A week off can feel like a lot longer when your team is 7-3 and in first place in their division….or when you lose on a Hail Mary pass and just want to get over it as quickly as possible. But as you sit at home and watch the rest of the NFL schedule Sunday, here’s some housekeeping to keep track of what’s going on with the Bills roster before they head into their final six games, starting next Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers:
As of Sunday morning, the Bills have 51 players on their active roster. They’re allowed 53 throughout the week. Cornerback Josh Norman is on the Reserve/Covid-19 list, which means he doesn’t count against the active roster. However, one of the open spots is likely going to go to him as soon as he clears all protocols, which could be at any time. The team has one more open roster spot.
INJURED RESERVE UPDATES
The Bills currently have five players on Injured Reserve. Here are each of their situations:
• LB Matt Milano: Was placed on IR on November 7 with a pectoral injury He’s missed two games, which means he must miss at least one more. He’ll be eligible to begin practicing again on Monday, November 30. Once he begins practicing, the team will have 21 days to place him on the active roster.
• CB Cam Lewis: Was placed on IR on October 30 with a wrist injury. He’s missed the minimum requirement of three games, which means he’s now eligible to begin practicing again. Once he begins practicing, the team will have 21 days to place him on the active roster.
• LB Tyrel Dodson: Was placed on IR on October 24 with a hamstring injury. He’s missed the minimum requirement of three games (has missed four so far), which means he’s eligible to begin practicing again. Once he begins practicing, the team will have 21 days to place him on the active roster.
• WR Isaiah Hodgins: Went on IR on September 7 with a shoulder injury. Since he did make the final roster and he’s missed the minimum requirement of three games (has missed all ten so far), he’s still eligible to play this season, but at this point that looks unlikely. If he does begin practicing, the team will have 21 days to place him on the active roster.
• LB Del’Shawn Phillips: Was placed on IR on November 14 with a quad injury. It was his second time being placed on Injured Reserve this season, so he’s ineligible to return to the Bills active roster in 2020.
PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO PERFORM
• TE Tommy Sweeney: Was placed on Reserve/PUP on September 4, prior to week one. He’s already missed the required six games. He must either begin practicing this week or be placed on Injured Reserve for the rest of the season. If he does begin practicing this week, the team will then have 21 days to add him to the active roster.
As stated above, CB Josh Norman is the only player on the Reserve/Covid-19 list. He does not count against the team’s 53-man active roster while on the list and can be removed from the list and activated as soon as he clears all league testing protocols.
The Bills had two players opt-out of the 2020 season, DT Star Lotulelei and CB EJ Gaines. Neither is eligible to return at all this season, even for the playoffs, and both will revert back to their 90-man offseason roster in March when the new league year begins, at their contractual status’ they were scheduled to have prior to 2020.
PRACTICE SQUAD ELEVATIONS AND RULES
2020 NFL rules state teams can elevate two players from their practice squad each week to allow them to have a 55-man roster on game day. Those players automatically revert back to the practice squad following that week’s game, without having to be subject to waivers. However, players can only be elevated a maximum of two times per team. After that, they must be signed to a contract in order to join the 53-man active roster, and a roster spot must either be open or made available for them with corresponding move.
Also, once player is signed to his team’s active roster on an actual 53-man roster contract, he is no longer eligible for the two elevations for that club, even if he were to be released and re-sign with the practice squad. This also goes for any player who made the team’s initial 53-man roster. Players who played on another teams’ active roster, or had already been elevated twice by another team under these elevation rules, but then signed to Bills practice squad, would still be eligible for two elevations with the Bills.
Teams are also allowed one-for-one replacements for any active player on the Reserve/Covid list. Those replacements do not count against their two elevations for these purposes.
Here are the players currently on the Bills practice squad and the number of elevations remaining under these circumstances:
2 elevations remaining:
• QB Davis Webb
• RB Antonio Williams
• TE Nate Becker
• OT Trey Adams
• OL Jonotthan Harrison
• DE Mike Love
• LB Darron Lee
1 elevation remaining:
• DE Brian Cox Jr.
• WR Duke Williams
• WR Jake Kumerow
• OL Jordan Devey
• DT Brandin Bryant
• S Josh Thomas
• CB Daryl Worley
No elevations remaining
• LB Deon Lacey
• CB Dane Jackson
• RB Christian Wade
WEEK 15 AT BRONCOS
The league will make an announcement soon on when the Bills at Broncos week 15 game will be played in Denver. That game is one of five being considered to be played on Saturday, December 19, and I’m told that game is being strongly considered as one of the three games chosen to be played on Saturday. The league usually schedules kickoff times for the games played that Saturday for 1:00, 4:30, and 8:15 PM Eastern.
NON-SUNDAY AFTERNOON BILLS
If the week 15 game is played on Saturday, that means the Bills will go the entire month of December without playing a game on Sunday at 1 pm, and only have one game on Sunday at all. They are also scheduled to play at the 49ers and Patriots on Monday Night Football and ay home against the Steelers on Sunday Night Football.
SALARY CAP SPACE
The NFLPA’s public salary cap report shows the Bills as currently having $4,554,869 space available for the remainder of 2020. That number will decrease slightly for any players they sign to the active roster as the season goes on. But whoever money is left over can be rolled into next year’s available cap space.
If you’re one to want to look ahead to next season already, here are the Bills’ opponents and where they’ll be playing them in 2021. Dates will be determined next spring:
• HOME: Patriots, Dolphins, Jets, Texans, Colts, Falcons, Panthers, Same place finisher in AFC North
• AWAY: Patriots, Dolphins, Jets, Jaguars, Titans, Saints, Buccaneers, Same place finisher as AFC West
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