Buffalo Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn has missed 16 games over the last two seasons dealing with nagging injuries to his ankle/foot. They reportedly passed on trading him at the trade deadline during the 2017 season, so there seems to be a market for the big man. Could the Bills move on from their franchise left tackle this offseason? Let’s examine it from every angle.
If there’s an aspect of his game that comes across as inconsistent, it would be the run game. Glenn has the size and strength to get good push, but doesn’t always make it happen. That being said, it’s difficult to chalk this up as a complete negative, as he’s rarely driven back either. As an anchor, he’s dependable. Beyond the trenches, Glenn demonstrates the speed and agility to get to the next level to block, and when he finds someone to hit it’s usually a success.
In limited 2017 action Glenn often looked shaky in run support, with lower body injuries likely factoring into his overall strength. Glenn never looked completely comfortable bearing his own weight, let alone that of others. Compounding this were changes in blocking schemes and techniques that didn’t seem to suit Glenn. Fans might recall linemen diving to cut down defenders on run plays early this season under Rick Dennison. Glenn didn’t seem comfortable with this style of blocking, with mistimed dives leading to poor contact.
Glenn’s ability to protect the QB was mostly intact in 2017 despite injury. A large part of this is due to a decreased need to drive an opponent back. Glenn was able to successfully anchor when needed, despite losing some power with the foot/ankle issue.
A greater portion of why Glenn’s pass protection skills weren’t hampered is due to how unconventionally he plays the position. Several aspects of Glenn’s game stand out in comparison to many peers that helped him be effective even when injured.
Glenn is due $9.25 million in salary in 2018 with that figure dropping over the next two years. He also has a $2 million roster bonus due in each of the final three years of his deal. These bonuses ensure he has a chance to find a new home early in free agency; if the Bills want to release him, they will likely do it before making that payout.
Trading Glenn before that roster bonus is due on March 18th would be a good cost-saving move, especially if the concerns about his injury linger. While it would result in $9.6 million in dead cap space in 2018(resulting from the acceleration of three years of the $3.2 million portions of his pro-rated signing bonus), that’s still less than his $14.45 million cap hit, netting $4.85 million in cap space.
Releasing him outright would produce the same numbers as above, thought that would seem to not make use of his trade value. As a post-June 1 cut, Buffalo would add only $3.2 million of dead space in 2018 but add a huge chunk to their 2019 salary cap.
2018 cap hit: $14.45 million
Salary due: $9.25 million
Dead money: $9.6 million
Cap savings if traded before March : $4.85 million
Cap savings as post-June 1 release: $11.25 million
Dion Dawkins, the second of Buffalo’s round-two picks in the 2017 NFL Draft, was solid at left tackle as a rookie. While he was not as good as a healthy Glenn, the problem with Glenn has been an inability to remain on the field. Given his availability, Dawkins could be seen as being more of an asset to the team than Glenn, who carries with him considerable risk given his inability to overcome injury in the past two seasons.
Of course, the best-case scenario for Buffalo involves having both Dawkins and Glenn in the lineup together. Initially, many fans thought that Dawkins was drafted to replace Mills on the right side; injuries to Glenn in training camp forced Dawkins to begin his NFL career at his collegiate position on the left side of the offensive line. If Glenn recovers fully from his second ankle surgery, then the Bills actually have a good problem on their hands—they have two extremely talented offensive tackles who are good enough to start games at left tackle.
If the Bills choose to replace Glenn, they’ll likely look at another avenue besides free agency to fill the void. Beyond impending free agent Nate Solder of the New England Patriots, who figures to command a deal on the open market somewhere in the range of Glenn’s five-year, $60 million on a per-year basis, the free agent choices are pretty underwhelming.
Extremely hyped before the season, Connor Williams was compared to Joe Thomas by many as they share a similar body type and play-style. But after a poor game against Maryland and a subsequent knee injury, analysts have cooled on the Longhorn. Don’t be fooled — Williams will be a quality left tackle in the NFL. Unlike Williams, Kolton Miller has been under-the-radar for many draft analysts, but after protecting Josh Rosen’s blind-side for the entire year, his pas protection shouldn’t be doubted. His run blocking isn’t the best however, and may be best suited to a zone scheme. Okorafor has the ideal frame, length and longtime experience scouts want in a franchise left tackle. Analysts have criticized his “soft” demeanor while run-blocking, but those same criticisms were lobbed at Cordy Glenn.
Jamarco Jones was Taylor Decker’s successor at left tackle at Ohio State and, while he doesn’t have Decker’s upper body strength, Jones quick feet ensure that he’s never beaten around the edge. Although Mike McGlinchey was Notre Dame’s left tackle and is a physically tough offensive lineman, he may be destined for the right side as his may be too stiff to protect the blind-side full-time. At 6’5”, 315 pounds, you wouldn’t think Martinas Rankin could play tackle, but his movement skills at the position allow him to survive, especially when going against lighter edge rushers. Some analysts are extremely high on Orlando Brown because, despite his decencies in technique and footwork, his absolutely massive frame and length allow him to survive most pass rushing snaps.
The 2018 draft’s tackle class looks average on the surface, as there are few surefire franchise players, but the depth class is very impressive. Some of the middle round prospects below could end up becoming starters with a year or two of experience.
With all the information now at your disposal, it’s time to make up your mind. You’re the brain trust at One Bills Drive. Which option is the best call? Discuss in the comments section, too.
What should the Buffalo Bills do with Cordy Glenn this offseason?
This poll is closed
Trade him, save cap space, start Dawkins at LT
Trade him, save cap space, sign Nate Solder for big money
Trade him, save cap space, draft his replacement
Release him, save big cap space and he has no trade value
Keep him, use Dawkins or draft to fix right tackle