INDIANAPOLIS (WIVB) — Damar Hamlin is “feeling great,” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said Tuesday as he provided a brief update on the safety at the NFL Draft Combine.
Beane addressed Hamlin’s potential return to football, saying the 24-year-old wants to play again but that it has to make sense for everyone involved.
“It will be a decision for Damar but it will also be a decision for us,” Beane said. “Assuming he gets full clearance, I know he would want to play. … We’ll continue to support Damar through this whole thing. I’d love to give the storybook ending that he’s going to play, but we just don’t know that yet. But if he does, we’ll all be very happy for him.”
Members of the Bills medical staff have been travering with Hamlin to see doctors as he continues his recovery, according to Beane.
“He’s seen several specialists since our season has ended,” Beane said. “I think he’s got two or three more that he’s got to see in various parts of the country.”
In the time since his on-field resuscitation in January and subsequent hospital stays, Hamlin has been in the spotlight, making an appearance prior to kickoff at the Super Bowl and attending a basketball game at Syracuse University. Beane joked during his press conference that Hamlin had been on a world tour and was “America’s guest.”
As of now, it still remains too soon to know what Hamlin’s status will be for the upcoming season and beyond.
Getting more weapons on offense
When the Bills fell to the Bengals in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, criticism rolled in about all sides of the ball. The team’s inability to move the ball on offense and lack of weapons was apparent, as they managed just 10 points.
Beane seemed well aware of the issues during Tuesday’s press conference.
“We’re always looking for playmakers,” Beane said. “Whether that’s a receiver, a running back, a tight end, you’re always looking for guys that are weapons with the ball. … We’ll look at various ways to add playmakers. I’m not going to say we have to have a receiver or we have to have a tight end, but we surely are always looking to add guys Josh [Allen] can get the ball to and they can make plays with it.”
In particular, Beane addressed players with run-after-catch ability as one of those kinds of playmakers.
“It’s been a priority for us; it’s just those guys are hard to find, there’s generally a premium on them,” Beane said of acquiring offensive weapons. “We’ll always look whether it’s free agency or the draft to add guys that are very good with the ball in their hands.”
Bills free agents
The Bills have a number of key free agents this offseason, including safety Jordan Poyer, linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and running back Devin Singletary, and Beane addressed some of them.
In particular, talking about Poyer’s recent comments regarding wanting to play for a team in a state with fewer taxes, Beane joked that somebody should call Gov. Kathy Hochul to get taxes reduced.
“There’s always things you fight, whether it’s the weather, the taxes, whatever,” Beane said of attracting free agents. “As long as you have a winning program, that will supersede some of those things. If you’re a player, you’ve got to look at everything.”
He also mentioned that the Bills’ methods of acquiring players start in the trenches on both sides of the ball. While the team retains the majority of its starting offensive line, guard Rodger Saffold will be a free agent this offseason and bringing him back remains an option according to Beane, but it’s clear better protecting Allen will be a priority.
“It starts with the two lines,” Beane said. “Once you’ve got your quarterback, you’ve got to, A. protect your quarterback, and B. you need to get after the opposing quarterback. Whether it’s the draft, whether it’s free agency, we’re always going to look there first before we even get to the playmakers.”
Buffalo will have to do some financial maneuvering to get under the salary cap, and Beane mentioned restructuring some contracts and spreading money out to years down the line will help give them more flexibility. However, he once again said a Von Miller-like signing this offseason is unlikely.