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BUFFALO, N.Y.. – Brandon Beane made no bones about it during his end-of-season press conference in January, especially when it came to the Buffalo Bills’ details.
The general manager just saw his Bills defense burn the NFL’s best end for the second time in the 2020 season, and he admitted that no player on his team can compare to Kansas City’s Travis Kelce. The combination of Tyler Croft, Lee Smith and third-round pick Dawson Knox resulted in 442 yards and eight touchdowns for the 2020 season, which should convince Beane to improve this offseason.
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“We never got the job,” Beane said. “Toward the end of the year, I thought we got some done, Dawson started getting his groove on. But it was never the position where the defenders thought, ‘Dude, you’ve got to prevent their tight ends from getting airborne.’ So we’re going to take care of this group.
“At the end of the day, we want a guy like the one we just met in Kansas City to rarely come by. But that’s what we want. We have guys here who want to grow and see what happens. If there’s an opportunity to add competition, whether it’s through free agency or through the draft, obviously we’ll do that.
To be fair, Buffalo suffered setbacks last season.
Knox, 24, came into the season after a promising rookie campaign in which he lost 20 percent of his passes in the league, but he showed a talent for playmaking that prompted Beane to trade him in 2019. Although his passing percentage dropped significantly, Knox missed four games in 2020 due to a calf injury and COVID-19, making it difficult for him to find his rhythm.
Kroft, on the other hand, was placed on the reserve list/COVID-19 twice, once as a close contact and once after registering a positive test. He played ten games, but was a good help when all the Bills’ weaknesses were healthy.
Beane mentioned the addition of competition in the offseason, and there are several options.
Buffalo should keep an eye on a few notable veterans this season, starting with Jonnu Smith, who essentially matched the Bills’ tight end single last season (he had 41 catches, 448 yards and eight touchdowns). According to Spotrac, Smith’s market value is $8 million per year, which means a higher price for the Buffaloes this season. Since the NFL’s salary cap will be at least $180 million, accounts could range from $1 million above the cap to about $4 million below it, as some decisions are made by their own agents. Buffalo’s amount to Smith could depend on how he plans to improve his position.
Fault. specified.Tiper Croft had 12 receptions for 119 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games during the 2020 season. Brian M. Bennett/Getty Images
Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz would be commercially available, reports ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Perhaps as the 2020 season approaches, the Bills should look for a player who has put up 700 or more receiving yards in six consecutive seasons.
Bills could also look to the bill to improve their flexibility. The gem in the 2021 class is Florida’s Kyle Pitts, but with the number 30 pick, it is highly unlikely that the Bills will trade him for the Tighter, who should be a top 10 pick.
ESPN Project Analyst Mel Kiper Jr. suggested several options for Buffalo later in the project, and suggested Penn State’s Pat Fryermuth as a possible second-round pick. The 6-foot, 90-pound tight end could have an immediate impact on the Bills’ passing offense if they decide to put No. 61 on it. Kiper also lists Boston College’s Hunter as a third-round option, as well as Georgia’s Kenny Yeboah Tre’ McKitty or Mississippi’s Kenny Yeboah as fifth-round options.
Whatever path Beane decides to take, expect the Bills’ tight end to look a little different at the end of training camp.
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