While the Buffalo Bills may lack depth at the wide receiver position, not to mention proven NFL talent, they do seem to have the top two spots on their depth chart settled. At least, when both players are healthy they do.
In our latest installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we discuss a second-year wideout looking to press the reset button on what has been a disappointing first year in the NFL.
Name: Zay Jones
Height/Weight: 6’2” 200 lbs.
College: East Carolina
Draft: Selected in the second round (37th overall) by the Buffalo Bills in the 2017 NFL Draft
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Jones enters the second year of his rookie contract signed last year. It’s a four-year deal worth $6,779,831. In 2018, Jones carries a $1,540,870 cap hit.
2017 Recap: Jones was targeted 74 times as a rookie, tied for second on the team with tight end Charles Clay. However, Jones had around half as many catches (27) as Clay (49). Jones gained 316 yards on those receptions, totaling 2 touchdowns in the process. He played in 15 games, starting 10 of them as a rookie, and played more offensive snaps (792, or 75.29%) than any other wide receiver.
Positional outlook: Jones figures to start opposite Kelvin Benjamin on the outside. Jeremy Kerley profiles as the team’s top option in the slot, but Jones also operates well in the middle of the field. If Buffalo wants to move Jones to the slot in certain formations, someone from the group of Andre Holmes, Rod Streater, Brandon Reilly, Kaelin Clay, Quan Bray, Austin Proehl, Ray-Ray McCloud, Malachi Dupre, Robert Foster, and Cam Phillips will need to step up and earn a role on the outside.
2018 Offseason: Jones’s offseason did not start well, as he was arrested following a bizarre incident at his brother’s condo. Ultimately, Jones was not charged, and the Bills were satisfied with the outcome of the incident. Jones has been a non-participant in offseason activities due to knee surgery. He is expected to be ready for training camp on July 26.
2018 season outlook: While Jones definitely has the inside slant on a starting gig, it isn’t set in stone that the job is his. Other players have had a golden opportunity to earn time while Jones recuperates from knee surgery, so the second-year pro will need to come back ready to earn his keep when he’s healthy.