The Buffalo Bills had a successful 2023 NFL season. They finished with an 11-6 record and made it to the Divisional Round of the playoffs. However, their season ended with another loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. As the offseason approaches, the Bills are looking to make some moves to improve their roster and take the next step toward the Super Bowl. One of the most significant moves they could make is trading for Khalil Mack. He is a star defensive player who could significantly impact their defense. Here, we will discuss why trading for Mack would be the perfect trade the Bills must do in the 2024 NFL offseason.

The Bills' 2023 Season

The Bills entered the 2023 NFL season with high expectations. Many anticipated they would be legitimate contenders for the title. Sure, they encountered some bumps along the road. However, the Bills rallied strongly enough to secure the AFC East title and claim the conference's No. 2 seed. Yes, they dispatched the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round. Sadly, they fell short once again against the reigning champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.

With their postseason journey concluded, head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane must swiftly shift focus to the offseason. The AFC landscape is teeming with talent, and the Bills confront several uncertainties as they approach the offseason.

Fortunately, the Bills have the cornerstone of their franchise secured in quarterback Josh Allen. However, with several potential departures looming, other areas of the roster demand attention.

Josh Allen

The Bills' 2024 Offseason Context

The Bills face the daunting task of maneuvering under the salary cap for the 2024 season. This signals a potential closure of their Super Bowl window with the current core. Yes, Josh Allen's presence ensures continued competitiveness in the AFC. That said, they also need strategic shedding of veteran contracts to embrace a youth movement.

Trading either Von Miller or Stefon Diggs necessitates a post-June 1 transaction. A pre-June 1 trade involving Miller yields a mere $2 million in savings. However, a later deal promises a substantial $17.4 million relief in 2024. Similarly, for Diggs, significant cap relief of $19 million becomes available only after June 1. Keep in mind that both players are beyond 30, witnessing a decline in productivity.

Here we will look at the perfect NFL trade that the Buffalo Bills must complete during the current 2024 offseason.

Khalil Mack

Bills receive: Khalil Mack
Chargers receive: Eli Ankou (expiring contract), two future draft picks
Assumption: The Bills trade either Miller or Diggs post-June 1.

The Bills face the challenge of managing their salary cap intricacies to accommodate the acquisition of Khalil Mack. Given his potential impact and the financial constraints of the Los Angeles Chargers, orchestrating a trade involving future draft picks and perhaps players with expiring contracts could facilitate Mack's transition to Buffalo. This strategic move not only addresses the Bills' urgent need for enhanced pass-rushing capabilities. It also aligns with their overarching goal of constructing a championship-contending team.

The Case for Mack

The Bills may not emerge as significant players in the trade market. This is considering the limitations imposed by the salary cap. However, should Brandon Beane successfully navigate the financial intricacies, reinforcing the defense becomes a logical pursuit. Therefore, fans can anticipate the Bills focusing on young, cost-effective options during the offseason. These include players on expiring rookie contracts who could pique Buffalo's interest.

Nevertheless, the Bills should explore the potential of acquiring a marquee name like Khalil Mack. As a former Defensive Player of the Year, Mack has the potential to revolutionize the team's defensive dynamics. Despite boasting a formidable defensive unit, the Bills lacked a genuine threat in pass-rushing throughout 2023. This is precisely where Mack's skill set becomes invaluable. He has a history of tallying double-digit sacks in five of his eight NFL seasons. As such, Mack could seamlessly fill that void. Additionally, his veteran leadership could serve as a guiding force for the team's younger talents. It's worth noting that the Los Angeles Chargers find themselves in a challenging cap situation. This makes Buffalo's pursuit of Mack a strategic consideration.

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Javon Foster, Dominick Puni, Brenden Rice in the middle, Derek Carr and GM Mickey Loomis around them, and Buffalo Bills wallpaper in the background

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Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Blaine Gabbert (9) is sacked by Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Khalil Mack (52) during the first half at SoFi Stadium
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Mutual Benefits

The Chargers face a delicate situation concerning Khalil Mack this offseason. Mack is fresh off one of the most impressive seasons of his career. He remains one of the premier edge rushers in the league. However, he also carries a hefty $38.5 million cap hit. This ranks among the league's largest non-quarterback salary commitments.

Were the Chargers operating comfortably under the salary cap, this might not present an issue. Yet, they find themselves a daunting $45.8 million over the cap. This necessitates significant financial adjustments. Trading or releasing Mack before June 1 could free up $23.25 million in cap space. Any team considering a trade for Mack must be prepared to absorb his $17.55 million base salary, a figure manageable for teams with sufficient cap flexibility.

Looking Ahead

Trading for Khalil Mack presents a compelling opportunity for the Buffalo Bills to strengthen their defense. This could elevate their competitiveness in the AFC and position themselves as serious contenders for a Super Bowl appearance in the upcoming 2024 NFL season. As they navigate the intricacies of player acquisitions and salary cap management, securing Mack could be a transformative move. It could propel them toward achieving their ultimate goal of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.