Bills Urged to Add 3-Time All-Pro Linebacker as ‘Insurance Policy’

Bills Urged to Add 3-Time All-Pro Linebacker as ‘Insurance Policy’

Buffalo Bills linebacker Matt Milano was an All-Pro player in 2022 and appeared on his way to a repeat performance in 2023 before injury struck.

 

Milano suffered a fractured leg in Week 5, missing the remainder of the season and enduring a long rehab for what the team hinted was a complicated injury. Though Milano is expected to be back on the field to start the 2024 season, one analyst suggests the Bills could add another veteran linebacker as an insurance policy for Milano.

 

Bills Could Use Veteran Help

Bleacher Report’s Matt Holder identified one potential offseason move for all 32 teams, noting that the Bills should add another linebacker to offset what could be a drop in performance for Milano.

 

“At his peak, Matt Milano is an All-Pro caliber player. However, he turns 30 at the end of July and is coming off a season-ending injury,” Holder wrote. “Also, Buffalo let Tyrel Dodson, who filled in well for Milano last fall, walk in free agency.”

 

Adding another linebacker could hold great importance for a team that saw some significant changes on defense, Holder added, suggesting the Bills could target Shaquille Leonard as their “insurance policy” for Milano.

 

Leonard, a three-time All-Pro and former Defensive Rookie of the Year, is coming off a career-worst season where he made just 88 total tackles in 12 games, adding one sack. He was released by the Indianapolis Colts midway through the season and picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles, but saw little improvement in the new setting.

 

Leonard has dealt with some serious injuries and mused after the conclusion of the season that he could be considering retirement.

 

“I think that will be a tough discussion for myself,” Leonard said after the Eagles were bounced from the playoffs, via CBS Sports. “Having two back surgeries, you know, with the back you have to take your time and try to figure this stuff out. You have to see how you look on tape throughout the year. Is it worth (it) to keep going? Are you yourself? Are you a shell of yourself?

 

Jeff Kerr

@JeffKerrCBS

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Asked Shaquille Leonard if he sees himself back with #Eagles next year.

 

“I have a lot to think about this offseason.”

 

4:48 pm · 12 Jan 2024

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Reply

 

“I have a lot to think about this offseason.”

 

If his NFL career were coming to an end, Leonard seemed content with his career.

 

“To play this game, we’re one in a million to come out and play the game that we love,” Leonard said. “For me, it’s always having positive energy. Always just being thankful to be where your feet are and just spread joy.”

 

If he does choose to return, Leonard could add some veteran leadership to a Bills team that released cornerback Tre’Davious White and safety Jordan Poyer, who served an important role both on the field and in the locker room.

 

New Linebacker Help for the Bills

The Bills have already added some help at linebacker, using a fifth-round draft pick on Washington linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio. As Ralph Ventre of SI.com’s Bills Central noted, the rookie could see the most action on special teams to start the season.

 

“Ulofoshio initially broke onto the field covering kickoffs as a freshman in 2018. In his first collegiate appearance, he forced fumbles on two separate kick returns,” Ventre wrote, adding that Ulofoshio earned the team’s Coaches’ Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in the 2022 Alamo Bowl.

 

 

Gideon Canice

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