Resigning free agents is a very important part of maintaining success for a franchise. This is especially true when a rookie finishes his first contract and can now dictate how much they will sign for. Resigning veteran players can be an even greater task for general managers. Veterans have been down the path before and know how to dictate their own market. If you are a franchise that isn’t necessarily good at drafting rookie players, the free agency is key. Bringing players in and building a team that can compete for a super bowl is no easy task.
For the Buffalo Bills, they are a team that is getting old. They need to start trying to get younger while maintaining a competitive roster. This means they need to build through the draft and resign their young players. They also need to maintain their veteran leadership that has done wonders for their franchise. These are 4 free agents the Buffalo Bills need to resign.
4 Free Agents the Buffalo Bills Must Re-sign in 2018
4. Deonte Thompson – 29 Years Old – Wide Receiver
Deonte Thompson joined the Bills on October 17th, 2017. His first game with the team was week 7 when the Bills played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In this game, Thompson caught 4 passes for 107 yards. He led the team in receiving yards in this game and was a key part of the Bills’ 30-27 win. He continued to be a force throughout the season recording at least one catch in every game. During the Bills week 14 whiteout against the Colts, Thompson caught a 34-yard pass to keep the Bills alive. The catch would lead to Lesean Mccoy’s walk-off touchdown. This win was a spark that allowed the Bills to stay in the playoff hunt. Thompson finished his season with Buffalo having recorded 27 catches for 430 yards and 1 touchdown.
Resigning Thompson is very important for the Bills as he has proven to supply solid depth to the receiving corps. He won’t be asking for anything crazy in terms of money and the Bills should be able to bring him back. Thompson has become a fan favorite due to his consistency and catching ability. Thompson’s week 14 catch will be one that Bills fan look back on for a long time.
3. Kyle Williams – 34 Years Old – Defensive Tackle
It should come as no surprise to see Kyle Williams name appear here. Williams is the leader of the locker room and staple of the Bills franchise. Williams has a very long tenure with the Bills and is beloved by the city and the fans. To make things even better, his production is still that of pro bowl caliber. This past season Williams recorded 41 tackles and 3 sacks on the season while getting at least one tackle in every game. Another player known for his consistency on the field it isn’t just through his production. Williams is consistently healthy as well. In his 12 seasons in Buffalo, he has played at least 14 games in 10 of them.
Williams will most likely take a one year deal and will most likely be paid roughly 7-8 Million. In 2017 Williams made $6.8 Million. Williams has irreplaceable leadership and the ability to play at a high level still at the age of 34. He will definitely get paid what he is worth whether it is by the Bills or another franchise.
2. E.J. Gaines – 25 Years Old – Cornerback
When the Bills acquired Gaines in a pre-season trade with the Rams that saw Sammy Watkins head to LA for Gaines and a second-round pick, Bills fans saw the draft pick as the real prize and Gaines as bonus filler. Gaines wasted no time showing Bills fans how wrong they were. In 2017, Gaines’ stats included 59 tackles, 9 passes defended, 3 forced fumbles, and 1 interception. All of this came in only 11 games. In 2017, Jaguars corner Jalen Ramsey recorded 63 tackles and 0 forced fumbles in 16 games. This shows that Gaines ability to tackle and force fumbles is in the Top tier of his position.
Gaines is going to want a significant deal this offseason as he is young and talented. He also plays a position that requires multiple starters. One thing that most teams will need to evaluate when looking at Gaines is his health. Gaines has only played in 11 games each of his past two seasons. He has also yet to play a full 16 game season in his career. The talent is there, but if Gaines isn’t there on Sunday then the money isn’t going to be worth it. However, Gaines is too good for the Bills to let injury history stop them from resigning him. An elite young player in the secondary is too valuable to let walk out the door. Something the Bills know all too well.
1. Preston Brown – 25 Years Old – Linebacker
The Bills biggest free agent this offseason is by far Preston Brown. Brown led not only the Bills in tackles this season, but the entire NFL with 144 tackles. This type of production is not going to replaced by any free agent or rookie the Bills could find. The only way to keep this type of production in the middle of the field is to bring back Brown. Brown has definitely earned the opportunity to demand contracts in the range of the best linebackers in the league. In his 4 seasons with Buffalo, Brown has never missed a game.
This is the second time the Bills have a free agent linebacker the offseason following a league lead in tackles. Last time they let Zach Brown walk and got lucky with Preston. They cannot take the risk again, especially when Preston Brown is only 25 years old. These Bills need to get younger and they can’t create more position needs for the draft. They need to lock down the young guys they already have, starting with Brown.
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