For quite a while it has been assumed that Stevie Johnson, TJ Graham, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin were mortal locks for the 53 man roster. Nothing this preseason has suggested any reason to doubt the assumption. If anything, Goodwin may be making a case for more meaningful game reps at the expense of one or more of the other three.
Another assumption is that the Bills will carry 6 WRs on the 53 man roster. This would seem to make sense given that the defense Buffalo intends to employ tends to suck a roster spot or two away from the offense. There's a good chance that the team has 3 specialists (LS, K, P), 26 or 27 defenders and 23 or 24 offensive players. Of the offensive players it's a good bet the team keeps at least 8 OL and more likely 9, possibly even 10. If Tuel keeps it up he'll make the team think long and hard about whether to keep 2 or 3 QBs. We expect to see at least 3 RB/FB and 3 TE.
Say the Bills try to have their cake and eat it too. Because several of Buffalo's reserve OLs stand a good chance of being available later in the season if there is an injury, the team might roll with 8, leaving 15 or 16 other roster spots. If the RBs and TEs together account for 7 the team would be down to 8 or 9 slots. 6 WRs and either 2 or 3 QBs would fill in the remaining holes. That's pretty thin. Sure, the team could ensure 24 offensive roster spots and go 9 OL along with 2 QBs, 7 TE/RB, 6 WR. Either way, it's hard to see the team keeping 7 WRs without making some other positional group an afterthought.
So, back to the WRs and the glut of guys looking to claim one of the two remaining roster spots. The contenders are:
- Dorin Dickerson
- Marcus Easley
- Kevin Elliot
- Chris Hogan
- Brandon Kaufman
- Da'Rick Rogers
- Demarco Sampson
- Terrell Sinkfield
- Brad Smith
Dickerson is carried as a WR on the Bills' official website though he was more of a TE last season. Easley, Hogan and Kaufman have had their moments in camp. I suspect that Buffalo will let those 4 fight it out with Brad Smith for one slot and then hand the other to Da'Rick Rogers. (Everyone likes to think they're smarter than everyone else and the Bills landed Rogers without using a draft pick on him. It's hard to see the team letting him walk, particularly since Miami is a logical place for Rogers to land.)
Enter the San Diego Chargers. The team has been having issues at WR. The speculation is that the Chargers will try to pick up a veteran WR, possibly through trade. Brad Smith is the only veteran WR on the roster and he can help with special teams. Granted, the Chargers may not want to pay him his current contract but those things can generally be turned into performance based incentives. The team doesn't think they'll have to pay and the player often seems to think that he'll earn that money.
If you were Buffalo's GM would you call up San Diego? What would be fair compensation?