During the 21st Century, there have been a few players who inextricably tied themselves to the Buffalo Bills in the minds of the fans. While some did so with their performance, more often than not they did so with their leadership on and off the field. One of these fan favorites is the starting center in 2017, a man who is working his way back from a serious injury but is only two years removed from a Pro Bowl nod.
Name: Eric Wood
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 310 lbs.
Draft: Round 1, Pick 28 by the Buffalo Bills (2009)
Financial Situation (per Spotrac): Wood is at the end of the four-year deal he signed in 2014. His cap hit is a little over $7.5 million, while his dead money figure would be about $4.3 million if the Bills released him.
2016 Recap: While he had fallen off from his Pro Bowl campaign in 2015, Wood put in a solid effort last season. Unfortunately, his season came to a screeching halt when he broke his leg during the Bills’ Monday Night Football loss in Seattle. Pro Football Focus had him ranked 33rd among qualified centers last year, although his low snap count didn’t give him many opportunities to improve his score.
Positional Outlook: The Bills made a point to keep valued interior reserve Ryan Groy around by matching the offer sheet he received from the Los Angeles Rams. That said, he’s not expected to push Wood for a starting role.
2017 Offseason: Wood spent the offseason rehabbing his injury and missed minicamp work earlier in the year. He should be good to go from here on out, however.
2017 Season Outlook: Barring an injury, Eric Wood is going to be the starting center for the Buffalo Bills in 2017. Groy is entirely capable of holding down the job, and probably will do so once Wood moves on, but for now it’s Wood’s show. That said, this could very well be his final year in Buffalo. He’s been a stalwart during the 2010’s, but he’s 31 and has no particular ties to this coaching staff. It’s worth remembering as the season goes on.