Believe in Beane

Brandon Beane
Photo credit Photo: Rich Barnes - USA TODAY Sports

Monday's "legal tampering period" before the start of NFL Free Agency was another example of just how far the Buffalo Bills front office has come over the last three years.

The Bills made two underrated signings in linebacker A.J. Klein and defensive end Mario Addison, but the big story was how the organization was able to pull off a blockbuster trade with the Minnesota Vikings to land a true, No. 1 wide receiver in Stefon Diggs. 

Bills have acquired @stefondiggs in a trade from the Vikings. @NFLonFOX

— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) March 17, 2020

The moves were a reminder that the days of inept regimes taking the likes of C.J. Spiller in the first round, continuously whiffing at the quarterback position and how to build around it, and even being fooled by prank trade calls, are a thing of the past. 

Bills general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott appear to have the organization looking like one of the more well-oiled machines in the NFL. Perhaps even a top team in the AFC next season. 

While that is an exciting thing to ponder, just having this team build and go about business in a way remotely similar to other teams is such a relieving feeling. For so long, it felt like the other 31 teams did things a certain way... and then there was the Bills. 

Now, the vision is much more clear. The goals are far higher. This team is looking to win a championship and they appear to have an idea of how to do it. 

The Bills have made the playoffs in two of the last three years, but both times you could tell something was missing. 

In 2017, it was the lack of a true franchise quarterback. They went out and traded up for Josh Allen in 2018.

In 2019, it was the absence of a true "WR1". They went out and shipped out a first, fourth, fifth, and sixth round draft pick on Monday to find Allen that star pass-catcher in Stefon Diggs.

Beane didn't get complacent. He could've sat on his hands and pointed at the success of John Brown and Cole Beasley in 2019.

He could have also eluded to the fact that he did try to bring a star in last year when the Bills had a deal done for wide receiver Antonio Brown, before Brown likely blocked the move.

Instead, Beane showed that was a sign of things to come. He continued to build around his most vital asset and pulled off the big splash many have been waiting for. 

For a quarterback like Allen, who's biggest ailment coming into the league was accuracy, having such an athletic group of weapons is crucial. The front office knew the best way to build around him was to add speed and elite route running.

The Diggs-Brown-Beasley trio is as explosive, and as good at creating separation as any in the league.

Stefon Diggs' 2019 #ReceptionPerception success rate vs. coverage scores:vs. man: 76.5%vs. zone: 84.3%vs. press: 79.1% (career best)He's now finished above the 93rd percentile against man coverage for three-straight years. He is the best route runner in the NFL.

— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) February 28, 2020

Buffalo just got one of the best route runners in the game -- @stefondiggs @BuffaloBills

— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) March 17, 2020

Deep ball accuracy was an especially big issue with Allen's game last season.

Diggs is ready to help in that area. In 2019, he led the league in deep receiving yards (635) and deep receiving touchdowns (6). 

Beane has built this offense to the point where there really aren't any good excuses anymore for Allen not to take the next step. 

Add a pass-rusher in Addison, who has had at least nine sacks in the last four years, to a defense that was already a top-three unit in 2019?

It is hard not to fall in love with what these Bills are becoming on paper. 

Of course, the key words there are "on paper". There are a lot of teams that look like Super Bowl contenders in March that don't play that way in the fall.

But this feels different.

This isn't like the Cleveland Browns of last year. Or the Philadelphia "Dream Team" Eagles of 2011. This team has already built a winning culture from the general manager, to the coach, to the 53rd man on the roster. 

This feels like the final tune-up to something bigger.

If you aren't on board already, it might be time to believe in Beane.