The Buffalo Bills are already constrained in making roster moves this offseason because of a tight salary-cap situation, but making life slightly tougher on general manager Doug Whaley and his staff are uncertain situations with several players on the roster.
Here is a look at those various question marks and how they could affect the Bills' decision-making over the coming weeks and months:
LeSean McCoy: Given the Bills' financial investment in McCoy and their philosophical commitment to the running game, there might not be a more important player to their success next season than the four-time Pro Bowl running back. His status remains in doubt regardless of any decision reached by the Philadelphia district attorney on charges in a Feb. 7 bar fight -- and there has yet to be any announcement in that case. Whether or not McCoy is charged, the NFL will complete its own investigation and potentially impose discipline on McCoy. The NFL's personal conduct policy, revised in December 2014, calls for a baseline of a six-game suspension with the possibility of Roger Goodell making that number lower or higher based on "aggravating or mitigating factors." The NFL could make its decision at any time and the Bills would be left to figure out how they'll adjust at running back. Karlos Williams and Mike Gillislee would be the in-house replacements, with free-agent Bilal Powell one of many outside options.
Seantrel Henderson: The Bills' right tackle started 26 of the first 27 games of his career before an illness caused him to miss the final five games of last season. The Buffalo News reported that Henderson was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. Ryan and Whaley haven't expressed full confidence so far this offseason that they will have Henderson available next season. It was telling when Ryan, speaking on SiriusXM NFL radio last week, spoke about the offensive line, saying, "We want to keep that group together. We want [left guard] Richie [Incognito]. We want [left tackle] Cordy [Glenn] back. We have an excellent center in Eric Wood. We have a lot of pieces. A young [right] guard in John Miller from Louisville. And then ... so we have a lot of positive things." Ryan avoided making any statements about Henderson or his right-tackle position in general. If Henderson can't play, the Bills would turn to either Cyrus Kouandjio or Jordan Mills, a restricted free agent, in his place. They also could look for help in the draft.
Aaron Williams: Rex Ryan believes the Bills missed a significant part of their defense last season when Williams went on injured reserve in October because of a neck injury. He returned to practice in late December but was not activated to the 53-man roster. Ryan and Whaley have maintained this offseason that doctors are confident that Williams will be ready to practice and play this summer, but Williams' comments in December still loom large and he might not know how his neck reacts until he resumes full contact in training camp. The Bills could make re-signing safety Bacarri Rambo, a restricted free agent, a priority in the coming days, but given their limited cap space, he might be difficult to retain. Otherwise, the Bills would look to the draft for insurance.
Marcus Easley: The Bills' special teams ace dislocated his knee cap and broke his knee in three places during the Week 16 win over the Dallas Cowboys. He said in January that his recovery is expected to take seven to nine months, which puts his availability for training camp or possibly the start of the regular season in jeopardy. With the Bills likely parting ways with special teams contributors Ron Brooks, an unrestricted free agent, and possibly Chris Hogan, a restricted free agent, they will need to find new pieces on special teams, especially with Easley's status uncertain.
Marquise Goodwin: Whaley has mentioned Goodwin as a possible candidate to overtake Robert Woods for the Bills' No. 2 wide receiver job. One obstacle to that happening is the potential for Goodwin to qualify for the 2016 summer Olympics. He said in January that if he qualifies this July for the August Games, he would talk to Ryan about traveling to Brazil to compete. That would take Goodwin away from training camp for several days, if not longer, and potentially give another player an opportunity to earn a role at receiver.
Kyle Williams: He has been one of the Bills' most sturdy and dependable players for a decade, so he takes the bottom spot in this list. However, Williams will turn 33 this summer and is coming off season-ending knee surgery. That combination of age and injury should give any team pause, and the Bills would be smart to add a layer of defensive line depth through the draft.