Former Jets coach Rex Ryan has replaced Doug Marrone, who settled for the offensive line coaching job in Jacksonville after opting out of his contract. Former 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman, hailed as one of the NFL's best minds two years ago, should be an upgrade on the offensive bosses Ryan had in New Jersey.
Biggest free agents
»*DE Jerry Hughes:* One of the most productive pass rushers on the market, Hughes has generated 120 combined sacks, hits and hurries over the past two seasons, per Pro Football Focus -- just shy of All-Pro Mario Williams' total of 129. It's a good sign that he was just as productive in Jim Scwhartz's system as he was in Mike Pettine's the year before. Hughes has expressed interest in re-signing, but will not give Buffalo a hometown discount.
On the way out?
»*OG Chris Williams and Kraig Urbik:* Urbik is the better fit for Greg Roman's power-blocking scheme, but neither of these interior linemen is an asset with a salary over $2 million. Cyril Richardson, a 2014 fifth-round draft pick, should be ready to move into the starting lineup opposite Incognito.
What they need
Nothing we have seen in Manuel's 14 starts suggests he possesses the accuracy or the field vision to succeed as an NFL starter. In other words, the top need is a quarterback solution. Unless the new coaching staff is higher on Bryce Brown than the former one, running back is also on the radar if Spiller departs. Roman will also be eyeing a pass-catching tight end after working with Pro Bowl player Vernon Davis in San Francisco.
Offseason crystal ball
Of the key free agents, Hughes seems the most likely to return. Ryan's comments suggest the Bills will import a veteran place-holder at quarterback, such as Mark Sanchez or Michael Vick, while also pulling the trigger on a second- or third-round signal-caller if a draft prospect catches their fancy.
The defense is already championship caliber. After failing to develop a quarterback in six years with the Jets, Ryan must prove for the first time that he can coach more than one side of the ball.