State Of The Buffalo Bills Roster: Guard, Center

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 27: C.J. Spiller #28 of the Buffalo Bills follows the block of Andy Levitre #67 against David Harris #52 of the New York Jets during their game on November 27, 2011 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Buffalo Rumblings is in the process of breaking down the Buffalo Bills' roster position by position. Installments you may have missed: WR, OT, DE, LB, CB.

Heading into the 2012 regular season, the Buffalo Bills appear to have solid depth on the interior offensive line, where they have four capable and experienced players and a handful of interesting developmental-type guys. They're in a good position for this year.

Next year, however, is where it could get hairy. Three of the aforementioned group of four players - Andy Levitre, Kraig Urbik and Chad Rinehart - are all scheduled for free agency next year. That's a situation worth monitoring for two reasons: it only adds to the competition already inherent to the position, and it makes the race for the depth spots inside even more intriguing.

ANDY LEVITRE
Age: 26
Contract: UFA in 2013. Will make $565,000 in base salary in the final year of his rookie deal.

Levitre was having a break-out season in 2011 before injuries forced him first to left tackle, then to a disastrous stint at center; the position flipping completely derailed his momentum. Ideally, Levitre will play 16 games at left guard next season; if he does, he could be in for his best season and a highly lucrative pay day next spring.

ERIC WOOD
Age: 26
Contract: UFA in 2014. Will make $1.725 million in base salary over the final two years of his rookie deal.

For the second time in three years, Wood ended the season on IR with a leg injury, though his torn ACL was slightly less catastrophic than the broken leg he suffered as a rookie in 2009. When he's healthy, Wood is a solid center, but as he enters his fourth season, it's beginning to feel like he'll only reach the upside that made him worthy of being a Round 1 pick if he can stay healthy.

KRAIG URBIK
Age: 26 (27 in September 2012)
Contract: UFA in 2013. Signed a one-year, $1.26 million restricted free agent deal.

Handed the starting right guard job at the outset of 2011 training camp, Urbik played well as a starter, then added to his CV by capably filling in for Wood in the pivot after Levitre's disastrous play at center in Miami. Retained on a one-year restricted free agent offer this off-season, Urbik will be the starting right guard again, and will also likely be the team's first choice to play center if Wood gets hurt again.

CHAD RINEHART
Age: 27
Contract: UFA in 2013. Signed a one-year, $1.26 million restricted free agent deal.

Rinehart signed the same RFA offer that Urbik signed; it was an unusual move in the sense that Rinehart, in an ideal world, wouldn't play an awful lot, given that he's a backup. Injuries, however, have forced Rinehart into the lineup on numerous occasions at both guard spots, and he has played well in those instances. Experienced depth players don't come easy, but the Bills have themselves a good one with Rinehart.

COLIN BROWN
Age: 26 (27 in August 2012)
Contract: RFA in 2013. Scheduled to make $490,000 in base salary in 2012.

When the 2011 season started, Brown was a massive former fifth-round pick that was inactive on game days and buried on the depth chart. By year's end, he was the team's starting center - and adequate performance in that role have made him a more valuable reserve entering the new season. That versatility is valuable, but the Bills did draft competition for Brown, as well.

MARK ASPER
Age: 26 (27 in November 2012)
Contract: UFA in 2016. Signed a four-year rookie deal in May 2012.

Right now, it's safe to consider this sixth-round pick out of Oregon as direct competition with Brown at center and players listed below him on this list at guard. Asper fits the mold of what the Bills like in interior reserves: he's gigantic and smart, and comes from an up-tempo collegiate offense, so we know he'll be in shape. Asper is playing center for the first time in his career; his progress there in camp will go a long way toward determining his spot on the depth chart.

MICHAEL JASPER
Age: 25 (26 in October 2012)
Contract: ERFA in 2014. Signed a three-year contract off of the team's practice squad in December 2011.

Fans have loved him since the moment he was drafted, because humans this big should not be this athletic. He spent his rookie season chiefly on the practice squad, and with that year under his belt, he'll enter 2012 training camp in better shape to compete for a roster spot.

KEITH WILLIAMS
Age: 24
Contract: Signed a reserve/future deal in January 2012.

A 2011 sixth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Williams is another huge player with some upside. He ended last season on the practice squad, landed a reserve/future deal, and will compete for a roster spot this summer.

JAKE VERMIGLIO
Age: 24 (25 in November 2012)
Contract: Signed a reserve/future deal in January 2012.

Vermiglio - one of an unusual three players from North Carolina State on the roster - is in the same position as Williams: he's huge, ended 2011 on the practice squad, and landed a reserve/future deal to compete for a roster spot this summer.

DAVID SNOW
Age: 22 (23 in November 2012)
Contract: Undisclosed. Signed as an undrafted free agent in April 2012.

An undrafted free agent out of Texas, Snow is another option at center for the Bills, who couldn't have enough options at that position a year ago. Snow lacks the ideal size the team looks for (he's listed at 6'4" and 305 pounds), so he may need to show movement skills to stick with the team in any capacity. He is, however, a highly experienced and productive prospect, and fits the team's zone-blocking scheme quite well.

POSITIONAL OUTLOOK: Nothing has changed. Levitre, Wood and Urbik will be the starters, and Rinehart is a proven depth option that has performed adequately (and sometimes very well) as a starter. Wood and Urbik can both play center, giving the Bills two pivot options within a group of four capable players. Take that, and add in two more gigantic options at center (Brown and Asper), as well as a few developmental prospects headlined by the fan favorite Jasper, and this is a strong area for the Bills. At least for this season, that is.

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