Although most rosters around the league are nearly filled out with the completion of the draft, there are still plenty of intriguing free agents that have gone unsigned this offseason, particularly several top-end veterans. And while the Bills did draft two pass catchers in the later rounds, that position is still Buffalo’s biggest need as voluntary offseason workouts are in full swing. Here’s a short list of players the Bills would be wise to at least take a look at:
Dez Bryant: When Bryant was first released by the Cowboys a few weeks ago, I was firmly against the Bills making a run at him. However, with each passing day and his price tag dropping, I’m moving toward the belief that Bryant is a suitable option. He has struggled in recent years and has seemingly been phased out a bit in Dallas’s offense, but if he’s signed by the Bills, he immediately becomes the best available target for whoever starts at QB. While his off-the-field antics and personality can be debated, Bryant has 73 career touchdowns and 7,459 yards that can’t be taken away from him. The Bills simply have too many question marks at that position, and although they may want to develop some of the younger players with a new offensive coordinator, they also should look for a veteran option.
Eric Decker or Jeremy Maclin: Both of these guys have been number one receivers at one point or another in their careers. And although they are getting old for NFL standards, (Decker 31, Maclin 29), the Bills could easily nab one of the two for a cheap, short-term contract. Maclin visited with the Bills last year, and it seemed like a deal was imminent until he signed with Baltimore. That may turn Sean McDermott and Beane off from trying it again, but if not, Maclin could fit in nicely with the Bills. He’s been on plenty of winning teams, still has speed, and has a knack of finding his way into the end zone. Decker, meanwhile, may have slightly more question marks. After several stellar years with the Broncos and Jets, he missed nearly all of 2016 with an injury and responded with just 593 yards and a single touchdown last year. He torched the Bills in several games back when he played with the Jets and has big-play abilities that were on full display in those games.
Michael Floyd: Floyd is possibly the most interesting name on my short list here. The 28-year-old found a nice groove as Arizona’s number two target behind Larry Fitzgerald for several seasons, and even had over 1,000 yards in 2013. However, he was cut by the Cardinals after a DWI arrest, and his career hasn’t been the same since. We’ve seen McDermott relax on players having perfect backgrounds with some of his recent signings, so Floyd’s arrest may not immediately disqualify him. That being said, 10 catches for 78 yards last season with the Vikings isn’t exactly making the team run toward Floyd.
The best of the rest: Names such as Brandon Marshall, Kamar Aiken and Dontrelle Inman also remain on the free agent board. The question with these three guys is if they are really better than Buffalo’s current options. At the very least, however, Aiken or Inman could make a nice training camp body that pushes some of Buffalo’s other wideouts for roster spots. It’d be a long shot to see the Bills take a run at Marshall, but if injuries strike and he’s still available, all bets are off.
Unlike other position groups, the free agency class of wide receivers still has some life and some talent in it. Though the Bills currently have 11 wideouts under contract, none of them is going to scare opposing secondaries outside of Kelvin Benjamin. It was evident what having a lack of pass catchers can do to an offense last season, and I doubt the Bills want to repeat that under a new system and offensive coordinator. By training camp, I expect one of these free agents to be a member of the Bills.