On Friday, we asked the following question: What did we learn about the Buffalo Bills in January?
Now we'll ask this: What do we expect to learn about the Bills in February?
As the Bills move into the second month of the offseason, here's what on the radar:
Does Alonso win rookie honors? On Saturday, the NFL will reveal the Associated Press' NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year at their annual awards show in New York City. Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso could be the favorite, having been awarded the Pro Football Writers of America's version of the award last month. Alonso played every snap his rookie season and finished third in the NFL with 159 tackles. Alonso's top competition could be a pair of defensive tackles: Star Lotulelei (Carolina Panthers) and Sheldon Richardson (New York Jets).
Does Andre Reed make the Hall of Fame? For the eighth consecutive year, former Bills receiver Andre Reed is a finalist for election into the Pro Football Fame. On Saturday, the 46 voters will meet to decide the latest class to be inducted into Canton. The feeling on this end is that Reed is a longer shot to finish in the top five of the voting. Among wide receivers, he faces stiff competition from Tim Brown and Marvin Harrison.
Does Byrd get franchise tag? Teams have from Feb. 17 to March 3 to assign the franchise tag to player set to become an unrestricted free agent. Realistically, the only Bills player who could get tagged is safety Jairus Byrd, who was also franchised last season. Because of the back-to-back tags, the Bills would need to tender Byrd at $8.3 million, which is 120 percent of his salary this season. That amount would be guaranteed if Byrd signed the tender, which could happen at any time after he is tagged. From this perspective, the Bills could keep the franchise tag on the table if they feel (a) they feel they aren't making progress in talks with Byrd's representatives, and (b) they believe the $8.3 million figure is palatable to keep Byrd in Buffalo for one more season.
Does coaching staff get finalized? The departure of defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has brought several changes to the Bills' coaching staff, which should continue into this month. The Bills are likely looking to hire one or two linebackers coaches (they had two last season) and potentially a defensive line coach, should Anthony Weaver follow Pettine to the Cleveland Browns. New defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz made it clear at his introductory news conference that the hiring decisions would be made by Doug Marrone, not Schwartz. Still, it would hardly be surprising if some of Schwartz's former lieutenants landed in Buffalo; the Bills have already hired former Detroit Lions quarterback coach Todd Downing for the same position.
Do Bills make any cap casualties? It's difficult to pin down the Bills' exact salary cap position -- the NFL has yet to settle on a figure for the 2014 season -- but the expectation is that the Bills will be around the middle of the pack in cap space entering the new league year in March. Teams are allowed to release players as soon as Monday, following the Super Bowl, and it would not be a shock if the Bills trimmed their roster in order to free up extra cap space. We'll dive deeper into that topic Monday.