The 5-1 Buffalo Bills are still in the midst of their Week 7 bye week. The off week coincides with the one-third mark of the 18-week season. Sitting at the third mark is a great time to take a look at five things we don’t know about the 2022 Bills just yet.
Running Back Roulette
If a running back’s name is rumored to be on the trade block – no matter how likely or unlikely they are to be moved – the Bills are instantly linked to said player. The top three names that were thrown around on Twitter, and by talking heads, were Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey, Giants’ Saquon Barkley, and Rams’ Cam Akers. We know Brandon Beane isn’t trading for CMC, he went to the 49ers in a late Thursday night trade.
Aside from that move, there are a few factors into Buffalo trading for any of them. First, does their current team want to trade them? We know the Rams are looking to trade Akers, the Panthers did move CMC, and I have no idea why a 6-1 Giants team would let go of its best asset. Second, what would the compensation be? Carolina received a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th in the 2023 or 2024 draft from San Francisco in exchange for McCaffrey. That was too rich for the Bills’ blood. As for Akers, the price tag will be significantly less. The Giants aren’t moving Barkley, so let’s move along.
Finally, what is the contract Buffalo would have to take on? Akers is still on his rookie deal, so the contract is one the Bills can absorb. Those are options outside western New York, but they could already have the answer on the team. This leaves thinking about Devin Singletary as the Bills’ RB1 of the future. Motor is coming off his best game of the season, totaling 85 yards on 17 carries and adding 22 more yards on four receptions. If you made me bet an amount of money that mattered to me, I’d stick with Singletary being the Bills’ RB1 for the rest of the year, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to speculate.
For funsies, I looked up what #Bills draft picks were in 2021/22 as if they were compensation for McCaffrey. It would have been 2021 Boogie Basham (2nd), Spencer Brown (3rd), Tommy Doyle (5th, they didn't have a 4th), and 2022 Khalil Shakir (5th). Insane to see names attached.— Greg Vorse TV (@GregVorse) October 21, 2022
Not so Offensive Line
The 2022 version of the Buffalo Bills has very few flaws, but the one thing we have all pointed to as the main weakness is the offensive line. The group up front has struggled mightily, grading out as the worst or second worst according to Pro Football Focus for most of the year. However, it looked better in the 24-20 win in Kansas City last Sunday. The unit had its best performance in run blocking (you can read about that in the above paragraph) in that game against the Chiefs. They have also started to gel in the protection of Josh Allen. Over the last three games, they have given up .7 sacks per game, the best in the league, according to TeamRankings.com. If the front five is starting to become a cohesive group under new line coach Aaron Kromer, maybe it can be a strength as the season unfolds.
Put your hand up if you are tired of hearing about OBJ while real-life, actual football is being played. Ok, you can now put both hands back down. It was fun to talk about Odell joining the Bills when I walked around the zoo with my kids for the 49th time and needed a distraction, but at this point, I’m ready for his continued attempts to stay in the news cycle to be over. That said, as long as Von Miller keeps stumping for him and he hasn’t signed elsewhere, I totally understand why Bills fans are excited about the proposition of his moving to western New York.
The Bills threw several darts at the “replacing Cole Beasley” dartboard. So far, it’s been a mixed bag at what works best. Isaiah McKenzie has received the most targets at 26, but he has hauled in just 17 of those, and some of the drops have been extremely costly for Buffalo. They also signed the now-injured Jamison Crowder in the offseason, he too was a bag of meh, bringing in six receptions on 13 targets and having a few “dude, what the heck” drops early on. The man who may see his opportunities get an uptick as Josh Allen and Ken Dorsey start to trust him more is rookie Khalil Shakir. The Boise State product caught six of 11 targets for 112 yards and a touchdown through the first six games of the season. If McKenzie drops the ball – literally and figuratively – the slot role could go to someone new…even if that new guy is OBJ. *wink emoji*
Uno, Dos, Tre White
This one is pretty simple, when will we see Tre White back on the field for Buffalo? With him practicing, it would be awesome if he suited up for the home game against Green Bay coming out of the bye. Regardless of when he comes back, we’ve learned the Bills are just fine at CB2 and have some depth behind White and Dane Jackson when that time arrives. Rookies Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford have been more than serviceable in their duty. Elam has brought in a pair of picks while playing over 80% of snaps. Despite being banged up, Benford has logged over 35% of snaps and gives Buffalo four corners that you should feel comfortable with getting playing time.