Bills’ signing of Connor McGovern named among worst free agency decisions in NFL

The Buffalo Bills had a need to improve their offensive line this offseason. It remains to be seen if they accomplished that, but not everyone is convinced it has happened.

Pro Football Network named a list of the worst contracts handed out during the first weeks of free agency. Buffalo inking Connor McGovern to a three-year deal was among them.

The 25-year-old spent the first four years of his career with the Dallas Cowboys. Where PFN sees a problem is his ability as a run blocker.

Pro Football Focus backs that. The football analytics folks gave McGovern a mark of 74.8 as a pass blocker last season. His run blocking was a brutal 42.7.

McGovern still has plenty of time to prove that analysis wrong. Plus, there’s always a chance McGovern’s skills improve with a new team.

Here’s PFN’s full breakdown on McGovern’s deal he signed with the Bills:

Had the Bills signed the other Connor McGovern interior offensive lineman, the one they saw twice a year for three years, the $7.5 million average annual value would make sense. He’s played at that level for a number of years now and still has some great football ahead of him.

But the Connor McGovern that played for the Cowboys has not been quite as successful. McGovern was a capable pass blocker last year and played that role at an above-replacement level, but he has always been an enormous liability as a run blocker. Not only that, his success as a pass protector was largely limited to one season, allowing defenders to quickly win off the snap and forcing the quarterback to scramble or get rid of the ball quickly.

McGovern has only had one season as a full-time starter, playing as an injury replacement in other years. In that role, he’s spectacular, and teams could do a lot worse than having him as a depth player along the interior. But as a starter making starting money, it’s a big issue — especially for a team that wants to improve its running game.

McGovern’s contract incurs a $3.6 million cap hit in Year 1, which is in line with his value. But after that, it explodes to a functionally guaranteed second-year cap hit of $7.5 million and hits $8 million in Year 3 — an unguaranteed year but a difficult one to cut because he would incur $4 million in dead cap space.


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Story originally appeared on Bills Wire