With training camp raging onward, multiple positional battles have come to the forefront for the Buffalo Bills. Some of the biggest battles have come in the trenches, with the offensive linemen trying to prove that they belong on the 53-man roster. While the starting unit appears to be mostly set (with the exception of the center spot), the second-team linemen have shuffled repeatedly.
In our second-to-last edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile one of the backup linemen hoping to cash in his long odds to make the final roster.
Name: Josh James
Height/Weight: 6’5” 314 lbs.
College: Carroll (MT)
Financial situation (per Spotrac): James signed a reserve/future contract with the Bills on January 8. This contract is a two-year deal that totals $1,050,000, including a $480,000 salary cap hit in 2018 if he makes the final roster.
2017 Recap: James began the 2017 season with the Kansas City Chiefs, as he signed a reserve/future contract with them in January of 2017. He was cut on September 3 when the Chiefs trimmed their roster to 53. He remained unsigned until December 27, when Buffalo added him to their practice squad.
Positional outlook: Although the team officially lists James as a tackle, he has seen plenty of time at guard this summer, with Joe Buscaglia placing him as the team’s third-team left guard on his latest depth chart. On the team’s official depth chart, James is listed as the third-team left guard, as well. He seems to be well behind players like Marshall Newhouse and De’Ondre Wesley, as well as Conor McDermott, who are all thought to be more likely options to make the final roster.
2018 Offseason: James has attended all offseason programs to date, and has not missed any time in training camp.
2018 season outlook: James is most likely battling for a chance to remain on the practice squad, as the team will likely take a combination of tackles including Dion Dawkins, Jordan Mills, and Marshall Newhouse supplemented by one of the Wesley/McDermott/Mo Porter group. In any case, James will probably need to look elsewhere to suit up for his first NFL game.