State of the Bills Roster: Offensive Tackles


Will Peters get his big extension? (buffalobills.com)

The "State of the Bills Roster" series trucks on! If you're new around these parts within the past nine months or so, this series is an off-season progression of posts in which we'll break down Buffalo's roster in-depth. From these discussions, we'll put together a "Community Needs List" in priority order, then begin researching potential free agent and draft acquisitions that will satisfy all of the Bills' needs as we perceive them.

Hey - at least this way, we're doing the job right. Right? Unlike a certain front office we're forced to support.

And now, we continue our foray into heavy-duty off-season work at Buffalo Rumblings. It's our "State of the Roster" series, off-season mode, and we'll continue the discussions by breaking down the situation at Buffalo's offensive tackles.

  Previous installments: QB :: RB :: TE :: WR

Opening statement
Buffalo's offensive line regressed slightly in 2008 after a strong 2007 performance. Chalk it up to the lack of continuity on the interior - a position we'll get to soon - and the holdout of left tackle Jason Peters. The holdout, the change at center and the injuries on the inside were the biggest reasons that Buffalo's offensive line was shuffling and underperforming for much of the season.

#71 Jason Peters (starter)
  6'4", 340 pounds
  Age: 27 in January 2009
  Contract status: 2 years remaining (UFA after 2010); owed $6.35M in base salaries
- About to participate in his first Pro Bowl - he's been selected two straight years now - Peters' contract squabble will be the talk of the off-season (personnel-wise) until a resolution is reached. Peters is looking for a deal that will make him one of the top paid players at his position. I've gone on record saying that the Bills would be smart to oblige. It'd be nice if Peters could eliminate some of the errors that cropped up this season, but even with those errors, he's clearly one of the most talented players at his position.

#68 Langston Walker (starter)
  6'8", 366 pounds
  Age: 30 in September 2009
  Contract status: 3 years remaining (UFA after 2011); owed $9 million in base salaries
- Walker proved his value to the team this past off-season when he proved adequate playing in Peters' stead at left tackle. He'll always be a guy that struggles with speed rushers, but all players have weaknesses. Walker is a steady veteran presence that doesn't make mistakes often and isn't paid an exorbitant salary. Very solid player.

#73 Kirk Chambers
  6'7", 315 pounds
  Age: 30 in March 2009
  Contract status: Unrestricted free agent.
- The retention of Chambers on the team's final roster had been a criticized move for the past couple of seasons, but Chambers acquitted himself remarkably this past season. The Bills may have inadvertently stumbled upon the "swing" tackle the team coveted, as Chambers proved that he can play well at both tackle positions as well as inside at guard. An unrestricted free agent, the Bills would be wise to re-sign Chambers and the versatility he brings.

#77 Demetrius Bell
  6'7", 307 pounds
  Age: 25 in May 2009
  Contract status: 3 years remaining (UFA after 2011); owed $1.41M in base salaries.
- Buffalo's coaching staff is really high on this kid, but they didn't want to put him on the field in 2008 because they wanted to keep him in their weight program. They think he'll be ready to contribute as a reserve in 2009, and he has the capability to start beyond that point.

#79 Jonathan Scott
  6'6", 318 pounds
  Age: 26 in January 2009
  Contract status: Undisclosed.
- Signed at season's end to fill out the roster when Peters got hurt. Was not active. A talented athlete, Scott hasn't cut it at the NFL level. He probably won't be around for training camp next season, though I wouldn't mind if he was there for competition purposes.

Other tackles on the roster: Chris Denman (practice squad)

The Breakdown
Keepers: Walker, Bell. Walker is just a good player, and he'll be better if he has a good tight end next to him. Bell is an outstanding developmental project that could start producing for Buffalo as soon as next year.

Extendables: Peters, Chambers.. He wants the contract, he needs the contract, he deserves the contract. Give him what he wants - he'll work harder when he gets it. Chambers' versatility is far too valuable to let him walk this off-season, and it'll give the team more time with Bell.

Expendables: Scott, Denman. Neither is really worthy of an NFL roster spot.

Questionables: None.

Goners: None.

What we need: Honestly, I don't think the Bills need to do much work here. Obviously, getting Peters his new deal and re-signing Chambers should be priorities. The Bills won't be keeping more than four tackles next year, and the quartet of Peters, Walker, Chambers and Bell is more than acceptable - it's actually quite good. For the first time this off-season, we've got a position that's pretty much set. Just get those extensions taken care of, Misters Inner Circle.

That's it. I'm done with the easy stuff. Now it's on you, folks. Got any more tough love for Jason Peters to spew? Want to talk more about what a pleasant surprise Chambers has been? Have any names of potential additions you'd like to throw into the ring? Have fun with this, and let's get brainstorming.
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