When examining the numerous paths that the Buffalo Bills could take in this upcoming 2019 off-season, I kept circling back to the one thing that could make this all work...money. However, the Bills would have to choose which side of the ball they would want to spend it on. With a projected 83 million in cap space to pay whomever they want, it would be interesting if the Bills decided to dedicate one side of the ball to free agency, and the other to the draft.
Left Tackle - Trenton Brown
Currently: Free Agent
Projected: 5-year, 75 million (35 guaranteed)
The admission at the park to protect Tom Brady's blindside is an expensive one, but one that Trenton Brown has filled quite nicely. A former 7th-round pick for the 49ers, many will speculate that it is the system and Brady for much of his success. Either way, you slice it, he has had to learn something from his time in New England. The Patriots are currently 14.6 million under the cap, which is what the annual salary for Brown is going to cost. If they turned a former 7th-round pick into a star, what's to say they can't do it again? Perhaps Belichick will do what he always does...load up on picks and filter guys though his system and see who stays. Either way, they can't afford Brown.
Left Guard - Rodger Saffold
Currently: Free Agent
Projected: 2-year, 25 million (14 guaranteed)
Early reports have Saffold staying with the Rams, however, the other LA team is sniffing around to acquire his services, but at the current time, neither team can afford him. His age and his position put him at the current contract that he is projected to get. The last 30-year old guard who signed a lengthy deal is Marshal Yanda which was 4-years, 31 million and while the price tag has gone up, I don't feel the Bills want to make that type of commitment long term. With the recent draft of Wyatt Teller, Saffold will serve as a mentor to Teller and hold his spot for him.
Center - Matt Paradis
Currently: Free Agent
Projected: 3-year, 24 million (13 guaranteed)
Let's just get straight to the point. Unless your name was Alex Mack or Max Unger, you aren't going to garner a huge contract if you are knocking on 30's door. Also, many teams will try to find their replacement in the draft when it comes to their starting center. It is one of those rare positions that teams draft (usually) and keep the player for his career. Although, there has been some movement in recent years, because of Paradis' age and the team that he was on, he won't get a long term offer (as least I don't think so) at this stage in his career.
Right Guard - Dion Dawkins
Currently: Under Contract with the Bills until 2020
Now. much has been made with the recent struggles of Dawkins and the rest of the offensive line, and newly hired offensive line coach Bobby Johnson may want to shuffle things around a bit, especially if the Bills make these moves in free agency. Many of the pundits marked Dawkins as a guard when he came out of Temple, and his ability to run block has been one of his outstanding traits early in his career. The Bills, when they still enlisted the services of Cordy Glenn, tried Dawkins at right tackle and he still struggled with speed rushers. He is a natural fit at guard and will be the one player that the Bills don't have to look for in free agency.
Right Tackle - Brandon Scherff
Currently: Redskins picked up 5th-year option
Projected: 5-year, 60 million (28 guaranteed)
Now, the Redskins did pick up the 5th-year option on Scherff in the hopes of resigning or giving him a contract extension, however, Washington is a mere 20.5 million under the cap at the moment and have other moves to make if they are to keep Scherff around. With so many moving parts and still young in his football career, Scherff might want to seek other avenues and if the Bills are willing to part ways with a draft pick to Washington (which is the Redskins cheapest option) then they might take it. Scherff provides a solidifying force on that right side and will serve to help Dawkins in his adjustment to guard as well.
Now, these are moves that the Buffalo Bills could make to bolster their line and give Josh Allen the time that he needs to develop into one of the better passers in the league. However, we must look at the signing of these players and the cost it would be for the Bills. These 4 (excluding Dawkins) would eat up a projected 47 million of the Bills 83 million that they have in cap space in 2019. Also counting the projected 10 million that the Bills will spend on their rookie draft class, they are now down to 26 million in available cap space to use on other players. That being said, they have to choose wisely if they are to make moves during the 2019 free agency period. Pick your poison, Buffalo...but make it worth it.