by Mario Granata
When Bills fans start talking about the 2015 season the discussion that is a close second to the quarterback position is the offensive line. It is quite a turnaround what Buffalo has been able to do in free agency with their skill positions, but if the ‘beef’ up front isn’t doing their job, it doesn’t matter who is in the backfield or on the outside running routes. What are the Bills planning to do to address the 5 positions up front on the offensive line?
Image courtesy of Associated Press
With all the off-season moves, the Bills still have the idea of Cordy Glenn hanging in the background, as he is in a contract year. If Glenn stays at tackle for 16 games, and plays like he has for his entire Bills career, he will expect Joe Thomas money. As it stands, Buffalo would not be able to meet that demand with the current contracts that they have on the books. An option would be to move Glenn down to guard if that is a dire need which would drop his cap hit and overall contract in 2016. The price of a tackle is a lot higher than the price of a guard, after all.
Wood to Guard?
It seems inconceivable that the staple of the Buffalo Bills line has been Eric Wood at center. What people tend to forget is that Wood came into the NFL at guard, and was shifted to center. It seems unlikely right now for him to move, but if the Bills happen to take C Hroniss Grasu (Oregon) with the 50th pick, this might be where they are heading. Wood's contract would be consistent with what top guards make.
Building a Bully:
The Bills went out and made a decision to sign Richie Incognito. Now, this move came with varying opinions as it transpired just after Rex Ryan’s press conference and his famed “We are going to build a bully” speech. My contention on the comment was that Ryan wanted this team to be tougher in all stages of the game. Incognito, on the field, is a very mean and tenacious player, and one that you need at guard if you are going to be successful.
Henderson, Richardson and Kouandjio:
The rookie class of 2014 saw Seantrel Henderson emerge as the starter at right tackle after playing very well in the preseason for the injured Cordy Glenn. If the Bills look to move Glenn inside, Henderson could flip sides, which would open up Cyrus Kouandjio to play right tackle, and if the rumors are true about Kouandjo’s progression this offseason, look for the Bills to make the move.
Richardson had trouble at guard, which is probably the reason why Buffalo restructured Kraig Urbik to give them some insurance. All three of these players have affordable deals, which keeps the cap low while the Bills figure out what to do.
Chris Williams and Evan Mathis:
Williams came into Buffalo with high expectations, starting 16 games at guard for the St. Louis Rams in the tough NFC West. His injury raises some questions to his durability, which is the other reason why the Bills felt the need to restructure Urbik. When healthy, he could be a player who is productive for the Bills, but he has to be on the field to do so.
Evan Mathis, who was highlighted in a previous Hashtag Sports article ‘Could Mathis be a Bill?’ has the veteran savvy to step in and open up some holes for LeSean McCoy, something he has some familiarity with. The Eagles are looking to get rid of him, and are probably waiting until the draft to exchange him for a 3rd round pick, but Mathis would give the Bills some stability up front. Looking at the trio of Incognito, Wood, and Mathis, the Bills would have experience at the position they have been looking to solidify since the departure of Andy Levitre.
As it stands right now, here is the Hashtag Crew’s take on the Offensive Line:
Paul: LT Glenn, LG Incognito, C Wood, RG Urbik, RT Henderson
Mario: LT Glenn, LG C. Williams, C Wood, RG Incognito, RT Henderson
If the season opener was tomorrow, who do you have as your starting offensive line?
Also check out
Why the Bills are Waiting
Reed to Rambo
Could Evan Mathis be a Bill?
Image courtesy of Bills Fanatics