Looking Forward: What Questions Still Remain for the Bills?

Photo by USA Today.

Free agency frenzy and draft season has come and gone. The 2022 Bills are starting to come into focus. They are betting Super Bowl Favorites, are fawned over by much of the national media, and have more national TV games than ever before. Yet, questions remain about parts of the roster, from contracts, to depth, to special team roles.

Where does the Jordan Poyer Contract Stand?  

The Bills still have an unresolved contract situation with Jordan Poyer. You don’t hire Drew Rosenhause to play on a team friendly, under market deal. Especially if that deal is in its last year. This draft didn’t do a ton to answer how this situation may be resolved. Had the Bills gone safety in the first 2 days,that may have signaled they are not confident with negotiations. Christian Benford has been projected by some experts, as someone who could make the transition to safety (like Poyer). But as a rookie day 3 pick, that time is more than likely, 2 to 3 years down the road. Yet, despite the initial posturing from Poyer’s camp, not much has been said about the state of negotiations. Hold outs have all but gone extinct with the new CBA, but could Poyer stage a “hold in” where he attends camp but doesn’t participate in drills? (Melvin Ingram famously did this during the Chargers Hard Knocks training camp.) Messaging from both camps will be something to monitor as OTA and training camp season ramp up.  

How Will Running Back Reps Be Split?

The Bills head into camp with a deep and experienced backfield. Regardless of what you think he can do, Devin Singletary has been indisputably the best back on the roster the past 3 seasons. Zack Moss seemed to regress after a promising rookie year, but has still shown flashes. Duke Johnson is an experienced, pass catching vet that the Bills settled for after being duped by JD McKissic. And James Cook is the new, shiny toy on the Bills offense, with top tier speed and pass catching ability. The last 3 years have shown us that the Bills only like to keep two offensive running backs active. (I say offensive because of Taiwan Jones is a running back in name only.) How this room shakes out could give us early insight into what a Ken Dorsey offense is. Does Dosey’s offensive scheme require more than two backs be active per week? (New Englandesq) Are there touches for everyone in the room? Could Zack Moss, who was benched a couple times down the stretch, have fallen out of favor with the staff? Could one of the veteran backs be end of training camp trade bait? This is easily the most interesting position group going into camp. 

Who is Backing Up the Interior Offensive Line? 

The emergence of Ryan Bates was one of the true feel good stories of 2021 for the Bills. Coupled with veteran Rodger Saffold, the Bills guard seems poised for a rebound in 2022. But what if Ryan Bates, who only played a quarter of the season, turns into a pumpkin? What if Saffold, who has plenty of mileage on him, goes down?  Well right now that back up would seem to be Cody Ford, who has been, well, not great to say the least. Bills love versatility in their lineman. Is late addition David Queensberry, who played tackle last year, someone who can play inside in a pinch? As it stands right now, Cody Ford is the only experienced back up guard in the room. Perhaps the Bills staff believes that Aaron Kromer can unlock what has been missing in Cody Ford’s game. If there was a position group primed for a UDFA to steal a roster spot on, this would be the spot.

Who is Returning Kicks and Punts? 

Anyone who has followed me long enough knows how I feel about Isaiah McKenzie as a returner. To give you the reader’s digest version, he has had multiple opportunities to lock it down over the years, and simply has not. You also probably know, I remain bullish on Marquez Stevenson as a returner (as I think the Bills are, seeing how the rostered 7 wide receivers at the end of 2021 to presumably protect him from getting poached off the practice squad.) But even I will admit,he didn’t do much to endear himself to Bills fans (or the coaching staff). Ignoring the hill I’ve spent the last year and a half dying on, there isn’t a clear returner on the roster.  2022 draft pick Khalil Shakir had some experience in college and it is reasonable to expect he will at least get some run in camp. But after that the only other reasonable opinion, is safe but not flashy, Micah Hyde, who at this point in career, McDermott probably would like to avoid putting him on return duties.

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