Bills: Free Agent Options at WR

Don't expect the Bills to break the bank on a free agent wide receiver or two. That said, the team should look to add one or two wide receivers to add depth to their roster. Here are some options the Bills could pursue.

Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods combined to catch 130 passes for 1,681 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Buffalo Bills in 2014. Watkins, 21, and Woods, 22, are a young duo who will only get better with time, but the rest of the depth chart is shaky. Chris Hogan will likely return to the roster, but there aren’t any proven options on the roster besides these three players. Buffalo is lacking depth and a veteran presence. While some major names could hit the market, the Bills realistically won’t pursue any receiver that will break the bank. Here are some realistic options for the team.  

Top Options

Torrey Smith

Smith is a borderline option. It’ll all depend upon on the market for the receiver. Realistically, Smith will probably get overpaid in free agency. That said, if Smith isn’t heavily pursued, he’d certainly be a top option for Buffalo. Smith can play on the outside and a trio of Smith, Watkins and Woods would give opposing teams nightmares. Smith is a big play threat that teams respect, so they’d have to pick their poison with how they’d cover Smith and Watkins on the outside. Woods in the slot would also lead to matchups that favor Buffalo’s offense.

Smith had a down year in terms of yards (767) but was pretty consistent with his receptions (49). Smith did set a career high in touchdowns this season with 11. Realistically, Smith should have plenty of suitors but there are a lot of big name receivers who could hit the market this season and hurt Smith’s value. This year’s draft class is also once again loaded with talented wide outs, which could work against free agents.

Cecil Shorts III

Shorts is probably the top receiving candidate available for the Bills. He’s still considerably young at 27 years old and is a productive receiver. Shorts is coming off of a season where he caught 53 passes for 557 yards and a touchdown in 13 games. Shorts battled a hamstring throughout the season. In 2012 and 2013, Shorts played a total of 27 games and caught 121 passes for 1,756 yards and 10 touchdowns. Shorts’ ability to play on the outside will be very appealing to the Bills.

Kenny Britt

Britt visited the Bills in 2014 before signing with the St. Louis Rams. With St. Louis, Britt revived his career by catching 48 passes for 748 yards and three touchdowns. Britt will turn 27 in September and stayed out of trouble this season. The receiver is talented but has only played a full 16 game season twice. Britt’s size (6’3”) will make him appealing to Buffalo. The team would like to add a big wide receiver on the outside and Britt certainly fits the bill. Britt would be an affordable option as he’s coming off of a one-year, $1.4 million contract.

Secondary Options

Eddie Royal

Royal is best in the slot, which would keep Woods on the outside. The receiver will turn 29 this season and is a strong run blocker. Royal is coming off of two terrific seasons with the San Diego Chargers. He’s caught 109 passes in the last two seasons for 1,409 yards and 15 touchdowns. Obviously, having a quarterback like Philip Rivers helps, but Royal would be a solid free agent addition for Buffalo.

Nate Washington

Washington wouldn’t excite many Bills fans, but he’s a steady veteran presence. The wide receiver would come at a price close to the veteran’s minimum and could compete with Hogan for the fourth wide receiver spot. Over the last four seasons, Washington has averaged 54.5 receptions and 834 yards. Washington is also a decent blocker, which would help in an offense that plans on running early and often.

Miles Austin

In 12 games, Austin caught 47 passes for 568 yards and two touchdowns with the Browns. Austin played on the outside in Cleveland and served as a possession receiver. He seemed to be coming on in his last two weeks of the season when he caught 13 passes for 150 yards. Austin missed the last four weeks of the season after suffering a kidney injury against Buffalo. Austin wouldn’t break the bank in free agency and could play some time on the outside, which would allow Woods to run out of the slot at times.

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