clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Buffalo Bills have Cordy Glenn, plus major question marks, at OT

Cordy Glenn turned out to be a great second-round pick for the Bills. Now he's a free agent, and coupled with some less-successful picks at tackle, the Bills have major question marks here heading into the new year.

Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley has been with the organization since February of 2010, meaning that he has been either atop, or had a significant voice in, the Bills' decision-making hierarchy for six draft classes and counting.

Bills fans will argue all day how successful the team has been drafting in that time frame, but one area where agreement is more universal is that the team has struggled drafting on the offensive line. In the last six drafts, the Bills have spent 11 of their 48 picks on offensive linemen (though only three of those came before or during Round 3), but only one has emerged as a dependable starter - and now he's headed for unrestricted free agency.

Our State of the Bills Roster series continues today with a look at the Bills' offensive tackle situation, which has been a draft-day focus for several years now.

Seantrel Henderson

  • Age: 24 (on 1/21/16)
  • 2015 earnings: $523K
  • 2016 cap charge: $613K ($587K savings if cut)
  • Playing time: 593 snaps in 10 games active (55.2% of total)

On the field in 2015, Henderson continued his rookie-season trend of flashing brilliance in rare moments, but otherwise struggling as one of the lower-end starting offensive tackles in the NFL. Off the field in 2015, Henderson's future career prospects were thrown into doubt a bit when it was revealed that he was diagnosed with and battling Crohn's disease, which caused him to lose 20 pounds and endure an extended hospitalization. The Bills seemed to commit to Henderson as a starter during the 2015 regular season, but considering his struggles both on and off the field, it's hard to envision him receiving the same commitment entering the 2016 season.

Cyrus Kouandjio

  • Age: 22 (23 on 7/21/16)
  • 2015 earnings: $639K
  • 2016 cap charge: $1.31M ($403K savings if cut)
  • Playing time: 227 snaps in 12 games active (21.1% of total)

When Kouandjio was asked to start for the Bills in 2015 - it happened in just two games - he acquitted himself fairly well, particularly as a run blocker. But the former 2014 second-round pick ended the year, effectively, as the fourth tackle on the depth chart, being surpassed by a mid-season waiver wire pick-up when Henderson landed on IR due to his illness. The Bills have said that Kouandjio continues to have issues with his knees - the same issue that caused him to slide out of the first round of the draft in 2014 - and if those issues prove to be chronic, it's fair to wonder if he'll ever crack Buffalo's starting lineup on a permanent basis.

Tyson Chandler
  • Age: 25 (on 2/2/16)
  • 2015 earnings: $321K
  • 2016 cap charge: $453K ($448K savings if cut)
  • Playing time: Spent the 2015 season on IR (undisclosed)

An undrafted free agent out of North Carolina State in 2015, Chandler was injured in training camp, and spent the year on IR. The big-bodied right tackle is still employed by the Bills, who could take a look at him in camp this summer.

Free agents

Cordy Glenn

  • Age: 26 (27 on 9/18/16)
  • 2015 earnings: $1.05M
  • 2016 cap charge: Unrestricted Free Agent
  • Playing time: 1,059 snaps in 16 games active (98.5% of total)

The Bills acquired Glenn in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft with the intent of installing him as their left tackle immediately. That's what happened, and nothing has changed for the last four years. Glenn has missed only three games in those four seasons, all of which occurred in his rookie year, and that's an especially impressive feat of durability when considering that he had a kidney removed prior to the start of the 2014 season. Glenn is big, mobile, young, durable, and coming off of the best season of his professional career. He doesn't have the accolades to prove himself as a top-level left tackle, but he is nonetheless clearly a quality player at a premium position - and he'll be paid accordingly this offseason, one way or the other.

Jordan Mills

  • Age: 25 (26 on 12/24/16)
  • 2015 earnings: $427K
  • 2016 cap charge: Restricted Free Agent
  • Playing time: 354 snaps in 10 games active (32.9% of total)

The Bills signed Mills off of Detroit's practice squad during the second month of the regular season as injuries piled up and warm bodies were needed. Mills, a former Chicago player, had worked with Bills line coach Aaron Kromer there, and that familiarity was clearly a factor in the Bills' decision. By the end of the year, Mills had started five straight games as the Bills' right tackle, with Henderson ailing and Kouandjio struggling to stay healthy. Mills was a below-average player in that time frame, but given the situation the Bills are in at tackle, it seems far more likely than not that they'll bring Mills back into the mix for the 2016 season.

Offseason outlook

Re-signing Glenn should be the Bills' highest priority this offseason. That's partly due to his being deserving of a market-value contract, given his consistent level of play and durability for the Bills at a high-value position. It's made even truer by the fact that the Bills have little else tangible to offer from a personnel standpoint at tackle beyond Glenn that isn't a developmental project with documented on-field issues and, in at least two cases, significant concerns off of the field. Glenn deserves to be a long-term part of Buffalo's offense, but it'd be an even bigger disaster to lose him because of the rest of the depth chart here.

The Bills have not used a first-round draft pick on a tackle since their ill-fated selection of Mike Williams back in 2002. It would not be terribly surprising if that trend continued, even with Glenn's status uncertain, and even with the smorgasbord of question marks behind him on the depth chart. 2016 will be another draft in which picking a tackle would be a sensible move for the Bills; there just isn't really any evidence that the team values the position highly enough to do so, even as they have made roster improvements elsewhere. If they don't pick a tackle early, they should at least add another prospect that can compete with the rest of their developmental players for playing time.