The Buffalo Bills lost quite a few familiar names on their offensive line this offseason. They traded left tackle Cordy Glenn to the Cincinnati Bengals, they said good-bye to center Eric Wood in a very awkward “retirement ceremony,” then they released guard Richie Incognito after he retired and un-retired, only to then involve himself in a bizarre incident that led to an involuntary psychiatric hold.
Much will be made, then, of the positional battles ongoing for those spots in 2018. In our latest installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we look at a versatile offensive lineman who could start at multiple positions this year.
Name: Ryan Groy
Height/Weight: 6’5” 320 lbs.
Draft: Joined the Chicago Bears as a UDFA in 2014
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Groy enters the second year of a two-year, $5 million contract he signed after the 2016 NFL season. His cap hit for 2018 is the same as it was last season, $2.5 million, and if he is cut, Groy will count for a $1 million dead cap charge.
2017 Recap: Groy absolutely represented one of the worst salary cap values on the 2017 Buffalo Bills (spoiler alert!). He made $2.5 million, making him the twelfth-highest paid player to finish the year with the team (13th if you count Marcell Dareus). For that money, Groy played 53 offensive snaps (out of 1052 total) and 116 special teams snaps.
Positional outlook: Groy’s positional outlook varies depending upon which position you think he’s battling to play. He has served as the Bills’ backup center since arriving in 2015, but he also plays guard. He has only Russell Bodine and Adam Redmond to compete with at center, and he has Wyatt Teller, John Miller, and Vlad Ducasse at guard. As the only man who can play both positions, he has a leg up on the competition in terms of making the final roster; however, as far as starting goes, he will have to earn the gig with this coaching staff.
2018 Offseason: Sean McDermott praised Groy’s leadership earlier in the offseason, and the Bills’ official website wrote a piece back in March about Groy having done everything right to be the “heir apparent” to Eric Wood.
2018 season outlook: I’d be surprised if Groy isn’t Buffalo’s starting center in September. In his limited action in 2016, he was very good overall. While he was a very valuable reserve for Buffalo last year, with Wood out of the picture, Groy should be able to fend off newcomer Bodine for the starting job. Groy could also replace Richie Incognito at left guard, with Bodine serving as the center. Groy’s versatility allows Buffalo some flexibility in finding their starting five on the offensive line, but one thing is clear: Ryan Groy should be part of it.