When the Buffalo Bills made Justin Hunter a mid-year waiver pickup in 2016, it was clear why they did so. They were lacking a viable taller receiving target for Tyrod Taylor. Hunter did well in filling that role last year, but he didn’t bring much else to the table and wasn’t re-signed this year. Instead, the Bills turned to a 29-year-old who had spent the last four seasons with the Oakland Raiders.
Name: Andre Holmes
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 210 lbs.
Draft: UDFA (2012)
Financial Situation (per Spotrac): Holmes is beginning a three-year pact with the Bills that counts $1.4 million against the cap this year. That figures rises to $2 million in the final year of the deal, with the dead cap figure dropping below the cap hit as early as next year.
2016 Recap: Holmes appeared in all 16 games for the Raiders last year, giving him an active streak of 56 consecutive games played dating back to 2012. That said, Holmes only caught 14 passes for 126 yards, although three of those went for touchdowns. He set season highs of three catches and 33 yards with a score during Oakland’s 33-25 win on Christmas Eve over the Indianapolis Colts.
Positional Outlook: As it stands, Holmes is either second or third on the wide receiver depth chart, depending on whether Zay Jones is set to work the outside or the slot. While Holmes is all but a lock to make the 53, his biggest competition for playing time is a guy who isn’t even on the roster right now.
2017 Offseason: While Holmes seems to have a strong hold on a featured role in the offense, his hands have left something to be desired through the first few days of training camp. His biggest advantage has been predictable: at 6’4”, he presents a matchup problem for the Bills’ secondary.
2017 Season Outlook: Regardless of where he ends up on the final depth chart, Holmes should be a visible part of the Bills’ offense in 2017. Hunter tied for the team lead in touchdowns last season despite being a mid-year pickup, so it’s entirely possible that Holmes’ height becomes directly responsible for him leading the team in touchdown catches this year. If Anquan Boldin signs, however, things might turn out a little differently.