They might not have "won the offseason," but the Buffalo Bills didn't fail, either.
Two of the biggest national outlets in the country covering the NFL, ESPN and Sports Illustrated's MMQB, differed on just how good Buffalo's offseason was. ESPN was more favorable, giving the team a B+. Writer Mike Sando compiled a grade for each team after interviewing 15 NFL executives, coaches and evaluators.
"The best decision they made was bringing back Tyrod," Taylor one of the executives told Sando. "Losing [Mike] Gillislee does hurt a little bit. LeSean McCoy had a great year, but it would have been nice to give him more of a breather once in a while, and that becomes harder. Their draft was solid. [Tre'Davious] White, [Zay] Jones and [Dion] Dawkins, everyone agrees they will be pretty good players. Getting [Nathan] Peterman in the fifth was pretty good value. That made sense to me."
Sando goes on to somewhat question the investment the Bills made in safety Micah Hyde, pointing out they "spent heavily ... heading into a draft that was packed with talent at the safety position."
Jenny Vrentas handled the grading for MMQB, and wasn't as kind, giving the team a C+. In a more comprehensive review of the offseason, Vrentas starts with the "One Voice" approach the Bills implemented upon hiring coach Sean McDermott.
"The one-voice approach is the Bills’ best chance of ending the 17-year playoff drought that hangs over everything they do," she wrote. "The club handled the transition somewhat awkwardly, allowing Doug Whaley to silently remain in the GM seat through the draft, while it was clear that McDermott was the one running the show. But ultimately, they got this part right — starting fresh with a new coach and GM who are on the same timetable and have an established working relationship."
Vrentas also recaps the dysfunction between the front office and two previous coaching staffs, the decision to bring Taylor back at quarterback and the roster turnover that has taken place since McDermott took over.
"The amount of authority the Bills have given a first-time head coach has raised some eyebrows. But the message has come through loud and clear: Everyone will be on the same page moving forward, and the page will be that of Sean McDermott," she concludes.