Josh Allen [608x342]
Josh Allen [608x342] (Credit: Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Trout caught looking by Kimbrel with bases loaded for final out as Orioles beat slumping Angels 4-2

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The work to create the 2024 Buffalo Bills roster continues after a busy March, with the draft now just weeks away. Here's a look at the latest updates:

1. Tre'Davius White's departure: Coach Sean McDermott said at last week's owners meetings that moving on from cornerback Tre'Davious White was "tragic in some ways," due to the major injuries that White faced during his time with Buffalo, including tearing his left ACL on Thanksgiving in 2021 and tearing his right Achilles during a Week 4 win vs. the Miami Dolphins in 2023.

McDermott described it as emotional when talking about releasing White, who has been a key member of the defense during McDermott's time in Buffalo. The 2017 first-round pick was McDermott's first draft pick as head coach.

"Eventually it's going to come just because of the lifespan of an NFL player. But it came way too early in my mind, right, and I'm sure in his mind as well," McDermott said. "Had not the injuries occurred, who knows where his time in Buffalo would have taken him and us. I think he's one of the best defensive backs to ever play in Buffalo -- I really believe that. He's all class all the time and he works his tail off. And he's one of the best human beings I know."

White signed with the Los Angeles Rams last week and is now set to face his former team this season.

General manager Brandon Beane said that he and White talked about what may happen this offseason even before the Senior Bowl, and that White just wanted clarity in what would take place.

"I was very transparent with him and his agent throughout the process, whether that was a pay reduction or release or something, if we're gonna have to alter it," Beane said.

The decision to designate White as a post-June 1 release will create $10.2 million in cap space beginning in June. If his designated release date were in March, the team could have received cap help sooner, but a larger cap saving was prioritized.

Beane estimated last Sunday that the Bills have in the range of $6-7 million in cap space.

2. Samuel's role: Signing wide receiver Curtis Samuel to a three-year deal was the biggest addition the team made in free agency. Beane and McDermott expect him to be used in a variety of ways, and that's part of what excites the Bills about this signing.

Beane was the assistant general manager of the Carolina Panthers when Samuel was drafted in the second round of the 2017 draft out of Ohio State. Beane recalled the time spent with Samuel, who he called "a unique player" during the draft process, and how Samuel was able to split his time between the receivers and running backs' rooms in college.

"What gave me confidence to bring him here was talking to [offensive coordinator] Joe Brady. And he had his best year with Joe [in 2020 with the Panthers]," Beane said. "So, we see him as a guy that, yes, can line up in the backfield, can line up at receiver, gadgets, he could be a returner for us. He can stretch the field vertically. Not in a traditional, just line up at wide receiver or line up in the slot. We think he'll play outside, inside, backfield, just give Joe a lot of versatile ways to use him, really."

When speaking about Samuel, 27, McDermott noted his speed multiple times, something that Buffalo has been open to adding to the receiver room.

On Samuel's end, he noted in a virtual press conference after he signed that his experience with Brady on the Panthers was a significant influence, but he also had a relatively straightforward explanation for coming to Buffalo.

"I mean, you've seen the team. You see how good they are. You know, why not? That's the question, why not come here?"

3. Comp pick update: The Bills expected a third-round compensatory draft pick for the departure of linebacker Tremaine Edmunds in free agency -- among the rest of the acquisitions and free agent departures that are part of the league's formula for compensatory picks -- but the team was awarded a fourth-round compensatory pick instead.

Buffalo currently has 11 draft picks, tied for the most of any team, but does not have a selection in the third round, so moving to the end of the fourth round -- No. 133 -- is a significant step back.

Beane shared that the San Francisco 49ers experienced a similar problem, and that despite the teams going to the league with the concerns, the NFL did not change its decision. A change was made to award the Cincinnati Bengals with an additional pick, but that was due to a different issue.

"It did surprise me. I think us and San Francisco, we got a raw deal," Beane said. "It's with all the conversions, the voids and things like that, numbers that aren't really numbers -- San Francisco gave an example of one of their players who was around a 17 [average per year] was being counted as a 26 APY -- by the way they did the void with higher cap numbers at the end... It was a major blow because we had planned for it and San Fran felt the same way."

The general manager said that he thinks the league will "alter how they're doing that going forward," but that won't help Buffalo for this year.

4. Latest on Von Miller: Pass-rusher Von Miller continues to be investigated for an alleged assault from November, with no changes in the case, per the Dallas County District Attorney's Office. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said during a press conference last week that he did consider putting Miller on the Commissioner's Exempt list, but did not feel it would be "appropriate at that time based on all the facts."

Neither Beane nor Goodell had any update on the investigation.

5. Defensive playcalling: McDermott has not yet reached a decision on whether he or first-time defensive coordinator Bobby Babich will call the defensive plays this season.

"Bobby's done a phenomenal job, he's a go-getter and that was part of the reason for the hire and I'm able to oversee it from a 10,000 foot view, but I'll tell you what, he's off to a great start," McDermott said last week.

6. Hyde's status: Safety Micah Hyde remains a free agent after going into the offseason contemplating retirement.

"I don't think he shut the door yet," Beane said last week. "I think it's still open and we definitely wouldn't shut the door to ever bring a Micah Hyde back if he decides to play."

7. Fifth-year options: The Bills will have to choose whether to pick up pass-rusher Greg Rousseau's fifth-year option by May 2. That seems likely to happen, as Rousseau is a key member of the team's defensive line and continues to develop.

"We have not discussed it a lot, just trying to get through [this period]," Beane said, "but I don't see any reason why we wouldn't do it."

8. Wide receiver: The position remains a popular pick for the Bills in early projections, and is largely considered a deep position in this year's draft class, although picking at No. 28 will present a variety of options for Buffalo -- moving up, as Beane has done in recent years, is always a possibility. The Bills have not drafted a wide receiver in the first two days of the draft under Beane.

Quarterback Josh Allen continues to do his homework on draft prospects. During an appearance on The QB Room podcast, he cited the players that he liked but wouldn't likely be there for the Bills, including Malik Nabers, Rome Odunze and Marvin Harrison Jr. Allen also noted that Samuel is someone he's been watching for a while and that he's "extremely excited to play with him."