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Coronavirus has changed some things.
Without preseason games, several Buffalo Bills players weren’t able to make a push for the roster spot under the lights. Further complicating predictions, the beat writers weren’t able to share who was working fir the first-team or second-team and information was strictly controlled. Even with all that, roster cuts are coming today and tomorrow at One Bills Drive. Here is out final prediction:
Note: We’re listing the players in each group in alphabetical order. Changes from previous version are listed.
Cut: Jake Fromm
Changes: Webb over Fromm
I’ve heard nothing but bad news on the Fromm front since his leaked racists messages came out. He hasn’t played well in camp according to multiple outlets. While Sean McDermott has typically gone with two QBs, they should keep three QBs who know the system and get Fromm on the practice squad just in case of COVID problems.
Running back (5)
Now that Reggie Gilliam is over at tight end or H-back, I have DiMarco making the squad again. Earlier this week, McDermott mentioned how important DiMarco is to the team. We’ll see just how important after this weekend.
Tight end (3)
This group is such a great mix of talent, youth, and skill set. While I’m sure some folks want to see them move on from Smith, he played 30% of the snaps last year and while that number diminished over the course of the season, it jumped up to 47% in their playoff-clinching win over Pittsburgh. Sweeney can stay on PUP until he’s healthy and then they can figure out what to do with him.
Wide receiver (7)
Cuts: Robert Foster, Duke Williams
Changes: Hodgins over Foster
I’ve been convinced of Andre Roberts’ value to the team in the eyes of McDermott, even though I think he’s overpaid. I had him off multiple roster projections in the spring and early summer. The only change I made was putting Hodgins over Foster. I thought the latter’s special teams ability would give him an extra boost, but with Taiwan Jones and Siran Neal at gunner, they don’t need Foster.
Interior O-line (3)
Boettger makes a strong case for the practice squad. Winters was my last man out. In order for Feliciano to return, he has to make the initial 53-man roster this weekend before being placed on IR the next day, so they’ll have to cut someone like Tyrel Dodson or Dane Jackson that they’ll be able to re-sign in a couple days.
Offensive tackle (5)
I’ve been trying to cut Nsekhe since we learned of the drop in the 2021 salary cap but now I think they are coming around to him. This really depends on what they do at guard. If Cody Ford kicks inside, I think they keep Nsekhe. If Ford is at guard, they don’t need Winters and going with eight guys could save them a roster spot. Going with eight plus Feliciano will be fine.
Defensive line (8)
Lots of versatility on the defensive line. They release Murphy to save the money and keep a promising younger player with special teams ability in Johnson.
Corey Thompson was a leader on special teams last year but he can’t find his way onto the roster now. Dodson is ahead of Joseph, but both could be cut to get to the initial 53-man roster. Once Feliciano is on injured reserve, they could re-sign one.
Adding a young cornerback to the back end of the roster was a huge win for me. Lewis needs to be a priority practice squad guy, too. The depth isn’t substantial, but that’s how McDermott has rolled at cornerback in his time as coach.
Cut: Josh Thomas
Changes: Johnson makes the team
Johnson is another guy who was a bubble guy but I found a way to make room. Without him they are thing at safety with Siran Neal acting as the emergency cornerback.
Changes: Bass replaces Hauschka
Still a chance they could upgrade at punter. If you remember, Bojorquez was a post-camp add a couple years ago and they could look to similarly upgrade this year. All offseason, I said Hauschka was going to be cut. Then I changed my mind before training camp due to the uncertainty. Silly. Bass won the job already.
There’s no way around cutting quality players—and some of them are going to end up being claimed by other teams—but Buffalo’s practice squad could be pretty good, too. Remember it’s expanded in 2020 with the new CBA and the COVID modifications, so 16 players plus the IPP exemption for Wade are targeted here. They won’t add them all.
Practice squad priorities (16)
QB Jake Fromm
RB Christian Wade (International Pathway Exemption)
RB Antonio Williams
TE Jason Croom
TE Reggie Gilliam
WR Robert Foster
WR Duke Williams
OG Ike Boettger
OT Trey Adams
DE Mike Love
DE Bryan Cox, Jr.
DT Vincent Taylor
LB Corey Thompson
LB Vosean Joseph
CB Cam Lewis
S Garret Taylor