By any measure, the 2018 version of the Buffalo Bills struggled mightily with protection. At best, one could say the offensive line struggled, never gelling into a unit anywhere remotely close to the one that suited up in 2017. At worst, one could say that the line was horrendous.
After losing two full-time starters from 2017 in guard Richie Incognito and center Eric Wood, plus another part-time (due to injury) starter in tackle Cordy Glenn, Buffalo knew they had to remake the line. After the poor results in 2018, the team underwent another rebuild of that grouping, shuffling multiple new players into positions that they addressed as recently as the spring of 2018.
In this installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we look at one of those more recent additions—a 2018 starter who may not even make the 2019 roster.
Name: Russell Bodine
Height/Weight: 6’3” 308 lbs.
Age: 26 (27 on 6/30/19)
College: North Carolina
Acquired: Signed with the Bills on 3/19/18
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Bodine enters the final year of a two-year, $5 million deal he signed last offseason. In 2019, Bodine carries a salary-cap charge of $2,806,244. If the Bills were to cut him, they’d only be on the hook for $500,000.
2018 recap: Bodine was signed to start at center last season, and while he lost an initial competition to incumbent backup Ryan Groy, it was clear the team felt Bodine was a solid option early. Bodine entered the starting lineup in Week 3, and he started the next nine games of the season for the Bills. He started 10 games in total for Buffalo, bringing his own games started total to 74 for his career. Unfortunately for him, he was injured during Buffalo’s twelfth game, as he suffered a broken leg that ended his season. Bodine was called for three penalties on the year, and he did not allow a sack.
Positional outlook: The Bills spent big at the center position, inking former Kansas City Chiefs starter Mitch Morse to a record-breaking contract at his position. Bodine has clearly lost his starting job, but he also has competition to remain on the roster as the backup. Buffalo signed former New York Jets offensive lineman Spencer Long, a center/guard hybrid in the mold of Ryan Groy, to a three-year deal in February. Bodine is now the third-highest paid player at his position, which shouldn’t matter given Buffalo’s cap space, but it seems unlikely that the team will keep three centers who each make over $2.5 million.
2019 Offseason: Bodine has been rehabbing his leg, and he should be ready to roll at some point this spring or summer. He had surgery to repair his leg in December.
2019 Season outlook: Much of Bodine’s chances at sticking on the final roster may have a lot to do with things that are outside of his control. With Morse the clear starter at center going forward, Bodine will battle for the backup job. If Spencer Long wins a starting job at guard, then Bodine has a better chance to remain on the roster as a pure backup. If the team decides that Long is a backup, then Bodine will almost certainly be cut. Even if Long wins the starting gig at guard, the team may decide they can keep someone like Jeremiah Sirles, who is primarily a tackle but has experience playing center, in case of injury due to his positional flexibility. Regardless of the starting combination, Bodine finds himself in a much different battle in 2019 than he did in 2018.