The Buffalo Bills currently have 10 players signed to one-year deals for the 2017 season. Today, ESPN’s Field Yates ranked the ten best one-year contracts in the NFL, and unsurprisingly, no members of Sean McDermott’s squad made his list.
Let’s rank the Bills players on one-year deals based on potential biggest impact this season. I’ve included each player’s 2017 cap hit. Bills on the final year of a previous contract were not counted. Neither were players set to be restricted or exclusive-rights free agents in 2018.
10. Joe Banyard - $690k
The veteran running back was signed by the Bills on March 17. He spent the last two seasons with the Jaguars, and does have a connection to Buffalo’s coaching staff. Banyard begin his career with the Vikings in 2012 when the Bills current defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was Minnesota’s head coach. He’s a long-shot to make the final roster.
9. Ramon Humber - $695k
Humber is a nice veteran presence in Buffalo’s relatively young linebacker group. Is he a game-changer? Far from. He barely played last season and had ties to defensive coordinators who ran 3-4 defenses. The soon-to-be 30-year-old defender will need to contribute on special teams to make an impact.
8. Colt Anderson - $695k
Anderson has somewhat of a reputation as a special teams ace and spent 2016 in Buffalo on IR. He has limited experience as a safety, but due to the Bills lack of depth at that spot, Anderson could factor in on the back end this season.
7. Brandon Tate - $695k
Tate was an above-average returner for Buffalo in 2016. As a reserve receiver, he was out of place. He’ll have Rashad Ross as his main competition for the starting return-man job, but the former Bengal will begin training camp as the primary returner.
6. Mike Tolbert - $695k
Tolbert is more running back than fullback, and he knows McDermott well. Last week we chronicled his pass-blocking prowess. While that alone won’t lead to a guaranteed spot on the roster, he’s a respectable receiver and could handle some short-yardage duties at 243 pounds.
5. Rod Streater - Unknown
Streater boasts good size — nearly 6’3” and 200 pounds — and has 52 games of NFL experience. In 2016, he caught 18 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns. I won’t be stunned if he has a solid camp and sticks as one of Buffalo’s last receivers.
4. Leonard Johnson - $615k
Johnson earned the praise of McDermott for his play during OTAs and minicamp and the two spent 2016 together in Carolina. While Kevon Seymour is more athletically gifted, Johnson has a decent chance to play as Buffalo’s No. 3 or No. 4 cornerback this season... either is essentially a starting spot in today’s NFL.
3. Philly Brown - $690k
Just two years ago, Brown, then a second-year pro, had four catches for 80 yards in the Super Bowl against the Broncos vaunted defensive backfield. That year, he reeled in 31 passes for 447 yards with four scores during the regular season and another 10 passes for 215 yards during the Panthers playoff run. Brown is an adequate deep threat. McDermott knows what he’s getting with Philly, and he can be penciled in as Buffalo’s No. 4 receiver for the 2017 campaign.
2. T.J. Yates - $655k
There’s not much inspiring about Yates’ game, but he does know Rick Dennison’s offense from their time together with the Texans and has some NFL starting experience. With an strong camp, Yates could be the Bills backup for the regular season.
1. Gerald Hodges - Unknown
Hodges has proven to be a quality linebacker during his four-year pro career, and now he’ll have a fantastic opportunity to win full-time duties in McDermott’s defense that highlights linebacker play. He can run, hit, cover, and is quick recognizing and reacting to the opposing offense’s plays. Hodges is primed to make the most sizable impact of all Bills playing on a one-year deal in 2017.