When Buffalo Bills center Eric Wood announced his retirement Friday, it sent shock waves through the team’s fan base. At 31, we expected at least one or two more seasons in the red, white, and blue. Now that the shock is wearing off a bit, the ripple effects of the news are coming into focus.
The team lost a good player
First and foremost, Buffalo is going to need to replace Wood the player. Does the team trust Ryan Groy to step into this role? They essentially said he couldn’t play guard last year by not trying to start him even when Vlad Ducasse and John Miller struggled at right guard. Do they trust him at center? Time will tell.
It probably means Richie Incognito is staying
Unless the Bills really need cap space, it would appear blowing up the entire interior of their offensive line might be too much. Incognito is at the Pro Bowl so any lingering hopes they may have had about releasing him to try and get younger in anticipation of an eventual Wood retirement go up in smoke.
It limits the free agents they can sign
It’s not that big of an additional cap hit - less than $3 million - but it’s still more than $10 million in dead cap money for a player not on the team. Buffalo is going to need to replace Wood cheaply because of his massive cap hit.
It might limit them in the draft
Most had assumed Buffalo would use their two first round picks in some sort of package deal to move up in the draft and get their quarterback. But now another hole has opened up. Maybe Buffalo wants to solidify the offensive line before throwing a rookie back there, too. Losing a player like Wood could slow that process. Even if it won’t stop them from moving up in the draft, it might alter the guy they pick. If Groy is promoted, they will need a backup center and a cross-trained guy might be better.
They lost a great leader
Wood was one of five captains last year. Kyle Williams is a free agent, Tyrod Taylor could be on his way out, and Lorenzo Alexander could be, too. Stephen Hauschka appears to be the only captain with a stranglehold on a roster spot for 2018.