Both GM Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott made it clear at the close of the 2018 season that they were going to seek to make improvements on Buffalo’s offensive line. On Tuesday, Buffalo took a first step in accomplishing that signing free agent offensive lineman Spencer Long to a three-year contract Tuesday, a week after he was released by the New York Jets.
Long, a former third-round pick by Washington in 2014, has experience at both guard and center. The 6-5, 318-pound lineman has 44 starts in his 53-game career.
The Nebraska product signed a four-year free agent deal with the Jets last offseason. He started 13 games at center for New York, until a lingering finger injury kept him out of the team’s last three games of the 2018 season.
With a new coaching staff in New York, Long, 28, was released in a cost-savings maneuver by the Bills division rival.
With three of the players who were part of the starting five at the close of last season being free agents, a measure of change was anticipated for the Bills offensive line.
“Sometimes our O-line was out of sync for various reasons,” said Beane in his season-ending press conference. “It wasn’t always like one guy or one side of the ball. I just never felt our run game for the most part got into a consistent groove and that’s something we have to be honest about as we make changes going forward this offseason.”
For the second straight offseason the Bills got an early start in free agency signing a veteran player who was released by another NFL club. Last offseason, Buffalo also made a notable free agent signing of a veteran player, who was released by Jacksonville prior to free agency in RB Chris Ivory.
“We want to fill holes in free agency,” said Beane. “I’ve said it before. You use free agency to help you so you’re not going to draft in April with all these holes and you’re drafting for need. I promise you drafting for need is a mistake that can set franchises back, and I’m not going to do that as long as I’m in charge here.”