The off-season thus far has not been kind to the Buffalo Bills defensive secondary. For a team that at times struggled on defense last season this only adds to their detriment. The team has experienced losses at both the linebacker and cornerback positions. Fortunately, Buffalo has been busy making acquisitions and trying to fill some of the voids. During an era of free agency there tends to be parity among most teams, and faces in the locker room change every year. The Bills are no exception. From head coach Sean McDermott to the very depths of the roster, things will be different this year in Buffalo. Ahead is a look at how the Bills defensive secondary has already changed this off-season.
Breaking Down the Buffalo Bills Linebacker and Secondary Changes
The Buffalo Bills did manage to keep one bright spot on the defense from leaving this off-season. Lorenzo Alexander decided to return to the Bills on a one-year, $3.1 million contract. Buffalo has let go of “Rex Ryan guys” IK Enemkpali and Brandon Spikes. It is likely that Spikes and Enemkpali were not a fit for McDermott’s defensive system. Zach Brown is still courting potential candidates, including the Bills. In fact, Brown did have an official visit with Buffalo but left the facility without signing a deal. It is unclear what Brown’s intentions are, but it’s likely he will land with whoever offers him the most money. Brown’s current market value is around $4.5 million. Reggie Ragland should be ready to play this season after last years knee injury in training camp. Ragland and a health Shaq Lawson will be a significant boost to Buffalo’s defensive potential.
The Buffalo Bills suffered their biggest defensive secondary loss to the New England Patriots. One of the many losses they have suffered at the hands of Bill Belichick, on and off the field. The Patriots signed free agent cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a five-year, $65 million contract, with $40 million guaranteed. Gilmore will be a better fit for the Patriots then he will for the Bills this coming season. Buffalo is going to run more of a zone coverage under its new coaching staff, where as Gilmore tends to shine in man-to-man situations. This will give a big opportunity to Kevon Seymour to step up and earn a starting role. The Bills also decided to let go of safety Aaron Williams, who may be forced to retire due to neck injuries. To fill this opening the Bills signed safeties Micah Hyde form the Green Bay Packers, and Jordan Poyer from the Cleveland Browns. Hyde was a former team captain in Green Bay and will become a leader in the Bills locker room.
A Season of Change
The 2017 season will prove to be a season of change for the Buffalo Bills. Sean McDermott is certain to bring a change in Buffalo’s culture and philosophy. The defensive scheme will also be included in this change. Many of the players remaining on the roster from the past few season will surely welcome it. New leadership and new faces in the locker room will be a breathe of fresh air to Buffalo veterans like Kyle Williams. Hopefully the Bills re-vamped secondary can come together quickly and help the defense return to top five status this season.