Bills Free Agent Shopping: AFC North Edition

Buffalo is looking to upgrade their roster on the offensive side of the ball and there are a few options the Bills could pursue from the AFC North. If Jerry Hughes leaves in free agency, there's also a possible replacement for him in Cleveland. Here are five free agents the Bills could pursue from the AFC North.

The Buffalo Bills need to address both sides of the ball in free agency to a certain extent. Looking at the free agents in the AFC North, the Bills could address a few offensive positions while possibly looking at an option to replace Jerry Hughes. Here’s a look at five AFC North free agents the Bills could pursue.

5. Miles Austin

Austin is far from an exciting free agent addition, but the team needs to add depth at wide receiver. Currently, the Bills only have three proven entities: Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Chris Hogan. There’s no doubt that the Bills are looking to add another receiver as Adam Schefter mentioned that Buffalo had discussions about trading for wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Austin had a productive season with the Cleveland Browns in 2014. In 12 games, Austin caught 47 passes for 568 yards and two touchdowns. It was a nice bounce back season for the wide receiver after a disappointing 2013 in Dallas. Austin would be relatively cheap and could compete for a spot in Buffalo’s wide receiver rotation. On the field, Austin can play on the outside, which would allow Robert Woods to play in the slot.

4. Jabaal Sheard

Sheard is the only defensive player to make the list, but he’d be a decent option to replace Jerry Hughes. While Hughes’ exit is far from definite, Buffalo needs to weigh their options. Sheard is actually coming off of a disappointing season where he had a career low in sacks (2) and only 44 total tackles. That said, in his four year career, Sheard has 23 sacks, good for 9th all-time on the Browns. He has shown the ability to get to the quarterback in his career and his supporting cast in Buffalo would be a significant upgrade.

3. Jermaine Gresham

It’s believed that the Bills are going to pursue a tight end in free agency or the draft. Gresham isn’t the biggest name available, but he’s Mr. Consistent. Gresham has averaged 56 catches and slightly over 544 yards in his five year career. The Bills would welcome the production that Gresham would bring alongside Scott Chandler. Gresham is also an underrated blocker, a skill that would endear him to Greg Roman.

2. Jordan Cameron

Cameron doesn’t have the steady production of Gresham, but he has the higher ceiling. In 2013, Cameron broke out with 80 receptions for 917 yards and seven touchdowns. This season, Cameron missed time and only played in 10 games. He didn’t come close to matching his 2013 production, finishing with 24 receptions for 424 yards and two touchdowns. That said, Cameron averaged 17.7 yards per reception in 2014, a career high. The biggest red flag with Cameron is that he has a history of concussions. He missed five games in 2013 with a concussion and suffered at least two others in his career. Buffalo and any other team pursuing him will have to protect themselves with the contract that he’s offered. One more serious concussion could keep Cameron out long-term. Cameron should have plenty of suitors in free agency, but teams may hesitate to offer him big money.

1. Clint Boling

Mike Iupati and Orlando Franklin may be better guards in terms of road-graders, but Boling may be the best all-around offensive guard. He’s strong in run and pass blocking, something the Bills have lacked consistently at guard. He should also come cheaper than Iupati and Franklin, which would be appealing to the Bills since their cap space is somewhat limited based upon all of the upgrades they hope to make this offseason. Keep an eye on Boling and the Bills in free agency.

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