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Could the Buffalo Bills look to replace Patrick DiMarco from within?

Don’t get your hopes up. There’s slim pickings on the current roster, especially with the retirement of Kyle Williams

In the modern NFL, the fullback position has been phased out to the point that ten of the 32 teams in the league didn’t even roster a fullback for the 2018 season.

The Buffalo Bills, on the other hand, have placed an emphasis on the position, with Patrick DiMarco ranking as the second-highest paid fullback in the league according to his 2018 salary-cap hit of $2.05 million.

DiMarco, who inked a four-year, $8.4 million contract during the 2017 NFL off-season, is entering the third year of the deal, and is scheduled to make $1.6 million in base salary, with an additional $550,000 in signing and workout bonuses.

A captain for the Bills in 2018, DiMarco appeared in all 16 games (five starts), catching three passes for 62 yards (including a career-best 38-yard reception during a Week 13 loss to the Miami Dolphins). DiMarco even broke off a career-best nine-yard run during a Week 15 win over the Detroit Lions, giving him a whopping seven career rushing yards on four carries.

A veteran leader who is respected in Buffalo’s locker room, DiMarco’s roster spot could be in jeopardy if the front office decides it no longer needs his services, although DiMarco was a special teams standout who appeared on 233 special teams snaps—fourth-most on the team.

If the Bills were to cut him, they would still be on the hook for $1 million in 2019, and among the current roster, there isn’t another fullback on the team. In fact, only three running backs are currently under contract for 2019: Keith Ford (21 carries for 79 yards in 2018), Chris Ivory (115 carries for 385 yards and one touchdown), and LeSean McCoy (161 carries for 514 yards with three touchdowns).

Listed at 6-feet, 223 pounds, Ivory possesses a fullback’s powerful physique, but has never played a single snap at fullback during a nine-year career with the New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Bills.

Of course, up until a few weeks ago, Buffalo’s best internal option to replace DiMarco was fan-favorite Kyle Williams, who scored his first career rushing touchdown while lining up as the fullback during a Week 17 win over the Dolphins in 2017, and added his first career reception while lined up as a fullback in a Week 17 win over the Dolphins this year. But Williams officially announced his retirement prior to the 2018 season-finale against the Dolphins, ending his wildly successful 13-year career in Western New York.

So if the Bills opt to cut DiMarco, they will have to turn to free agency or the draft for replacement options, since none currently exist in-house.