Analyzing Bills' offseason moves, 2023 outlook
Patrick Daugherty and Denny Carter discuss the Buffalo Bills roster for the 2023-24 season and break down where GM Brandon Beane ranks in Pat's general manager rankings.
DENNY CARTER: You have Howie Roseman at one, Brett Veach and Andy Reid at two, Lynch and Shanahan at three. Now, I get to four. I get to four--
PATRICK DAUGHERTY: Uh-oh.
DENNY CARTER: --and I see Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott. And not that they've done a poor job here by any means. I mean, they have an annual-- a perennial contender. And you mentioned that it's, like, almost not fair that they land on a franchise quarterback and now they're expected to compete for the Super Bowl every year, no matter what.
But you also mentioned later, in your breakdown of the Bills and their roster decisions, that they seem to be taking kind of a Band-Aid approach to putting together a roster that can compete with the Bengals, with the Chiefs, and get to that Super Bowl finally. My question is, can the Band-Aid thing actually work when you're facing such elite competition?
PATRICK DAUGHERTY: Well, I think it's just, like, kind of sort of the Band-Aid thing too. It's just kind of a unfortunate byproduct of their success where they built this super-impressive core. But now it's really expensive. It's really kind of inflexible.
It's not like you can like cut, like, Stefon Diggs, or that you would even want to or anything. Like, well, there's not-- there's not a lot of like places to go right now for, like, money in the salary cap cookie jar, kind of. So I think that they're kind of limited, especially after the Von Miller.
So they-- last year, I talked about how they went for, like, a Band-Aid and also a bold flourish. I said they went for finishing touches and bold flourishes. Like a finishing touch was kind of OJ Howard. That didn't work at all. The bold flourish was Von Miller, which was working reasonably well until he tore his ACL. But then the injury happened. It just didn't pan out.
And then kind of 'cause this really expensive core, which is understandable, they're trying to maximize their championship window with Josh Allen. But now he's no longer on his rookie contract. So it's just kind of limited their flexibility. And what I was trying to say is that it's-- you can criticize them for taking the Band-Aid approach. But it's just kind of like a product of their own-- a victim of their own success right now in that regard when there's only so many ways they can really improve this roster with the lack of salary cap flexibility.
And now since they're winning 13 games every year, they're getting bad draft picks. So there's kind of only so much they can do. And so this is something that always happened to Bill Belichick, by the way. They were always picking, like, 27th.
So you kind of get tempted, like, well, you know what. We gotta shoot for the moon with this first-round pick. We're not gonna get a guaranteed hit, so we gotta do something crazy. We gotta take, say, catch-first tight end, who is Mike Gesicki 2.0 and Dalton Kincaid.
DENNY CARTER: Yeah.
PATRICK DAUGHERTY: So they're kind of victims of their own success right now, I would say, the Bills' front office.
DENNY CARTER: Yeah, I just-- I've actually seen some Bills fans, sort of refreshingly, this offseason criticize the team's approach to team-building and say, like, what we're doing is not going to compete. We're not going to be able to knock off the Chiefs. And that's what this comes down to. I mean, there is kind of a nightmare scenario in which Josh Allen goes his entire prime of his career-- and a prime for a mobile quarterback who throws his body into defenders with reckless abandon might not be that long, honestly--
PATRICK DAUGHERTY: No.
DENNY CARTER: --and they've talked about it. They've talked about that openly this offseason-- eh, maybe Josh needs to take-- you know, tone it down a little bit. What I'm saying is, there's a scenario in which he goes his whole prime without getting over the top of Mahomes, of Burrow. And that's kind of tragic, right?
PATRICK DAUGHERTY: It is.
DENNY CARTER: And I just don't see how the Bills-- how the team they're building can get over, can beat the Chiefs, can beat the Bengals, and get to the promised land. I just don't know if they can do it.
PATRICK DAUGHERTY: And they're kind of just in too deep right now, too, which you could say is their fault. But I do think it's just still more about, like, they've had a lot of successful decisions that ended up being very expensive decisions. And it just really limits their flexibility.
But, yeah, I mean, they have a Cam Newton window with Josh Allen. It's not like an Aaron Rodgers window or a Peyton Manning window where it's just open basically until the end of time. It is gonna be a more limited window Josh A-- and, yeah, I think they did, I feel like, kind of misdiagnose their roster last year where they thought it was very structurally sound.
And the offensive line ended up being not very good, and the pass-catching depth was close to nonexistent. And now they're kind of between a rock and a hard place. But they've still given themselves a lot of elite talent. And there are worse plans than basically running it back with that elite talent and making minor moves around it.