Left guard Quintin Spain is the one wild card. Spain is set to become a free agent after starting every game last season. His combination of nastiness and smarts were a big reason the team improved up front. The Bills have loads of cap space so they’ll have every opportunity to retain Spain.
If Spain walks, the Bills have the cap space to spend on an upgrade.
Brandon Scherff is one of the best guards in the NFL and will get paid like it this offseason. The 28-year-old has spent his entire career playing in Washington and would likely welcome a chance to play for a winning team. Scherff is a Pro Bowl right guard so if the Bills went this direction they could move Jon Feliciano over to left guard. The price tag for Scherff will be somewhere around $15 million per year and that’s probably a little too hefty for Buffalo. The Redskins could also choose to franchise tag Scherff.
New England’s Joe Thuney is the other elite guard who is heading toward free agency. He is 27, he’s a two-time Super Bowl champ, and has never missed a game, that adds up to a huge contract. If the Bills decide to spend big on a free agent guard, I prefer giving Thuney the money. There’s an added bonus that comes with taking away an extremely talented player from a division rival. Thuney, unlike Scherff, plays left guard so he could slide into Spain’s vacancy without disrupting the continuity of the rest of the line.
The Bills could also opt to add a guard in the mid-rounds of the draft as a possible replacement for Spain. Here are two players that seem to fit nicely.
Clemson’s John Simpson is a prospect who could pique the Bills interest on draft day. During his junior season, Simpson only allowed 8 pressures on over 400 pass attempts. The All-American is projected to be a 3rd or 4th round pick.
Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane value experience and Jonah Jackson has a ton. The guard from Ohio State played more than 900 snaps at left guard in 2019 and helped anchor one of the top offensive lines in the country. The graduate transfer was a senior captain for Rutgers and also played right guard. Experience and versatility, two of McDermott’s favorite traits. Jackson is projected to be a day 3 pick.
Will Cody Ford play guard or tackle? That’s really the only other question surrounding the offensive line. After the season, GM Brandon Beane was non-committal about Ford’s position next season but the decision could come down to who the team can add in free agency or the draft.