As another busy week draws to a close, let's check in on the latest happenings with the Buffalo Bills, who are well into Phase 2 of their offseason program and, according to one report, doing quite well.
Healthy turnout for OTAs
Sideline reporter Sal Capaccio reported on Wednesday that 75 players have shown up for voluntary workouts, which move to Phase 3 on Monday.
Mandatory minicamp (June 15-17) will wrap up the offseason program, with the players next reporting for training camp the following month.
Here's what's allowed by the NFL in Phase 3, via its website:
"Clubs may conduct in-person meetings and classroom instruction subject to COVID-19 testing cadence, tracking, facility access and other protocols. During Phase Three, teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or “OTAs”. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted."
Not all teams will even feature Phase 3 workouts this year. The Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles already have called them off, which means no practices for either team until training camp. Other teams already have been notified by veteran players that nobody would be participating in any voluntary offseason activities.
So for the Bills to have 75 players in already, things are trending in the right direction.
Don't forget the Bills
Former New York Giants center Shaun O'Hara made sure New York's third (and ostensibly only) NFL team wasn't excluded from the "Feel Good Friday" discussion on the NFL Network's Good Morning Football program, in which the conversation centered mostly around the improvements made by the Jets and the Giants, who train and play in New Jersey.
"I don't want to forget about the other team in New York, the Buffalo Bills," O'Hara said. "The best team in New York and New Jersey for the last couple years has really been the Buffalo Bills. So if you're a Bills fan, if you're Bills Mafia right now, hell yeah, you're waking up on a Friday feeling good, because your 13-3 Buffalo Bills that just happened to get knocked out [of the playoffs] by the Kansas City Chiefs ... they got better this offseason."
He is, of course, correct.
Hard as it may be to believe, the Bills are considered to be in the running for Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who is bound for the Hall of Fame but would like to perhaps win a Super Bowl or two before that happens.
Though highly unlikely, the Bills are one of only 11 teams given odds by BetOnline.ag to trade for the 32-year-old, who is believed to be available.
The Bills not only have two receivers, Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley, coming off All-Pro seasons, but have added accomplished veteran Emmanuel Sanders and remain high on second-year player Gabriel Davis after drafting Marquez Stevenson.
What's more, they have just under $4.2 million in salary cap space, according to the NFLPA's Public Salary Cap Report.
So even though Jones doesn't seem realistic, he's worth mentioning because of the weak link he has to the Bills via Las Vegas.
Josh Allen extension
Probably everyone can agree on the following portion of a report by NFL.com's Marc Sessler on the top remaining offseason priorities for each team.
For the Bills, he believes signing quarterback Josh Allen to a long-term extension should be at the top of the list.
"For the first time since the days of Jim Kelly, the Bills have a franchise passer with the spicy tools to drag Buffalo into glory," he wrote. "A figure of suspicion a year ago, Josh Allen, bloomed as a passer in Year 3, working wonders with a legitimate lead wideout in Stefon Diggs. ... "A bona fide MVP candidate, Allen checks all the boxes for a Buffalo front office likely toiling as you read this on a lucrative new deal for the QB, who has two years remaining (including the fifth-year option) on his rookie contract."
The negotiations will be complicated, however, and because the Bills control his rights for a mimimum of the next three seasons if they choose to use the franchise tag on him in 2023, they won't be rushed into anything that doesn't make sense for them."