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Buffalo Bills sign TE Lee Smith to three-year deal

Smith returns to the Bills after four years in Oakland.

The Buffalo Bills have announced that they’ve signed tight end Lee Smith to a three-year contract. Smith, 31, is entering his ninth NFL season. Smith’s career began in Buffalo, as a waiver claim from final roster cuts in the 2011 season. He would play four seasons for the Bills, primarily as a blocking tight end, before signing a three-year deal with the Oakland Raiders. Smith spent four seasons in Oakland before the Raiders released him earlier in the 2019 offseason.

While in Oakland, Smith worked with Buffalo’s new offensive-line coach, Bobby Johnson. Johnson spent three years as Oakland’s tight ends coach, and that familiarity likely contributed to the successful negotiations.

Details of the contract are unavailable at this time. While a three-year deal might suggest that the team plans to commit to Smith for the foreseeable future, Brandon Beane has shown a tendency to package team options together as window dressing for what’s effectively a one-year deal.

Buffalo now has seven tight ends on the depth chart:

  • Tyler Kroft - four-year veteran, signed a three year, $18 million contract
  • Jason Croom - two-year veteran, played with the team in 2018
  • Jake Fisher - four-year veteran, signed a one year deal to try and convert from OT to TE
  • Dawson Knox - third round rookie draft pick
  • Tommy Sweeney - seventh round rookie draft pick
  • Moral Stephens - UDFA signing following rookie minicamp
  • Lee Smith