B/R peg Daryl Williams as ‘must re-sign’ free agent for Bills

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Nick Wojton
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With limited cap space this offseason, the Buffalo Bills are in a realistic position where the club might have to rank their pending free agents. The Bills might not be able to keep everyone easily.

But Bleacher Report extended a helping hand, of sorts, to Buffalo general manager Brandon Beane recently. B/R pegged one pending free agent for every NFL team a “must re-sign.” The Bill placed here was offensive lineman Daryl Williams, not linebacker Matt Milano, as the two are widely considered the Bills’ top-two free agents.

Here’s why:

It’s easy to understand why the Buffalo Bills and their fans want to see defensive leader Matt Milano back next season, and the team will likely do everything it can to keep veteran cornerback Josh Norman in the fray. But an organization with limited cap space would be smart to put those impending free agents on the backburner while negotiating with the even more crucial Daryl Williams at the right tackle spot.

The former Carolina Panther earned superb grades from Pro Football Focus as both a pass-protector and a run-blocker while starting all 19 regular-season and playoff games for an explosive Buffalo offense in 2020.

As Bills franchise quarterback Josh Allen continues to develop, continuity within his supporting cast is critical. If at all possible, the Bills should enter training camp with Williams, Dion Dawkins, Mitch Morse, Jon Feliciano and Cody Ford in starting roles along the offensive line.

Williams was truly a player that came out of left field last season. Beane recently admitted that he did not expect Williams to start at right tackle when he signed him last offseason, but here we are, now discussing if Williams will get a big pay day.

The true question remains exactly how large his next contract will be. Spotrac estimates Williams could land up to $7.8 million on the free agency market. Due to COVID-19 causing a drop in the salary cap, that number might be hard for the Bills to fit on their books, and they certainly would not be able to fit that one and second large hit via the likes of Milano.

Due to the pandemic, the salary cap is dropping from $198.2M in 2020 to somewhere reportedly between $180-185M this offseason. That’s the same area Buffalo’s current salary cap number is at and because of that, the Bills will have to find space to keep Williams… or potentially Milano. A decision could be looming between the two and B/R thinks it could be the offensive lineman edging out the defender.

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