The writing had been on the wall for several weeks, but on Monday the Buffalo Bills officially parted ways with linebacker Reggie Ragland. The 23-year-old, who never ended up playing a single regular season snap for the team, was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs for a fourth round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) August 28, 2017
The Alabama product had tremendous potential after the Bills selected him in the second round of last year’s draft. He was supposed to be the leader of the defense under Rex Ryan’s 3-4 scheme, but he tore his ACL last summer and sat out the entire 2016 season. When he got healthy, the Bills had switched head coaches and to a 4-3 defense, something to which Ragland’s talents aren’t particularly suited.
What is Ragland doing? pic.twitter.com/ppgnMYcEnX
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) August 22, 2017
Sean McDermott was looking for an athletic, versatile middle linebacker — something that simply didn’t fit Ragland’s play. Through three games Ragland registered five tackles, two assists and three stops.
It was an interesting summer for Ragland under McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. He was given ample opportunity to prove his worth, but after spending some time with the second-team defense, Ragland was finally delegated to third-team snaps. It culminated with him only seeing the field for three plays against the Ravens on Saturday night.
Veteran Gerald Hodges had jumped Ragland in the pecking order, and it was clear the Bills were ready to move on from one of Doug Whaley’s prized picks. Unlike Sammy Watkins, Buffalo didn’t really showcase Ragland in the preseason as a way to audition him for potential trade partners, which is why getting a fourth round pick for somebody who hasn’t seen the regular season is somewhat of a steal for the team.
While this is definitely not a huge win for an organization who has to part ways with a player they spent a high draft pick on just the year before, the Bills have stockpiled another pick for what are going to be some busy draft nights in the years to come. Brandon Beane has now made four trades since he took over as general manager and has some solid draft capital to stand on, and the chance that those picks increase even more over the next few months is a strong possibility. The Bills are firmly distancing themselves from the moves and decisions of the previous administration and seem to be taking the necessary steps to compete down the road. For Ragland, if his knee can stay healthy, then the Chiefs are a much better fit for him than the Bills. He’ll get a fresh start with a team that is ready to compete in the AFC right away.
With two quarterbacks sidelined with concussions for Thursday’s preseason finale, the Bills signed journeyman quarterback Keith Wenning as their second move of the afternoon.
QB Keith Wenning spent the '14 season in Baltimore with Bills OC Rick Dennison as his QB coach.
That and more about the newest Bills QB: pic.twitter.com/KOYngw0Zd5
— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) August 28, 2017
Wenning and Peterman will be Buffalo’s only two healthy quarterbacks when they host the Lions on Thursday, and it’s almost certain Wenning will see a good amount of playing time in hopes of keeping Peterman healthy. While the severity of Tyrod Taylor’s and T.J. Yates’s concussions still unknown, the Bills needed another body — both on the practice field and for game action.
Wenning is familiar with offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, as Dennison served as his quarterbacks coach for the 2014 season in Baltimore. There were reports that the Bills were looking at several veteran quarterbacks, but they decided to instead add somebody who at least has a limited familiarity with the offense.
He was drafted in the sixth round by the Ravens in 2014 and owns the school records for passing yards and passing touchdowns at Ball State.