Given how far Josh Allen has progressed since his rookie season, the Bills can claim now without argument that they have an elite quarterback with which they believe they can win. They already proved it to an extent with a pair of playoff victories this season.
Still, an even better one in Deshaun Watson could be landing in the AFC East as a trade target of the Dolphins, Jets and Patriots.
Or maybe even ... the Bills?
We'll get back to that thought in a minute. But for now, here's the latest installment in a series of detailed looks at each position group and an attempt to project the changes that are in store for 2021.
His breakout 2020 season set all kinds of Bills single-season records, such as 4,544 passing yards, 37 TD passes and 45 total TDs. The Bills had the highest-scoring offense in the AFC because of it.
The first of their two 2018 first-round draft picks has one year and a club option for 2022 remaining on his rookie deal, but is eligible for an extension now that he's completed his third season.
Here are some options:
*Extend him as soon as possible to avoid probable rising costs for franchise QBs and be able to better maneuver the limitations the lowered 2021 cap will present by backloading the deal and getting immediate relief.
*Wait to see how 2021 and maybe even 2022 play out by exercising his fifth-year option. The franchise-tag option would then remain in play for 2023 if no new agreement is reached. Three seasons is an eternity in the NFL.
*Trade him to the Houston Texans for the disgruntled Watson.
At least think about it, Fox sports personality Nick Wright suggested on Friday.
"Bills fans, be honest," he said during an appearance on colleague Colin Cowherd's daily TV show, The Herd. "If the Houston Texans called up and said they would like to trade Deshaun Watson for Josh Allen, you are doing that in a heartbeat."
To be fair, he said the same of just about every other team in the NFL not named the Kansas City Chiefs.
"Is there any one team in the league that if the Texans called and said `We wanna trade you Deshaun Watson,' they don’t at least have a long meeting about it if not immediately say `Yes?'... At worst he’s the fourth-best quarterback in football behind Mahomes, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers.
"The Chiefs are the only team who hangs up the phone.”
In the Bills' case, they might want to listen if only to keep Watson from going to a division rival.
The problem is money. The 2017 first-round pick has already signed a massive extension that will call for nearly a $16 million cap hit in 2021 and $40.4 million in 2022.
That's opposed to Allen's cap hits of $6.9 million in 2021 and the average of what the top 10 quarterbacks of the league will be due to make in 2022 if they pick up his option.
Both figures project to be significantly lower than what Watson would cost, which means the Bills almost certainly wouldn't be able to pull it off unless they let so many other good players go that they create the same talent vacuum that has Watson plotting his escape from Houston.
So while they would have to consider it, it's too big a gamble and too much of a price to pay to upgrade a position in which they already have a proven winner.
Don't look for the Bills to shock the world by trading for Watson. But also don't look for them to necessarily be in any hurry to lock Allen in for another four or five years.
Barkley has been a low-cost backup for the last three seasons but is headed for unrestricted free agency, where he could command more than the $1.5 million base salary he received in 2020.
Because of the Bills' poor cap health heading into 2021, they don't seem like they're in a position to be able to keep him around, especially because they just drafted Jake Fromm last spring, and he's locked in at a much cheaper price.
Drafted in the fifth round, Fromm was almost immediately cast as the team's quarantine quarterback. It meant he had to do more than just the social distancing of six feet. He would be further away than anyone else during meetings and walk-throughs and would practice, away from the rest of the team.
If there are players in the weight room, he'd have to wait until everyone cleared out so he could go in.
Call him an outcast by COVID design.
Weird way to spend his first season, but he made the sacrifice and could be rewarded in Year 2.
A former third-round of the Giants in 2017, the journeyman has spent time with all three teams based in the state of New York. He spent all of 2020 on the Bills' practice squad as the de facto No. 3 option.
Could he find a more stable situation in Buffalo?
Well, he's signed to a futures contract for 2021, so we'll see.
But there's a very good chance that the Bills will not come back with the same quarterback tandem in 2021 as they had in 2020.