The veteran signed in the summer and was benched midway through the fall
The Buffalo Bills lost starting guard Jon Feliciano to a torn pectoral muscle in August of 2020. Rather than entrust the guard spot to unproven Ike Boettger or shuffle the intended tackles around by moving either Daryl Williams or Ty Nsekhe inside, general manager Brandon Beane went out and signed some veteran insurance.
On the surface, signing a guard with 79 starts to his name is never a bad idea. When you can sign that player on August 6, it’s a move that is difficult to question. The only cause for concern, really, is why that veteran lineman would be available so late into the offseason. Injuries? Ineffectiveness? Unreasonable financial demands?
Coming in at number four on our list of the worst salary cap values of 2020 for the Buffalo Bills is that veteran guard—a player who just did not perform well overall.
G Brian Winters
2020 Salary Cap Figure: $3 million (1.36 percent of Buffalo’s salary cap)
2020 Stats: 16 games, 9 starts, 7 penalties, 3 sacks allowed
Winters did not start either of Buffalo’s first two games, as Buffalo went with Cody Ford and Quinton Spain on either side of Mitch Morse. The Bills benched Spain following that Week 2 win in favor of Winters, who started the next nine games for the Bills. Winters himself was benched in favor of Ike Boettger in Week 13. Throughout his time in the lineup, Winters failed to generate much push in the run game, and he was easily the weakest link along the offensive front for the Bills. Winters was active as a backup for the rest of the year, and he saw significant action in the season finale. While he might have made less money than a player like Tyler Kroft, the prominent role that he played in a premium position combined with playing poorly enough to lose his job to a former undrafted player in Boettger led me to place him just one spot above Kroft on the list. To put it simply—the scheme dictated, to an extent, Kroft’s lack of production, as the Bills’ offense was designed to throw to the receivers more often than the tight ends. Winters was a part of the reason why Buffalo’s run scheme couldn’t function well, and after he was benched, Josh Allen went on a crazy tear where he was only sacked four times to end the season. Winters may not have been the only reason that the offensive line wasn’t operating at max efficiency, but he was its weakest link, hence his placement on our list of the worst 2020 cap values for the Buffalo Bills.