovery of S Damar Hamlin.

Last offseason, however, it was noted that the Bills players stay healthier compared to other NFL rosters in big part due to their state-of-the-art training facilities and staff.

Hopefully, the injury bug won’t bite again, and the players will stay healthy during the 2023 season. If so there is plenty of reason to believe they could outperform their 2022 campaign.

New Additions

 

 

Brandon Beane and Buffalo’s front office has steadily built a contender on the field with their moves off it.

Beane has added impact players in the NFL Draft that have made immediate contributions as starters and rotation players, whether in the first round or the sixth.

Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

This is in addition to adding veteran players on short-term and one-year pacts via free agency to fill holes while providing mentorship as a bridge to future starters while addressing position needs. Or even as holdovers until long-term solutions are found.

Buffalo has also developed into a desirable destination for players in the draft as well as in free agency, which has helped in adding talent to continuously make the team better.

Just as in recent offseasons, it stands to reason that Beane will continue to do just that, which could mean some exciting new enhancements and additions to position groups.

Next Steps

Some younger Bills will be entering a season in which they might take the next step in their development at the pro level, or in the role in which they contribute to the team.

Last year’s additions to the Bills offense by way of the NFL Draft, RB James Cook and WR Khalil Shakir, both shined in limited action during the 2022 season.

On the defensive side, LB Terrel Bernard and DE Boogie Basham could both see more opportunities for playing time if they can put the work in this offseason and show progression in their development.

Even talents who’ve had an immediate impact on the field in their first seasons in Buffalo, such as first-round picks CB Kaiir Elam and DE Greg Rousseau on defense, and WR Gabe Davis and T Spencer Brown on offense, could take the next step.

A number of new assistant coaches have been added already this offseason on both sides of the ball as well. They bring fresh voices and perspectives toward the development of current players on the roster, there is hope with good reason that could lead to some of these players and others taking the next step in their development.

Josh Allen

Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The last two previous offseasons saw buzz around the Bills as a Super Bowl contender and Allen as a league MVP candidate.

That there is not that buzz around the team or its quarterback at the moment isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as both have fed off the bulletin board material of being viewed as underdogs or not being picked by analysts to win.

For the past two seasons, the team even struggled to maintain a high level of play against lesser teams, seemingly taking their foot off the gas, resulting in some uncharacteristic losses.

But when there is a sense of purpose and drive, Allen rises to the occasion.

Needless to say, he and the team will be motivated following a disappointing end to a roller-coaster season that fell two games short of a Super Bowl berth and the goal of winning a championship.

That could result in a return to more disciplined play and execution by Allen, which could mean big things for the Bills offense.

Story originally appeared on Bills Wire