The Buffalo Bills head back to training camp on July 24th. This year, more so than others, the Bills will have some roster battles to play out during camp. With new running backs and wide receivers in town, as well as a new punter and tight end, these battles could get interesting. But how many are worth watching?
The Bills have quite a few to watch this year. Bringing in guys like Jamison Crowder, Khalil Shakir, James Cook, Duke Johnson, Matt Araiza, and a future Hall of Fame pass rusher in Von Miller, the Bills front office will have a lot of long nights figuring out the final 53-man roster. However, this could be the best one they’ve constructed if they play their cards right. Which means we may see some players traded for future draft picks.
The Buffalo Bills brought in Duke Johnson and James Cook this offseason to go along with the Devin Singletary/Zack Moss combo we’ve seen over the last couple of years. But, who is the odd man out here? Some Bills fans wouldn’t mind seeing Moss get out of town as he hasn’t proven to be anything but a “37-year old Frank Gore” since entering the league.
With the Bills seemingly placing an emphasis on receiving backs this offseason, that would mean Moss has an uphill battle to climb. Since entering the league as a third-round pick in 2020, Moss has totaled 826 rushing yards, 8 rushing TDs, 292 receiving yards, and 2 receiving TDs. Cook should figure to take most of the targets out of the backfield, with some Singletary and Johnson mixed in there too.
The returner job was previously held by Isaiah McKenzie. But with Tavon Austin and Marquez Stevenson both on the roster, McKenzie could have some competition… and there’s nothing wrong with that either. McKenzie figures to have a larger role with the offense than he did in years past, possibly sharing some snaps with Crowder in the slot.
Stevenson didn’t see too much time at returner last year. Between dealing with a foot injury to begin the season and McKenzie getting the job back to finish off the year, Stevenson was left fighting to see the field. With the speedy Austin also in Buffalo, Stevenson could have a tougher time making the final roster.
I think after the awful punting Bills fans witnessed last season, a lot of them will have their eyes on this position. More specifically, they will have their eyes on sixth-rounder Matt Araiza, who has had a strong start to Bills workouts so far. Continuing with a strong training camp and preseason should push Matt Haack out of Buffalo once and for all. And, so far through spring practices, the edge goes to the Punt God, given his 80-yard punt to kick off OTAs last month.
Final Wide Receiver spot
The Buffalo Bills will most likely keep seven wide receivers, with the top six including Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, Jamison Crowder, Khalil Shakir, Isaiah McKenzie, and Jake Kumerow. But the seventh spot will be up for grabs between Isaiah Hodgins, Marquez Stevenson, and Tavon Austin (among others). Whoever wins the returner role will most likely be the final WR rostered. However, it will make for a fun storyline throughout camp. Although, if he can stay healthy, Hodgins could finally show some flashes in the preseason as he gets ready for his third year in the league. If he does, the Bills could be in for some tough decisions at the end of the summer.