Thu, 20 Feb 2020

Bills Today | One free agent Bills must re-sign

Buffalo Bills
13 Feb 2020, 14:14 GMT+10

1. One free agent Bills must re-sign

The Bills have 12 unrestricted free agents heading into the 2020 offseason. Consistent contributors like RB Frank Gore, LG Quinton Spain, De Shaq Lawson, DT Jordan Phillips, and CB Kevin Johnson are all slated to hit the open market.

Out of those, Bleacher Report considers Shaq Lawson as the one they can't let get away.

The Buffalo Bills' top two 2019 sack artists, Jordan Phillips and Shaq Lawson, are both on track to hit free agency in March. While Phillips led the team with 9.5 sacks (compared to 6.5 for Lawson), the latter player should be a bigger priority entering the offseason.

That's because the Bills, who already have Star Lotulelei and Ed Oliver at defensive tackle, are a lot less secure on the edge. The 25-year-old Lawson has yet to fully live up to expectations as a 2016 first-round pick, but his 6.5 sacks and 18 quarterback hits in 2019 were both career highs. And the team's other two regular defensive ends-Jerry Hughes and Trent Murphy-are 31 and 29, respectively.

Those two have peaked, while Lawson continues to have growth potential. His ceiling remains high after his best season yet, and it would be silly for the Bills to give up on a player who cost them considerable draft currency just a few years ago.

2. Who should Buffalo target in the first three rounds?

The Bills hold the Nos. 22, 54, and 86 picks in the first three rounds of the 2020 draft. NFL draft analyst Chad Reuter released his first three-round mock draft and has the Bills going defense in the first two rounds.

At No. 22 is Penn State junior and edge rusher Yetur Gross-Matos.

With Shaq Lawson heading toward free agency this offseason, the Bills might look to the draft to keep the defense strong on the edge. Gross-Matos possesses the ability to stack his man on the line and beat him around the corner.

At No. 54 is LSU senior cornerback Kristian Fulton.

We all know what happened the last time Buffalo drafted a cornerback from LSU. Fulton was a second team All-SEC member and started 14 games for the national champions. He finished with 32 tackles and 13 passes defended.

At No. 86 is Tennessee senior wide receiver Jauan Jennings.

Jennings led the Vols with 59 receptions for 969 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019. The 6-3 wide receiver was a senior bowl selection and named Tennessee's team MVP for his performance this year. He was fifth in the SEC in receiving yards.

3. PFFs Bills free agency preview

Pro Football Focus released their 2020 free agency preview with players to target, ideal plans of action and potential cuts for every team.

PFF wants to see the Bills target edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue, guard Brandon Scherff, and wide receiver A.J. Green.

Buffalo is sitting pretty entering into this free agency period by seeing just five notable players hit the market and owning the third most cap space. Shaq Lawson is going to cost very little this March, so they can either bring him back for roughly $5 million in 2020 or go all-in for $19.5 million with Yannick Ngakoue, who plays the same 6/7-tech role. Ngakoue has been a better pass-rusher over Lawson in the past three years by ranking among the 20 best at his position in pass-rush grade. Josh Allen improved significantly in his intermediate and short passing, as he was among the 10 best in PFF passing grade on throws of 19 yards or less. So, adding a receiver such as A.J. Green. who was one of the league's best deep receivers when healthy, would help some.

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