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Harrison Phillips

Getty Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Harrison Phillips celebrates after recovering a fumble.

The Buffalo Bills will have limited cap space and some big free-agent decisions to make this coming offseason, but at least one key player has already expressed a desire to return.

In the last offseason, the Bills prioritized re-signing some of the key players who fueled the team’s trip to the AFC Championship game. It’s not clear if general manager Brandon Beane plans to take the same approach this time around, but he could have a head start with one defensive player who is coming off the best season of his career.

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Key Re-Signing Could be in Buffalo’s Grasp

After starting the season outside the regular defensive line rotation and finding himself a healthy gameday scratch, Harrison Phillips eventually emerged as one of the unit’s most effective players. Pro Football Focus rated him as the best defensive tackle on the Bills and the 14th best in the league.

The 2018 draft pick is now headed to free agency, but said he feels valued by the Buffalo organization and hopes to get a chance to return.

“I have a lot of personal capital built up here in this organization and people. They know my value better than any other team because they’ve got to see the person that I am,” Phillips said. “I would hope to be here. There haven’t been any talks yet. But I would love to revenge these three years in a row now, in the playoffs, on the road, losing– yeah, there’s definitely some vengeance.”

As Nick Wojton of USA Today’s Bills Wire noted, Phillips also earned a strong endorsement from Beane.

“We’ll have to figure out what his value is, that’s kind of been my conversation with him. Really proud of him. We drafted him here and would love to see him continue his career here,” Beane said.

Offseason Changes Have Begun

Since the heartbreaking loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on January 23, the Bills roster has already undergone some changes. Practice squad running back Antonio Williams, who was not among the 11 players given a reserve/future contract from the Bills earlier in the week, was signed by the New York Giants in one of the first acquisitions by former Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen.

Bills head coach Sean McDermott said the offseason evaluations began almost immediately after the end of the season, saying that he and Beane are looking up and down the roster to see where they can find improvements for next season.

“(We are) trying to get us to where we’re trying to go as quickly as we can,” McDermott said. “We’ll work tirelessly to do that. Go about it the right way. And again, continue to try and develop and improve what we’re doing here.”

Though the league’s salary cap is projected to increase to $208.2 million, it would still leave the Bills with little cap space, and Beane warned that there would not be any splashy, expensive free agents coming to Buffalo.

“It’s not going to be perfect for us, but it’s going to be better,” Beane said. “We’ll have to make some moves, but I wouldn’t see us being big spenders or anything like that. But we’ll definitely look to fill some spots from the outside as well as retain some of our guys.”

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Source: Heavy

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