UPDATE: The Buffalo Bills signed Xavier Rhodes late on Tuesday night. His deal is for the practice squad with the option to come up. It’s possible he could even be elevated and active on Sunday.
The Buffalo Bills need new players.
Not because there is anything wrong with the ones they have. There just simply aren’t enough of them.
Despite sitting at 2-1 on the season and remaining the Super Bowl favorites, the Bills have started to rack up a concerning number of injuries. After practice on Monday, Sean McDermott updated the team’s injury report, and it’s become a laundry list of issues.
|Micah Hyde||Safety||Neck (out for the season)|
|Tommy Doyle||Offensive Tackle||ACL (out for the season)|
|Tre’Davious White||Cornerback||ACL (on IR – eligible to return Week 5)|
|Ike Boettger||Offensive Guard||Achilles (on IR – eligible to return Week 5)|
|Marquez Stevenson||Wide receiver||Foot (on IR – eligible to return Week 5)|
|Ryan Bates||Offensive Guard||Concussion (TBD)|
|Jake Kumerow||Wide receiver||Ankle (should miss a few weeks)|
|Spencer Brown||Offensive Tackle||Heat Illness (Questionable)|
|Dane Jackson||Cornerback||Neck (Was hospitalized. Return unknown)|
|Christian Benford||Cornerback||Broken Hand (should miss a few weeks)|
|Ed Oliver||Defensive Tackle||Ankle (Questionable)|
|Jordan Phillips||Defensive Tackle||Hamstring (Questionable)|
|Mitch Morse||Center||Elbow (Questionable)|
|Jordan Poyer||Safety||Foot (Questionable)|
|Greg Van Roten||Center||Heat Illness (Questionable)|
Given that the most severe injuries have been suffered by players in the secondary, there is some legitimate concern that the Bills are too thin at the cornerback position.
Tre’Davious White can be activated before Week 5, but he wouldn’t have practiced with the team at all, so it’s highly unlikely that he would be activated and ready to play that soon. Dane Jackson is still recovering from a scary neck injury that had him hospitalized, and Christian Benford is at least weeks away from returning from a fractured hand. The Bills will likely keep Cam Lewis on the active roster for the foreseeable future and maybe even elevated Ja’Marcus Ingram from the practice squad, but that might not be enough.
On Tuesday, the team started to look outside the organization for reinforcements.
FA CB Xavier Rhodes is visiting with the #Bills today, per source.
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) September 27, 2022
While Rhodes hasn’t looked like the same player in recent years, there is some thought that the Bills’ zone-heavy scheme would play to his skill set and help to bring him back closer to the talented player he’s been for much of his career. Rhodes also played under current Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier for one year, back in 2013, when Frazier was the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings.
Over the next couple of days, it would not be surprising to see more cornerbacks brought in to One Bills Drive. A few names to keep in mind would be:
- A.J. Bouye – 30 years old, 14 career INTs, 75 career passes defended, one Pro Bowl, one AP second-team
- Chris Harris Jr. – 33 years old, 22 career INTs, 94 career passes defended, four Pro Bowls, two AP First-team
- Kevin King, – 26 years old, seven career INTs, 30 career passes defended
- Malcolm Butler – 30 years old, 17 career INTs, 82 career passes defended, one Pro Bowl, one AP second-team
- Ross Cockrell – 30 years old, seven career INTs, 52 passes defended
- Janoris Jenkins – 33 years old, 27 career INTs, 99 passes defended, one Pro Bowl, one AP second-team
While cornerback is the not the only position where the Bills are dealing with multiple injuries, it may be the only one in which injury reinforcements are needed.
Jordan Poyer should, hopefully, be back this week and Jaquan Johnson and Damar Hamlin acquitted themselves well enough to help fill in for Micah Hyde. Johnson has been somebody the Bills have been high on for the last few years. Since Cam Lewis can also play some safety, the Bills could have four safety options without signing another.
Now that Gabe Davis is back and Khalil Shakir can easily be activated on game day, it would be a surprise to see the Bills sign another wide receiver. Even if Kumerow is out for a few weeks, the team could choose to elevate pre-season darling Isaiah Hodgins off of the Practice Squad; although, the special teams would take a hit there.
The only other potential place where the Bills could logically seek help in on the offensive line. The unit has not performed well this year, and Greg Van Roten seems a bit in-over-his-head as a starter filling in for Mitch Morse. While the team hopes to get Boettger back soon, there is no real clear idea of when that is, so bringing in a few potential depth centers or guards would make sense.
A few names to keep an eye on could be old friend Daryl Williams, former Washington Commanders guard Ereck Flowers, former Detroit Lion guard/tackle Tyrell Crosby, or former Panthers center Matt Paradis.