For nearly a decade, the Buffalo Bills had nothing to worry about at center. Eric Wood was there, and he was outstanding. However, after the 2017 season, Wood was forced into an early retirement due to a degenerative condition in his neck discovered during his exit physical at season’s end.
In 2018, the Bills’ offensive line struggled greatly. New faces in new places meant that the unit had to gel quickly, and that never seemed to happen. This year, the team went into the offseason with the clear intention of upgrading along the line, and they spent big in order to do it.
In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile the biggest of Buffalo’s big-ticket free agent acquisitions.
Name: Mitch Morse
Height/Weight: 6’6” 305 lbs.
Age: 27 (28 on 4/21/20)
Acquired: signed with Bills as unrestricted free agent on 3/13/19
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Morse signed a four-year contract worth a total of $44.5 million in the offseason. That overall value makes him the highest-paid center in the league. $26,175,000 of the contract is guaranteed. In 2019, he carries a cap hit of $10,937,500, which is the third-highest cap hit on Buffalo’s roster.
2018 Recap: Morse was the center on the Chiefs’ high-octane offense, helping second-year stud quarterback Patrick Mahomes to set protections and diagnose pressure. He started 11 games last year, committing four penalties for a total of 35 yards. He did not allow a sack, and he has not allowed a sack since he was a rookie in 2015. Of concern is that he missed time due to a concussion, the third time he has missed games due to that particular injury.
Positional outlook: When healthy, Morse will be the starting center. He has Russell Bodine and Spencer Long as competition, and Long is a favorite to win a starting guard job. Jon Feliciano and Jeremiah Sirles have also played center this offseason, but Morse is the guy when healthy.
2019 Offseason: Morse has missed time while recovering from core muscle surgery this offseason, but he was a full participant in mandatory minicamp.
2019 Season outlook: Barring injury, Morse will be the starting center in Buffalo for the next four years. He is an outstanding player when healthy. The issue, of course, has been staying healthy, but if he can do that, then he should anchor a resurgent Bills offensive line in 2019 and beyond.