It’s fairly common for position coaches coming to a new team to persuade their front office to bring along guys they had previously coached that might be available. That seems to have happened with the Buffalo Bills this year, as veteran offensive line coach Juan Castillo’s hiring from the Baltimore Ravens was followed quickly by the signing of a veteran lineman who has experience playing both guard and tackle. How is that going so far?
Name: Vladimir Ducasse
Height/Weight: 6’5”, 329 lbs.
Draft: Round 2, Pick 61 by the New York Jets (2010)
Financial Situation (per Spotrac): Ducasse signed a three-year deal to join the Bills this offseason, but at no point in time is it cost-prohibitive to release him. His cap hit this year is $933,333 and his dead cap figure is $1.1 million, but that number plummets to $166,668 after this season.
2016 Recap: Ducasse was released by the Ravens as part of their final cuts last year, but was brought back six games into the season as an injury fill-in. Heplayed in ten games last year, starting eight. Playing on one of the better lines in the NFL, alongside the likes of center Jeremy Zuttah and All Pro guard Marshall Yanda, Ducasse didn’t need to be the best lineman in the business. That said, his rating of 48.5 from Pro Football Focus ranked 57th of 75 qualified guards.
Positional Outlook: Ducasse has mostly been working on the interior, spelling John Miller at right guard while occasionally working with the starters. He seems to be a prominent member of the second-team rotation through the first half of the preseason.
2017 Offseason: After signing Ducasse at the onset of free agency back in March, he participated in all of the team’s offseason work. He’s seen a lot of action on the interior offensive line so far this year, but he’s done little to quiet the talk that he might find himself on the chopping block once cutdown day rolls around.
2017 Season Outlook: Most of the speculation around the Bills cutting Ducasse has involved the NFL’s compensatory draft pick formula, as Ducasse is one of the cuts the Bills could make to acquire another third-round pick in the NFL Draft next year. At this point, though, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he were released based on the quality of his play alone.