OTA’s are underway, and the offseason is in full swing. Were just about 100 days out from the season starting, and the excitement for this Buffalo Bills team is building. Brandon Beane has put together a roster of very talented players on all sides. Recent draft picks and free agency pickups have made this possibly the most talented roster on paper since the glory days of the 90s. However, they can’t all make the 53-man roster. Some players will have to be cut or dumped to the practice squad, and they won’t all be freshmen. Some veteran Bills players will not be on the team this season, and here is my guess as to who will be left behind.
Ford was drafted in 2019 and started for the Bills that year as a guard, or was it a tackle? You can see what I’m getting at here. Due to injuries on the team and to himself, Ford has shifted around the Bills’ O-line since the beginning of his tenure with the team. His playing abilities on the field have never been anything remarkable, and he is most remembered for the penalty in the 2019 playoff game against the Texans.
His blind-side block caused the Bills to move out of field goal range and cost them the game. Since then, things haven’t gotten any better for the O-lineman. He spent the better part of 2020 injured and saw his snap count decrease as Ryan Bates was brought up last year.
This year, the Bills re-signed Ryan Bates in a deal of four years and $17 million. That news does not bode well for Ford, who is still on his rookie deal; fortunately, he’s still cheap enough to keep. Nevertheless, if the Bills need to shore up a little cap space to bring on some new players, you can be sure Ford is at the top of the chopping block.
Drafted in 2020, AJ Epenesa has not played as well as you would expect the 54th overall pick to perform. In his two years with the Bills, he’s recorded less than 30 tackles and only 2.5 sacks. As a comparison, Greg Rousseau, who was drafted last year and whom Epenesa currently sits behind on the depth chart, recorded four sacks and over 40 tackles in his first season.
Epenesa’s weakness lies in his technique and inability to get leverage when playing against larger opponents. Because of this, he saw more time on the field as a special team’s player than as a defensive end. Another notch against him is that the Bills went out of their way to bring back Shaq Lawson and signed superstar Von Miller to help ratchet up the pressure on opposing quarterbacks. With the added competition to the roster and the lack of big plays, I think his days on the team may be numbered.
It pains me to type it as Sweeney is a team favorite and seems to be close pals with Josh Allen, who vouches for him regularly. Sweeney joined the Bills that same year as Dawson Knox. Both were drafted in 2019, with Sweeney being picked in the seventh round (Knox was drafted in the third).
Right from the get-go, Sweeney was seen as a backup to Tyler Kroft’s backup. Kroft was also brought on during 2019 as a free agent; he injured himself early, allowing Knox to step up and take a more prominent role.
In 2020 Sweeney never saw the field as injuries; Covid and an unfortunate bought with Myocarditis left him sidelined. He did manage to fight back and found some playing time in 2021 but only produced 44 yards and one touchdown. Dawson Knox would have almost 600 yards and nine touchdowns in that same year.
The nail in the coffin for Sweeney comes in the form of the signing of OJ Howard. All of this, combined with the fact that they haven’t bothered to find him a place on Special Teams, says to me that Tommy Sweeney, while incredibly likable, will not be on the roster come September.