In a cap-strapped offseason, the Buffalo Bills were still able to invest quite a bit of money into their offensive line.
Left guard Richie Incognito signed a three-year, $15.75 million contract in March, while left tackle Cordy Glenn was extended for five years, $65 million. The last time the Bills invested that much money into its offensive line was in 2007, when it shelled out $75 million to guard.
Derrick Dockery and tackle Langston Walker. (Both were released two years later.)
The Bills know what they’re getting from the left side of the offensive, but the right side is very much up in the air.
After an injury-plagued rookie year, right guard John Miller will look to stay healthy in Year Two. And at right tackle, who knows who’ll get the starting nod come Week One against the Baltimore Ravens.
With Seantrel Henderson rehabbing from a pair of offseason surgeries, and former second-round pick Cyrus Kouandjio still struggling, The Buffalo News’ Tyler Dunne wrote Monday that the job appears to be Jordan Mills’ to lose.
“Right now, it’s a case where Seantrel’s sick and Mills has started at Chicago for me and started for us this year,” offensive line coach Aaron Kromer told The News. “He’s doing a solid job. He understands what to do and how to do it.”
Mills, a fifth-round pick in 2013, started five games for the Bills last season and is a carryover from Kromer’s last coaching job with the Chicago Bears. In two seasons with the Bears, Mills started 29 of 29 games.
“Jordan gets the best out of what he has,” Kromer said. “He’s a smart player. He knows what to do and how to do it. He knows his own limitations and that’s key for an offensive lineman. Know what you can’t do so you don’t put yourself in a bad position. Nobody’s perfect but he studies hard and plays hard and works hard.”
Mills may enter training camp at St. John Fisher as the starter, but if Henderson gets healthy and Kouandjio turns the corner, the Bills will have an interesting battle. That’s the best case scenario. But if Henderson isn’t healthy and Mills and Kouandjio struggles in camp, the Bills could be in trouble. An injury to Mills or Kouandjio could be devastating as the only depth tackle behind them are undrafted free agent signee Marquis Lucas, and recent signings Chris Martin and Justin Renfrow.
Jake Long, four-time pro bowler and a former No. 1 overall pick, is an intriguing free agent option. After a pair of ACL tears with the St. Louis Rams in 2013 and 2014, Long told ESPN he’s the healthiest he’s felt in five or six years. But don’t expect the Bills to take a flyer on Long unless there’s an injury in camp.
For the time being it seems to be an open competition with Mills on the inside track to win it.