The Buffalo Bills have plenty of question marks on the offensive side of the ball, but one position where the pecking order appears to be well-established is at tight end. However, with an early injury to one of the Bills’ three tight ends from last year, opportunity abounds for other players to make an impression on the coaching staff.
In the latest installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we examine one of those young players who has made the most of his early opportunities.
Name: Keith Towbridge
Height/Weight: 6’5” 262 lbs.
Draft: Signed by the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent following the 2017 NFL Draft
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Towbridge enters the second year of a three-year deal worth $1,672,500 he signed as a UDFA last season. In 2018, he will count $482,500 against the salary cap.
2017 Recap: Towbridge remained with the Bills all of last season even though he was placed on injured reserve before any real games were played. (That’s significant, since they probably could have negotiated an injury settlement if they didn’t want to keep him.) He was waived with an injury designation on August 7, just three days before the Bills opened the preseason against the Minnesota Vikings. His injury was to his ankle, suffered on August 5 during one of Buffalo’s night practices.
Positional outlook: Charles Clay and Nick O’Leary are a clear one-two on the Bills’ depth chart. The presumed number three, Logan Thomas, is out for the entire offseason due to knee surgery. This leaves the door wide open for players like Towbridge. Also on the roster at tight end are Khari Lee, who spent some time on the 53-man roster last season, and Jason Croom, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent along with Towbridge last season.
2018 Offseason: A third-string tight end isn’t someone who will typically receive much attention, but WKBW’s Joe Buscaglia praised Towbridge in one of his training camp wrap-ups. He wrote that Towbridge has “caught [his] eye throughout the spring.” He tempers that optimism with a warning about putting too much stock in a player’s performance in minicamp, but if all Towbridge needed was an opportunity, Thomas’s injury has provided it.
2018 season outlook: I still think that the third tight end job will go to Logan Thomas, given his athleticism and potential. However, at some point, one’s actual production has to take precedence over one’s projected potential. If Towbridge can acquit himself well as a blocker and as a receiver in Thomas’s absence, then the second-year pro out of Louisville might be able to eke on to the roster.