3 Bills players that were put on notice this offseason

05/20/2023
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The Buffalo Bills’ roster currently includes 88 players, with two more spots available for the 90 men allowed to be invited to camp. Brandon Beane brought in six new free agents, drafted another half dozen players, inked seven guys as UDFAs, and welcomed several more hopefuls to get us to the 88 players. This year’s paring of the roster down to 53 players will be a flood the size of the Hoover Damn breaking. The NFL switched to one massive cutdown day on Tuesday, August 29th. With all the moves the Bills have made, here are three players from the 2022 squad who have been put on alert regarding their long-term future with Buffalo.

G Ryan Bates

The Bills’ most significant offseason signing was guard Connor McGovern coming over from the Dallas Cowboys. Beane also used his second-round pick on guard O’Cyrus Torrence out of the University of Florida. Those are two high-value assets to address the interior of the Bills’ offensive line, a place where Bates spent all of his 945 snaps (810 RG, 135 C) a season ago. Buffalo also brought in guard David Edwards from the L.A. Rams.

The one thing that may keep Bates on the roster for 2023 is his contract. He signed a four-year deal with the Bears in the 2022 offseason as a restricted free agent, but Beane matched. He’s entering year two of that contract which carries a $6.525M dead cap hit. Bates’ versatility to play anywhere along the line gives him added value in Buffalo but might afford him more opportunities elsewhere. We know Beane loves to strike with veteran trades for draft picks, so could Bates be a candidate for that route come August?

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S Cam Lewis

I’m not sure any Bills player went from ‘they may have to thrust him into a full-time starting role” to “does he make the team” quite as abruptly as Cam Lewis. The former UDFA from the University at Buffalo has found a niche with Buffalo, earning spot snaps with Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, and Damar Hamlin all being in and out of the lineup last year. We entered free agency not knowing how any of those three looked heading into the 2023 season. Those questions were answered as Hyde is back to his old self, Poyer re-signed, and Hamlin was cleared to return to the game. The Bills also added safety depth by signing one of the top free agents in Rams’ Taylor Rapp. Those four moved combined to see Lewis tumble down the depth chart. His one-year deal with the Bills carries a dead cap of just $350,000. That, combined with the new depth, could put Lewis on the practice squad or make him another trade candidate like Bates.

WR Khalil Shakir

This one might have you calling me crazy or harsher names. I mean, I am the guy who said drafting Khalil Shakir made Isaiah McKenzie expendable, but I digress. The main reason that Shakir is on this list is the additions of Deonte Harty and Dalton Kincaid. “But Greg, Kincaid is a tight end.” STOP! He is a pass-catching weapon who will nibble at the snaps of Davis, but as a massive slot option, he might steal the majority from Shakir. Combine the opportunities that Kincaid will get with the targets Harty could earn, and Shakir’s limited role (131 slot snaps, 131 wide snaps) could dwindle in 2023. The majority of his production came in the middle of the field. If Kincaid and Harty become Josh Allen’s favorite options between the hashes, Shakir might be looking over his shoulder in camp and beyond.

The Bills will hold ten voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) between Tuesday, May 23, and Saturday, June 10. From there the team heads to mandatory minicamp beginning on Wednesday, June 14.

 

1 Comment

  1. Megeen Vergo

    I hope that Shakir stays! Depth! And the nightmare of all those injuries last year leads me to keeping Bates as well.