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Fan sentiment: Should the Buffalo Bills keep fullback Patrick DiMarco in 2019?

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What say you?

The Buffalo Bills have underutilized the fullback position since head coach Sean McDermott came around, but invested heavily in the position—signing one of the highest-paid players at his position in 2018. Patrick DiMarco makes a great special teamer but isn’t used much in the offense.

Should he stick around in 2019? You decide.


All-22 Analysis

(Read the full analysis by Jeff Kantrowski aka Skarekrow)

Patrick DiMarco is a versatile back who can provide enhanced pass protection and safety-outlet options for a developing quarterback. This is in addition to lead blocking that’s ordinarily associated with the fullback position. That said, except for one game, the Brian Daboll offense doesn’t seem enamored with fullbacks. If a solid tight end or developmental prospect they’d like to tinker with is available, DiMarco’s days could be numbered in Buffalo. A big positive for DiMarco is that a potential replacement will need to slot cleanly into special teams play as well, where DiMarco did see more significant time.

Salary Cap Implications

(Read the full article by Dylan Zadonowicz)

DiMarco only took 168 offensive snaps which is good for just 15.86% of the seasons total. With a cap hit of more than $2 million, DiMarco doesn’t do enough on offense for his pay. DiMarco is a talented fullback but his role in the offense isn’t worth his contract. Since the offensive system isn’t going to change with Brian Daboll calling the shots, it isn’t likely that DiMarco’s role is due to expand.

If the Bills were to cut DiMarco, it wouldn’t hurt them financially for the 2019 season and beyond.

The salary cap details found below are via Spotrac:

2019 cap hit: $2.15 million
Workout bonus: $50,000
Salary due: $1.6 million
Dead money: $1 million
Cap savings: $1.65 million if released before workout bonus is earned

In-house replacement options

(Read the full article by John Boccacino)

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.

Free Agent Replacement Options

(Read the full analysis by Sean Murphy)

Ryan Hewitt
The veteran 28-year-old spent 2018 with the Indianapolis Colts, appearing on 182 offensive snaps, or 16% of the team’s total on the season, the highest total of all the free-agent fullbacks this season. Hewitt is less a traditional fullback and more an H-back/tight end, meaning that he could be a better fit than DiMarco in terms of the scheme. Buffalo’s offensive coordinator Brian Daboll likes to use motion and varied personnel groupings to create mismatches, and Hewitt is a player who could help to keep an opposing team in its base defense when the Bills want to attack the field vertically.

Dan Vitale
The former sixth-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is only 24, and while he has done little in the NFL (29 games, 8 catches, 48 yards), he did show proficiency as a receiver while at Northwestern. He’s plenty athletic, and the Bills could replace the 31-year-old DiMarco with a younger player who could be ready to do bigger things if given a larger role.

Jamize Olawale
The veteran spent 2018 with the Dallas Cowboys, appearing on only 114 snaps, or 10.59% of the Cowboys’ offensive total. While his meager stat line in 2018 seems to indicate a player unworthy of his salary, a la DiMarco (Olawale clocked in at $1.6 million against the cap last year), Olawale has shown flashes of effectiveness as both a runner and receiver in the past. He is the same age as DiMarco, so it would seem to be unnecessary to swap one for the other.

NFL Draft Replacement Options

(Read the entire analysis by Andrew Griffin)

Tier I

Alec Ingold (Wisconsin)
Trevon Wesco (WVU)

Ingold was the lead blocker for college football’s most prolific rushing attack and is the lone fullback invited to the Senior Bowl. Ingold isn’t just a linebacker eraser at the second-level either, he can carry the ball and has a soft pair of hands. More of a tight end or H-back, Wesco is a rumbler who was asked to do a lot of things for the Mountaineers offense, including being a lead blocker.

Tier II

Winston Dimel (UTEP)

As a pure run-blocking fullback, he’s part of a dying breed.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time to vote. What should the Bills do at fullback this off-season?

Poll

What should the Bills do at fullback this offseason?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Keep DiMarco
    (384 votes)
  • 28%
    Cut Dimarco, no fullback
    (220 votes)
  • 5%
    Cut Dimarco, add a veteran
    (39 votes)
  • 15%
    Cut Dimarco, add a rookie
    (116 votes)
759 votes total Vote Now