Getty Images

The Bills added another haunting loss to their playoff resume in the 27-24 defeat at home at the hands of the Chiefs on Sunday night, and fans are already thinking "how can this team get over the hump?" 

I've outlined my three main ideas here, one of which is very specific, while the other two are more philosophical. I can get like that sometimes. 

Before I begin, I lean toward the idea that the "salary cap is fake," and that Buffalo can clear nearly $43M with these, quite logical moves: 1) a Josh Allen restructure (would save $23.1M), 2) a Stefon Diggs restructure (would save $13.1M) and 3) a Von Miller post-June 1 cut (would save $6.7M). And that's just three maneuvers. They'll have money. 

Add a highly talented WR early in the draft 

This is of the utmost priority for the Bills entering next season. 

Bills GM Brandon Beane has mentioned that playoff elimination games highlight a team's biggest issues; in the January 2023 divisional-round loss to the Bengals, it was clear the Bills weren't on the same level as other Super Bowl contenders in the secondary receiver department. 

They kinda-sorta addressed that issue by selecting receiving tight end Dalton Kincaid in the first round a few months later. Low-level free-agent adds Trent Sherfield and Deonte Harty each made a negligible impact on Buffalo's passing game in 2023, and Gabe Davis again proved to be more of a liability than a true consistent weapon as a full-time wideout. 

Since the Bills picked Allen in 2018, they've drafted one wide receiver (Davis, Round 4) and two tight ends (Kincaid and Dawson Knox, Round 3) in the first four rounds of the draft. That has to change. Now. 

Sure, Buffalo traded for Stefon Diggs in that stretch, but that move occurred five seasons ago.

Stefon Diggs
HOU • WR • #1
REC YDs1183
View Profile

In the modern-day NFL, where passing is king, even an elite, MVP-caliber quarterback needs more than one game-changer catching the football. And Diggs will turn 31 in late November next season. Khalil Shakir must be a regularly relied upon slot option entering his third season in 2024, but the Bills need to draft a dynamic pass-catcher for Allen to keep their fastball on offense. 

With Diggs, Kincaid, Shakir, Knox, and a first-or second-round receiver, the Bills will have gone through the right process to correct their most glaring issue the past two seasons. 

Hitting on an early-round receiver will have a more seismic impact on this team's Super Bowl aspirations than anything else.

For more draft coverage, you can hear in-depth analysis twice a week on "With the First Pick" -- our year-round NFL Draft podcast with NFL Draft analyst Ryan Wilson and former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. You can find "With the First Pick" wherever you get your podcasts: Apple PodcastsSpotifyYouTube, etc.

Get out of their own way

That's what I'm labeling as the moniker for the Bills 2023 season. While it didn't define their season, as the late-season winning streak to win the AFC East and secure the No. 2 seed in the AFC was rather impressive, they did have problems getting out of their own way more than most quality teams. 

The Tom Brady-Bill Belichick Patriots famously played sound football and let other teams beat themselves. The latter is precisely what the Bills have done to either lose playoff seeding or literally lose to the Chiefs in the playoffs.

Some examples: Fumbling a snap that would've beaten the Vikings and given Buffalo the No. 1 seed in 2022. Bad coaching decisions against the Chiefs in January 2022 (see: 13 seconds), and, of course, a missed 44-yard field goal in this most recent divisional round. 

Weird, start-of-game turnovers were a thing. As were blown fourth-quarter leads, which were previously not a thing in the Sean McDermott era. But every year's different and unique. This season, the Bills happened to be devastated with injuries on defense, and went through the entire season with very minimal offensive injuries. So weird. 

The Bills now need to learn what those Patriots teams mastered and the Chiefs are typically very good at: getting out of their own way en route to victories.

Stay the course

This is probably not what you're expecting to read after the Bills loss. After all, we have to find one singular person to blame, right? And hyperbole draws the most attention. "Should they fire Sean McDermott?" Why did Josh Allen not make the throw underneath before the missed field goal????" 

Yeah, I'm not about any of that. It's all classic hindsight bias. Did the Bills play a perfect game against the Chiefs? Absolutely not. The defense allowed 7.7 yards per play, and the Chiefs offense only got to third down five times all game. Buffalo's game plan was uncharacteristically run-heavy and very quick-game based through the air. 

And all that led to Buffalo attempting a 44-yard field goal to tie the game with under two minutes to go. The kick missed. Sometimes that happens. Process over results. Always. Even if the results don't always work out.

Josh Allen
BUF • QB • #17
View Profile

On Allen, essentially nothing about his game is conservative. He never settles. And Buffalo should be grateful it has a gladiator quarterback who keeps his foot on the gas pedal all game. That mentality is reasonably challenging to find at quarterback in today's NFL. 

It's not "loser mentality" to point to Buffalo's 48-18 regular-season record since the start of 2020. Sure, the Bills are 5-4 in the playoffs over that stretch with three losses to Kansas City, but everything is relative. Five postseason wins in the past four years are the third-most in the league, trailing only the Buccaneers, and, yes, the Chiefs.

It's human nature to try to make perfect sense out of every scenario, to find an exact tangible reason something happened. But in football, there's so much luck and randomness -- injuries, bounces, tipped passes, penalties, missed calls, weather, etc. -- that it's crazy to suggest the deconstruction of something as stable as the Bills over the past four or five seasons. 

Now, that's not insinuating Buffalo should make no changes and just be happy 30 games over .500 in the regular season the last four years and accept their yearly divisional-round playoff loss. Of course I don't mean that. But massive, top-of-the-organization or top-of-the-roster changes are not needed. 

They're set at quarterback, GM, and head coach, and that trio is more vital than anything else in the NFL.