Over the course of the 2018 offseason, the Buffalo Bills signed 14 players to one-year deals. Each of these guys will play different roles on the team, and each will have a different impact than the next.
Lets take a look at each player and what group he'll be classified under based on his potential impact for the 2018 season. This list is strictly comprised of players who signed this offseason, and doesn't include players in the final year of their long-term deal.
Kyle Williams, DT
Williams is the heart and soul of the Bills on the defensive side of the ball and in the locker room. At 35-years old, his high motor allows him to play more downs than most defensive tackles his age. Despite the signing of Star Lotulelei and third-round pick Harrison Phillips, Williams will still be the starter and be a heavy part of the rotation among the defensive linemen.
Vontae Davis, CB
For the past six years with the Indianapolis Colts, Davis was viewed a top-flight starting corner in the NFL. Unfortunately, his 2016 and 2017 seasons were down years, as he dealt with injuries. The Colts made the decision to release him in the middle of the 2017 season. When he was healthy the seasons prior, Davis was a two-time Pro Bowler (2014 and 2015). Davis will start opposite of Tre’Davious White, and if he can stay healthy throughout the season, he could made a lasting impact in the secondary.
Jeremy Kerley, WR
In any circumstance where the Bills had a better-than-average group of receivers, Kerley wouldn't be a potential starter, but more of a role player. The lack of experience in the group as a whole propels him towards the top of this list. Other than Kerley, there aren't many options for the Bills in the slot who are good in space. Kerley should be on the field more often than not, and he has the potential to be a starter for the Bills.
Phillip Gaines, CB
In Gaines’ four-year career, he hasn’t lived up to the potential of a third-round pick for the Kansas City Chiefs. He has struggled to stay on the field due to injury. His versatility has bought him a chance to be a starter in the Bills’ secondary, most likely as the slot corner. He has the length that Sean McDermott looks for in that position. Gaines is the favorite to win that job for the Bills, but he will have competition from guys like rookie corner Taron Johnson.
Marshall Newhouse, RT
Jordan Mills is not the long-term answer at right tackle for the Bills, and his play has been questionable throughout his career. Newhouse has starting experience at the position, most recently with the Oakland Raiders, where he started 14 games last season. The job is Mills’ to lose, but as shuffling along the offensive line is expected during training camp and the preseason, Newhouse could potentially be a starter for the Bills at some point in 2018.
Chris Ivory, RB
Ivory has been a workhorse for the eight seasons he has been in the NFL. With LeSean McCoy’s finesse running style, Ivory brings that power running style as a complement. Ivory will likely be used in short yardage situations and when McCoy needs a breather.
Keenan Robinson, LB
Having just signed on July 24, Robinson adds much-needed depth to the linebacking group. Outside of Matt Milano, Tremaine Edmunds, and Lorenzo Alexander, the Bills were paper-thin at the position. Robinson had injury trouble last year with concussions and a quadriceps injury that landed him on injured reserve. With the lack of depth the Bills had at the spot, Robinson is essentially a security blanket barring any injuries to the starters at the position. [Editor’s note: Terms of his deal haven’t been reported, but we assume it’s a one-year contract. - MRW]
Travaris Cadet, RB
Before his season was cut short with an ankle injury, Cadet showed a lot of promise as a number two back for the Bills. He averaged 4.2 yards per carry on a limited number of touches, but he is most effective catching the ball out of the backfield, dating back to his time spent with the New Orleans Saints. At times, he can be effective out of the slot in short yardage situations as well.
Ramon Humber, LB
Like Robinson, Humber is going to be a backup for all positions for linebacker group. Humber was the starter for the Bills in 2017 before Matt Milano emerged and surprised everyone with his play. Humber wasn't terrible last season, but he didn't play well enough to keep his starting job. Still a serviceable backup, Humber is a quality special teams player, which is where he will spend most of the 2018 season.
Role Players/Special Teamers
Kaelin Clay, WR
Clay appeared in 13 games with the Bills and the Carolina Panthers last season, and he only caught 6 passes. He has potential to be a returner for the Bills, an area they haven't had success in for some time. In situations where the Bills need as much speed as possible on the field, Clay could step into that role, as well. Clay probably won't see many offensive snaps for the season, but his return ability is what could save him a spot on the roster.
Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE
Odighizuwa has a lot of untapped potential, but unfortunately for him, the Bills are deep at his position with Jerry Hughes, Trent Murphy, Shaq Lawson, and Eddie Yarbrough. He is going to have to work to crack the rotation among the aforementioned foursome to take a limited amount of snaps away from them.
Taiwan Jones, RB
Jones is a career special teams player, and that role will follow him once again. Before breaking his arm in the middle of the 2017 season, Jones was one of the veterans for the Bills’ special teams unit.
Terrence Fede, DE
Fede finds himself in a a similar situation as Odighizuwa. The rotation at the defensive end spot is so deep that it'll be hard for him to take away snaps from the top four guys. Fede could contribute on special teams and be a very limited role player on defense. However, Fede isn't viewed as a guy with the untapped potential that makes Odighizuwa a more interesting player.