The Buffalo Bills battled an assortment of injuries during the 2017 season, losing everyone from quarterback Tyrod Taylor, tight end Charles Clay, and cornerback E.J. Gaines, to linebacker Ramon Humber, wide receiver Jordan Matthews, and running back Travaris Cadet to injuries.
Two of the biggest and most frustrating injury situations in 2017 centered around wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who was acquired by the Bills from the Carolina Panthers at the NFL’s trade deadline, and left tackle Cordy Glenn.
Benjamin, who was supposed to provide Taylor with a tall and reliable pass-catching target, was injured fairly early in Buffalo’s Week 11 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers and was hampered the rest of the season with an ailing knee.
While he avoided significant damage to his ACL, Benjamin was not the receiving threat the Bills envisioned when they shipped a third- and seventh-round draft pick to the Panthers. He finished with 16 catches for 217 yards, averaging 13.6 yards per catch with one touchdown.
First-year head coach Sean McDermott addressed Benjamin’s health during a year-ending press conference:
“I’d be lying if I said [Benjamin] was himself [and] he was 100%. He wasn’t. This will be a big offseason for Kelvin. Brandon and I both know, and I think people around the league know, when healthy, what Kelvin’s capable of doing. Unfortunately, he wasn’t healthy; in particular, after that Chargers game – I think after that first drive, first quarter, somewhere in there,” McDermott said. “But I’ll tell you what, the young man toughed it out, and I think there was some leadership shown by him doing that. This will be a big offseason for Kelvin. I know he’s anxious to get started and we’re anxious to see him get healthy and come back ready to go.”
Benjamin will have surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee this offseason.
Glenn, who was expected to anchor the Bills' line at left tackle, entered the season dealing with a sore ankle and foot injury that limited him to only six games (five starts).
“I don’t really think there’s any air to clear other than the fact that he’s had a successful operation procedure and he’s currently rehabbing and getting himself ready for a great offseason,” McDermott said of Glenn. “I think there’s a lot of positive energy around Cordy. I know more than anything [that] he wanted to be out there down the stretch here with his teammates.”
Glenn’s situation is worth monitoring, as he signed a five-year, $65 million deal in 2016, but missed 15 games the past two seasons. Before this two-year stretch, Glenn had proven to be a reliable and healthy contributor, not missing a game since his rookie season. The Bills can save $3.35 million against the salary cap by releasing Glenn this offeseason. While rookie Dion Dawkins performed well in Glenn’s absence, it seems unlikely Buffalo would release Glenn and could pursue a trade instead.