After providing five reasons for hope in 2023 for the Buffalo Bills, here are Bills Wire’s five reasons for concern heading into next season:
AFC East is improving
Quinnen Williams #95 of the New York Jets (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
The competition in the AFC East is getting better. No doubt about that. And that’s not good.
While the Patriots might not seem it on the field, some think they made the best decision in the entire division this offseason: Kicking Matt Patricia to the curb and bringing in Bill O’Brien as their new offensive coordinator.
On the gridiron, undoubtedly the New York Jets improved in 2022. The Jets had both rookies of the year (Sauce Gardner, Garrett Wilson), and Aaron Rodgers could soon be on the horizon to pair up with New York’s elite defense.
And love or hate the Miami Dolphins, they cracked a postseason drought last year.
The Bills have won three straight division titles, but a fourth will not be guaranteed.
Bills safety Jordan Poyer (USAT photo)
Football is a business. That can stink sometimes.
The Bills could still retain the likes of safety Jordan Poyer and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. However, it feels like at least one of them is as good as gone once free agency begins.
Losing a Pro Bowler is never a step in a positive direction (and potentially both are even worse). Buffalo will need to hope they can fill any such gaps left in their lineup.
Plus, Stefon Diggs can be tossed in here to a lesser degree. He is becoming a situation worth monitoring. There are rumblings of his desire to leave Buffalo (mostly by things he says or does on social media), but as of now, he is set to be back.
Limited additions expected
Bills general manager Brandon Beane Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Most in western New York would agree that the Bills still need to improve their roster to get over the hump in the AFC that is the Kansas City Chiefs and now the Cincinnati Bengals. Sadly, those are likely to be few and far between this offseason.
General manager Brandon Beane bluntly said at his end of season press conference that the Bills are unlikely to make a splash addition this spring like the team did a year ago with Von Miller.
Again, the comes after a 2022 season which made many fans think adding a difference-maker defensively or playmaker on offense would be… a smart idea.
The drafting has not been good
(Allen Kee/ESPN Images via AP)
The Bills have blue chip players they’ve added via the NFL draft: Josh Allen, Tre’Davious White, Dion Dawkins.
Beane & head coach Sean McDermott deserve credit for selecting those pieces. But it has been a few years since Buffalo drafted a Pro Bowler.
The most recent is Dawson Knox, a third-round pick in 2019. Knox was named a Pro Bowler just last season for the first time but even then, he made the team as an alternate.
This is a bit of a harsh reality. Buffalo has still drafted good players, just not great ones and this spring the Bills will really need to do that considering the team still remains close to $17 million over the 2023 salary cap.
Good rookies are not only talented, they’re cheaper than most free-agent additions.
Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Leslie Frazier stepped away from the Bills. He’s set to return to coaching in 2024, but will it be in Buffalo? That answer we do not know.
While Bills fans think Frazier leaving is a good thing, be careful what you wish for.
Buffalo hasn’t lost many games with Frazier calling the plays as defensive coordinator and there’s no guarantee that McDermott or anyone else will be as good.
Story originally appeared on Bills Wire