The Buffalo Bills’ retooled offensive line includes plenty of new faces, but there are some holdovers from the 2018 campaign. After all, the team couldn’t be expected to jettison all of its offensive linemen in one season, even if the unit as a whole underwhelmed tremendously.
To celebrate making it through two-thirds of our “90 players in 90 days” series, we now profile a player who had two separate stints with the Bills just last season.
Name: Ike Boettger
Height/Weight: 6’6” 313 lbs.
Age: 24 (25 on 10/5/19)
Experience/Draft: 2; signed as undrafted free agent with Buffalo on 5/11/18
Acquired: Claimed off waivers from Kansas City Chiefs on 9/12/18
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Boettger enters the second year of the three-year deal he signed as a UDFA last season. The total value of that contract is $1,710,000, and there are no guaranteed dollars in its value. For 2019, Boettger carries a cap hit of $570,000 if he makes the team.
2018 Recap: Boettger spent training camp and the duration of the preseason with the Bills last season, but he was waived when final rosters were made on September 1. The Chiefs claimed him on September 2, and he was inactive for their Week 1 game. The Chiefs waived him two days after the game on September 11, and Buffalo claimed him off waivers on September 12. He was a healthy scratch until Buffalo’s Week 13 loss to the Miami Dolphins , a game in which he played on eight offensive snaps. He was also active for Buffalo’s last three games, earning an even split with starting right guard for Jonathan Miller in Buffalo’s 42-17 route of Miami in the season’s final week. He did not allow a sack or commit a penalty on his 83 snaps (76 on offense, seven on special teams)
Positional outlook: Boettger finds himself in the midst of a very competitive offensive-line grouping. He has some experience at tackle, and the Bills listed him as one last season, but they clearly think his future is as a guard given that they played him there last year and list him as one this year. Spencer Long, Jon Feliciano, Wyatt Teller, Quinton Spain, and Vladimir Ducasse are Buffalo’s guards, with Jeremiah Sirles listed as a guard/tackle.
2019 Offseason: Boettger has participated in all offseason activities to date. He even mixed in at center during OTAs thanks to injuries, though Joe Buscaglia noted that he struggled a bit in that role. Boettger has primarily served with the third unit this spring.
2019 Season outlook: Boettger will most likely be a late cut again this summer. While he showed himself to be capable in the season’s final two games, the team made improving the offensive line a priority, spending plenty of dollars on making sure that quarterback Josh Allen is better protected and that running lanes are open for whomever carries the ball, whether it be LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, Devin Singletary, or another of Buffalo’s rushers. Boettger is someone the Bills will probably look to stash on the practice squad—which is probably what they wanted to do last year until Kansas City scooped him up on waivers. Barring an injury ahead of him, the team will probably try to pass him through waivers again.