Could the former UDFA challenge for a larger role this year?
Last year, the Buffalo Bills weren’t shy about reshuffling their secondary. Aside from the three mainstays in the lineup in Tre’Davious White, Jordan Poyer, and Micah Hyde, the Bills tried to mix and match as they saw fit with the other spots in the defensive backfield.
Part of that shuffling happened as a result of injuries, but head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Leslie Frazier both weren’t shy about moving players in and out of the lineup when they felt that better play was necessary. While the Bills didn’t have their best defensive year under the McDermott/Frazier team, they did steadily improve as the year progressed.
In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we discuss a nickel corner who originally joined the team as an undrafted free agent—a young player who played well in his first opportunity last year.
Name: Cam Lewis
Height/Weight: 5’9” 183 lbs
Age: 24 (25 on 4/13/2022)
Experience/Draft: 2; signed with Bills following the 2019 NFL Draft
College: University at Buffalo
Acquired: UDFA signing
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Lewis is in the final year of the two-year contract he signed prior to last season. The deal is worth a total of $1.39 million. If he makes the final roster coming out of training camp, Lewis will carry a cap hit of $780,000. The Bills can cut him without incurring any dead-cap charge.
2020 Recap: Lewis did not make Buffalo’s initial roster, but he did sign to the practice squad. He was elevated to the game day roster for Week 1, and made his NFL debut in that game against the New York Jets, playing on six special teams snaps. The Bills elevated Lewis to the active roster prior to their Week 2 win over the Miami Dolphins, and he appeared on a combined nine special teams snaps in Week 2 and Week 3 combined. When veteran Josh Norman returned from a hamstring injury, the team released Lewis and re-signed him to the practice squad. However, that was a short-lived sentence, as Levi Wallace suffered a hamstring injury in Week 4, which meant that Lewis was back on the active roster for the Bills’ matchup with the Tennessee Titans. Lewis started that one at nickel corner, and he played on 98 percent of the team’s snaps. Tre’Davious White also missed that game, but the Bills were clearly impressed with Lewis. The following week, when White returned from injury, the Bills started Lewis over Taron Johnson against the Kansas City Chiefs. Lewis played just ten snaps before he suffered a wrist injury that ultimately ended his season. He finished the year with seven tackles, all of which came against Tennessee.
Positional outlook: Lewis once again finds himself battling Taron Johnson for the right to be the team’s top slot corner. Buffalo also drafted Rachad Wildgoose Jr. to compete in the slot, and they have Siran Neal, Dane Jackson, Nick McCloud, and Olaijah Griffin who could see time inside, as well.
2021 Offseason: Lewis is healthy and he participated in offseason workouts.
2021 Season outlook: Cam Lewis had a chance to carve out a role for himself last year, but injuries coupled with a strong second half of the 2020 season from Taron Johnson make it unlikely that he’ll see the same chances again this season. If he’s even going to crack the roster, he’ll have to beat out players like Jackson, Wildgoose, and Neal—and I think two out of three of those players are close to a lock to make the roster. Lewis is a nice player who works hard, but he’s more likely a practice-squad guy than he is an initial roster guy in 2021.