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Buffalo Bills early offseason recap

By Paul Cifonelli – Sports Editor

The Buffalo Bills, headed by general manager Brandon Beane, entered the 2020 offseason with a few clear needs. If the Bills wanted to become the AFC East favorites, they would need to upgrade their wide receiver corps and get additional depth on the defensive line. Buffalo did just that and now appears to be in position to win its first division title since 1995.

The biggest move of the offseason to this point was not a free agent signing but a trade. Buffalo acquired wide receiver Stefon Diggs and a seventh-round pick in this year’s draft from the Minnesota Vikings. According to, the Bills sent their first-round, fifth-round and sixth-round picks from this year to Minnesota, as well as next year’s fourth-round pick.

Diggs instantly gives the Bills offense a top-flight receiver who has had back-to-back 1,000-receiving yard seasons, according to He projects to fit in as an outside receiver opposite John Brown, which will allow Cole Beasley to move into the slot.

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs celebrates a touchdown against the Washington Redskins. Diggs is the Buffalo Bills’ most high-profile addition this offseason. (Photo credit: Google Images)

Buffalo swung this blockbuster to get its clear-cut number one receiver the same day wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was dealt to the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals were praised for this trade, as they got Hopkins, a top-tier wide receiver, for an oft-injured running back and a second-round pick. Buffalo’s deal for Diggs, a lesser player than Hopkins, is an overpay when comparing the two but is very fair based on the typical returns for high-level wide receivers.

While Diggs was the only addition made to the receiving corps, Buffalo made multiple additions to its defensive line. Edge rusher Mario Addison was the biggest name signed to upgrade Buffalo’s defensive front. He comes in from the Carolina Panthers after signing a 3-year, $30.45 million deal, according to Only $13.25 million of the deal is guaranteed.

Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Ed Oliver (#91) celebrates in a game against the Miami Dolphins in 2019. (Photo credit: Michael Reaves/ Getty Images)

Addison has been a consistent pass rusher for the Panthers, recording at least nine sacks in each of the past four seasons. His best mark during that time was 11 during the 2017 season. Addison will team up with defensive ends Jerry Hughes and Trent Murphy and defensive tackles Star Lotulelei, Ed Oliver and Harrison Phillips to form one of the top pass rushing units in the NFL.

The Bills also signed defensive tackle Vernon Butler and defensive end Quinton Jefferson. Butler also comes from the Panthers and notched six sacks last year. Jefferson had played for the Seattle Seahawks his entire career and recorded 6.5 sacks over the past two seasons.

Buffalo’s other big addition was cornerback Josh Norman. Norman was an All-Pro for the Panthers in 2015 but did not find the same success after changing teams the following offseason. As a member of the Washington Redskins, Norman only recorded seven interceptions but defended 43 passes. Norman makes the move to Buffalo after signing a one-year, $6 million contract. If he activates all of his incentives, he can earn $8 million, according to

Norman’s addition gives the Bills an obvious cornerback to play opposite Tre’Davious White. White established himself as a top cornerback in the NFL last season and, when combined with safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde, leads one of the top young defensive backfields. Norman gives that group a veteran leader and potentially another top player.

Those additions, combined with quarterback Tom Brady’s decision to leave the New England Patriots, have made the Bills a popular pick to win the AFC East in the 2020-21 season. The Patriots still have the best odds to win the division, according to However, the departure of Brady and multiple defensive players from New England leaves the defending division champs with plenty of uncertainty entering the new season.

Buffalo still has the 2020 NFL Draft to make significant upgrades. While the team no longer owns the rights to its first-round pick thanks to the Diggs trade, the Bills have set themselves up for a successful 2020-21 season.

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