In three years under Head Coach Sean McDermott, the Buffalo Bills had been in the playoffs two times, establishing themselves as one of the up-and-coming forces in the AFC. However, the team’s latest playoff win happened in 1995, with Jim Kelly still under center. Twenty-five years later, General Manager Brandon Beane is adding enough firepower around his promising young quarterback, Josh Allen, to finally break the barrier and push for a playoff run.
“I am confident. Sean’s confident. Our team is confident. And I think our fans and everyone else should be confident in Josh Allen. I have no doubt, just like he took a big step from year one to year two, that he will continue to grow,” said the Bills’ GM. He continued: “I thought he took some great strides and he’s looking forward to taking that next step and proving any of the doubters and naysayers wrong.”
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) April 1, 2020
There’s no questions about the quality of Buffalo’s defensive unit and how ready it is for a deep playoff run. The same can’t be said about the quarterback, but he’s been improving steadily and the franchise is fully committed to his success. To help the next step in his development, Beane was aggressive in this offseason and invested some of his valuable draft picks to bring star wide receiver Stefon Diggs to Buffalo to become the go-to guy for the Bills’ cannon-armed QB.
“You guys know I love draft picks. And that was not easy for me to part with the first-round pick, but at the same time, I view this as our first-round pick and I thought it was good for the value of getting a guy like Stefon,” continued Beane.
An analytical look at Stefon Diggs’ impact on the Bills offense. https://t.co/SFl6gnYInd
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) March 30, 2020
Swapping a first-round pick, plus more assets, for an elite pass catcher in his prime was a calculated risk he felt was necessary at the moment. John Brown and Cole Beasley’s additions in 2019 were crucial to Allen’s development — a pair of reliable veterans whom he could trust. Beane felt the number one wide receiver could help in Allen’s next step but wasn’t confident in finding this guy with the 22nd pick in the draft. The Diggs addition brings a level of comfort that wouldn’t be possible with a rookie instead.
JOSH ALLEN 📈
11-5 in last 16 games that he's both started & finished
2x AFC Off Player of Week 🏆
EIGHT career GWD
6th in total TDs
📈 Comp pct up 6%
📈 Adj comp pct up 7%
📈 Passer rtg up 17.4 pts
— Bills QB Watch (@BillsQBwatch) March 29, 2020
“I view it that’s our first-round pick. The way I’m viewing it with the draft capital that we moved to acquire him is we moved up, let’s just say four spots. We traded up there, and we got him. And we know the player. It’s just a more proven thing right now,” explained the general manager. “And again, what we’re dealing with. What did weigh into it is, I know this guy knows ball and will be able to understand the verbiage of our system quicker.”
There’s no doubt about Beane, McDermott, and the Bills seeing an opportunity window opening in the AFC East and trying to take advantage of it. To be able to achieve this goal, the offense needs to be closer to the level of proficiency of the defense. “It’s my job and my personnel staff’s job to add weapons to help run Brian Daboll and his staff, help our quarterback, help Sean,” recognized Beane. The NFL Draft, especially in these latest conditions due to the pandemic that affects the world, was far from a guarantee of success. “I just felt a proven commodity was worth this. The trade value of this move probably moved us up three to four slots from 22, might have gotten us to 18 or 19, not as high as I thought we had to get to get one of those premier guys that I knew would walk in the door, even August 1st, and be ready to roll,” he explained.
Overpaying or not, Buffalo now has another dynamic weapon capable of elevating the team’s offense to another level. There are some questions about Diggs’s personality and his fit in the locker room, but Beane is confident it shouldn’t be a problem, trusting his connections and the team’s culture.
“Let’s just say it’s August before we get back to things. You know, I just felt a proven commodity was worth this.” GM Beane on Diggs trade https://t.co/16olpK7gVU
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) April 2, 2020
“He was one of the guys that we looked at around the trade deadline, so we did some recon there. You know, Terrance Gray was in Minnesota when they drafted him. So Terrance is still very connected there and was around him before coming to Buffalo. There were other, you know, connections from people that coached him in college with people on our staff, so we did do some digging,” said Beane. “And again, this guy’s a super competitive guy and brings an edge to that position. I know diva gets put into that position a lot, I would not call this guy a diva. I would call him more of I think what he was referring to Josh Allen is, as a dog. And, again, I think he will fit in,” he concluded.
Buffalo’s been looking poised for a bright future lately. Stefon Diggs’s addition, plus all the work done this offseason so far by Brandon Beane and his staff, might point to this future being now.