by Mario Granata
Much has been talked about this off-season with the Buffalo Bills and how their final roster of 53 will shake out. Hashtag Sports has trimmed down the roster, both examining the coaches (Rex Ryan, Dennis Thurman and Greg Roman) as well as the cap numbers that are involved to get the Bills in a position to field a roster come September 13th against the Colts. Here are the projected players on offense.
Offense: (Starters in Bold)
Quarterbacks (2) – Ej Manuel, Tyrod Taylor
The acquisition of Matt Cassel has proven to be not what the Buffalo Bills expected and by releasing or trading Cassel (if they can) the Bills free up close to 5 million dollars in cap space. Matt Simms will continue the trend of former Jet players that will be eventually let go. The hype surrounding Taylor and the need for Manuel to perform this year will be just enough for the Bills to be successful. To put it in perspective when looking at the cap number for the Bills quarterbacks, there are 33 quarterbacks from 28 different teams who are making more than the combined total of Manuel and Taylor. This could be the reason why the Bills can spend money in other places, and why the fans are so concerned about this position going into 2015. Hopefully this isn’t a “you get what you pay for” type of deal for the Bills. Just remember, Roman got Kaepernick a $100 million dollar deal in San Francisco so what can he do with a quarterback (Manuel) who actually has played in a Pro-Style offense?
Cap Number: $3,306,597
Running Backs (5) – LeSean McCoy, Fred Jackson, Boobie Dixon, Karlos Williams, Jerome Felton
The buzz around Buffalo took a decided turn on March 3rd of this year, when the Bills traded Kiko Alonso for LeSean McCoy. Instantly two statements came to mind: Will the Bills now address their line and what does this mean for Fred Jackson? The funniest thing about that trade was that CJ Spiller was on the set of NFL Network when it was announced and his reaction was priceless. Nevertheless, the Bills locked up a Top 3 back, and decided to pair him with the best pass blocking back in Bills (arguably NFL) history.
The Bills then took Karlos Williams for the eventual departure of Jackson, and is too valuable to place on the practice squad (since it is highly unlikely that he would clear wavers). Boobie Dixon’s contributions to the special teams will secure his spot even though he washed out of San Francisco when Roman was there, and Jerome Felton, who previously led the way for Adrian Peterson’s 2,000 yard season in Minnesota, gives Roman that added element he needs in his jumbo packages.
Cap Number: $11,736,754
Wide Receivers (7) – Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Percy Harvin, Chris Hogan, Marcus Easley, Marquise Goodwin, Dezmin Lewis
It seems like a lot of receivers to have on the roster, but with the lack of depth that the Bills had last season, it was a moral imperative for the Bills to load up in 2015. Also, when you factor in that Hogan, Easley, and Goodwin’s contributions are going to lean more toward Special Teams, while Watkins and Woods carry the heavy load of reps on offense along with Harvin (when the Bills go 3-wide) the number doesn’t seem as large. If Deonte Thompson and Justin Brown were as effective as they could be, the Bills probably wouldn’t have selected Dezmin Lewis (albeit in the 7th round) to give that taller presence on the outside.
Cap Number: $13,519,471
Offensive Line (8) – Eric Wood, Cordy Glenn, John Miller, Cyril Richardson, Cyrus Kouandjio, Seantrel Henderson, Richie Incognito, Kraig Urbik
Currently there are only 3 tackles on the roster (Glenn, Kouandjio, and Henderson) and depending on how 2015 plays out, that number could go down to 2 depending on how the Bills decide to use Kouandjio or Glenn. There have been conflicting reports about Kouandjio stemming from last season. One report had him working out at guard (which he is probably best suited) while others mention his improvements at tackle. The Bills stole Glenn in the 2nd round, and then hit on Henderson in the 7th, but the money that will be due Glenn next offseason, it might be in the Bills best interest financially if they move Glenn to guard. This will shift Henderson to left tackle, and Kouandjio to right. If Kouandjio can hold at right tackle, this could be a dominant (and young) line for the Bills in the years to come. That is a big IF however. With Aaron Kromer out, the Bills might have a minor setback in the progression of these players, so look for experience to win out in the first few games, and if the Bills struggle, look for changes to be made and made fast.
Cap Number: $14,276,676
Tight End (4) – Charles Clay, Chris Gragg, Nick O’Leary, Marqueis Gray
With Greg Roman at the helm, he loves using multiple tight end sets, and with the versatility of the position for the Bills, he has many options to choose from. Clay has played both tight end and H back, and Gray was a former quarterback, so both of these players have a high IQ when it comes to the x’s and o’s. Another way to look at it would be to tap Clay to play the Vernon Davis role while Gray plays the Bruce Miller role that is until O’Leary can fully grasp the offense. Gragg might be the odd man out (since I don’t fully know the final cuts) but with all of these players being 26 or younger and averaging 6’2” 245 pounds, they can all play the signature role somewhere in Roman’s scheme albeit blocking or receiving.
Cap Number: $6,649,715
Total Players: 26
Cap Number: $49,489,213
Of course this list could change, but looking at the versatility of the players in each position, and the cap numbers that go along with the players involved, the Bills have a very explosive and affordable offense going into 2015. Question marks are all over the offense, from the quarterback position on down, but I guess that is normal when there hasn’t been any football for 6 months.