The Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl 56 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in the history books. But this is the NFL. It might not be a year-long game on the field, but off the field it is.
Up next? Free agency.
This will give the Buffalo Bills their first opportunity to put their roster over the edge and hopefully into a Super Bowl berth in 2022. ESPN has suggested what one of Buffalo’s first moves to do this could be.
The Bills finished the 2021 NFL season as the league’s No. 1 overall defense in terms of yards allowed per game (272.8) and scoring (17.0). A bit factor attributing to that was their top-ranked pass defense (163.0 YPG).
So they should target Green Bay Packers cornerback Rasul Douglas in free agency? Actually, the former world-wide leader makes a good case.
First, analysts Jeremy Fowler and Matt Bowen explain:
Why it makes sense: The Packers would love to keep Douglas but won’t be inclined to throw him real money. That’s a problem for a player with five interceptions on the season. Meanwhile, Buffalo could use a capable zone corner with splash-play ability. — Fowler
Scheme fit: Douglas is a long leverage corner with good top-end speed and playmaking traits. We saw that on his 2021 tape in Green Bay. In Buffalo, he fits in the Bills’ split-safety coverages opposite of Tre’Davious White. — Bowen
While Douglas might make some deeper sense for the Bills as explained, there are huge surface-level reasons why Buffalo could target a corner. The quick explanation is White and Levi Wallace.
Douglas could match White’s traits in a paring, however, White might not even be fully ready by opening day. He’s slated to return from a serious knee injury and may not be 100 percent by September. Such injuries can sometimes take two seasons to fully heal and allow an All-Pro player like White to get back to his form.
In addition, Wallace is a pending free agent. If he’s not back, the No. 2 cornerback spot is an important hole that needs filling in Buffalo.
Dane Jackson did preform well when White left the lineup, however, there’s little reason to hand such a huge spot to a young player when an addition is possible.
Considering the Bills’ recent successes and his scheme fit, what such a deal with Douglas might come down to is dollars.
The Bills are currently slightly over the salary cap and must find space before free agency begins in mid-March before they can do anything.
Spotrac also suggests Buffalo may need to do more than simply get in the green to sign Douglas. Per their estimations, the 26-year-old could make up to $9.2 million per year in his next contract.
That’s a hefty tab, but Douglas would certainly be a talented piece to add to an already skilled secondary.
Pro Football Focus graded him as the 16th best cornerback in the NFL last season. This same article from ESPN also named Douglas as the 35th-best pending free agent in the NFL this coming spring, regardless of position.