The Buffalo Bills have their work cut out for them in the 2017 offseason. With only 44 players signed as of February 8, 2016, that means the team will need to replenish more than half of the roster they take to training camp in late July.
Adding to that overhaul, the Bills have a total of 34 free agents to have to make a decision on in the offseason. There are 23 unrestricted free agents, 8 restricted free agents, and 3 exclusive rights free agents.
Leading up to the start of free agency, 7ABC will take a look at each of the unrestricted and restricted free agents that the Bills will be forced to make a decision on.
Next up, an offensive tackle that started a lot of games over the past two seasons for the Bills
OT Jordan Mills
Age: 26 (turns 27 in December)
2016: 16 games played, 16 starts at right tackle
Career: 55 games played, 50 starts
The case for Jordan Mills
- Due to both injuries and poor play, the Bills turned to Jordan Mills near the end of the 2015 season as the starting right tackle, and kept him in the starting lineup straight through 2016, too. He held on to the job, so there is something to be said for the comfortability that rising young right guard John Miller in playing next to him, which could be a reason to bring him back on a low contract. While he shouldn't be handed the job, they could at least bring him back to compete for the job.
The case against Jordan Mills
- With Mills, he had a strong start to the 2016 season. However, in 2015, and really for the majority of 2016, Mills was consistently one of the players that struggled the most for the Bills on a weekly basis. Heading into 2016, it was thought to be an outright competition for the starting right tackle job. However, Cyrus Koandjio never got comfortable at right tackle and spent most of training camp filling in for the injured Cordy Glenn, while Seantrel Henderson kept trying to battle back from his ongoing bout with Crohn's Disease. Henderson, following his first suspension, even pushed Mills for the job near the middle of the year. The league then suspended him for the second time, and Mills held on to the job the rest of the way unimpeded. The Bills, even with a rookie player, could probably do better at right tackle than the performance they got from Mills.
What should the Bills do?
- I think this one should be pretty easy. Considering his level of performance, a new offensive coordinator and offensive line coach coming in, and perhaps a desire to find players that fit their blocking scheme perfectly, I believe it's best for the Bills to move on from Mills as the starter at right tackle. If they'd like to bring him back to compete to be a depth player on the roster, that isn't out of the question. Former offensive line coach Aaron Kromer trusted Mills quite a bit and turned to him late in 2015. However, if they bring him back with the intention of starting him, I think that would be a mistake because we've seen more than enough evidence over his career to show that a better starter can be found.