Why Buffalo Bills Fans Should Be Worried About the Future
The Buffalo Bills had a magical 2020 season. They went 13-3 and won the AFC East for the first time in 25 years. They also made it to the AFC Championship game for the first time since 1993 and it was the third year in four the team made the postseason.
2021 has been more of an up-and-down season, which might be a surprise for most Bills fans, who had Super Bowl aspirations.
While the Bills still have the last playoff seed in the AFC, as it stands today, they have not had the type of success they had a year ago. A major reason is the inability to close out close games, as the Bills are 0-5 in one-score games this season.
Could the Bills be in trouble for beyond this season? They very well could be, and no, it's not because of quarterback Josh Allen, who has solidified himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
The reason is how this roster is constructed.
General manager Brandon Beane built this roster to win now; which is perfectly fine, assuming your team wins it all, or at least gets to the Super Bowl. That's hard to see at 7-6, although the Bills still are favorites to make the playoffs.
The Bills have eight prominent starters who are 29 years old or older; most notably, starting safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, who both will be 31 next season.
Wide receiver Cole Beasley will be 33 next season. Defensive tackle Star Lotulelei will be 32 and edge rusher Jerry Hughes will be 34. Starting center Mitch Morse will be 30 and free agent pickup Emmanuel Sanders will be 35 and certainly retirement will be at least in the discussion, if he doesn't return to the Bills.
Even special team players like Taiwan Jones and Tyler Matakavich are 28 years old or older, and while that's not exactly "old", in the NFL, it gets more difficult to play at a higher level for those over the age of 30.
This roster is clearly a win-now one. Who takes over for Hyde and Poyer when they leave? Who will be the long-term answer at wide receiver when Beasley and Sanders leave? It could very well be Gabriel Davis, but with how much the Bills like to pass the ball, they would need more weapons at that position.
Then there's the offensive line, which has by far been the weakest point of this roster all season. They do not have the depth, plain and simple. If someone like Dion Dawkins, Mitch Morse or Spencer Brown gets hurt, the shuffling happens and that's when trouble starts. They're also not good at run blocking, which is compounded by a less than stellar running back tandem of Devin Singletary and Zack Moss.
The Bills have to address the present and future in the offseason. The offensive line has to be upgraded, in both free agency and the draft. They also need more young weapons at wide receiver and running back. They need to start thinking about who takes over permanently for players like Beasley, Sanders, Hyde, Poyer, Feliciano, Morse, Lotulelei and Hughes.
They have Josh Allen. They have Stefon Diggs. They have Matt Milano. They have Tre'Davious White. But they need better short-term and long-term to stay a consistent winner in the AFC.
The 2022 off-season is a very important one for Beane.