The second cornerback position for the Buffalo Bills was a disaster in 2018. The team couldn’t quite find the right player, and they had three different plans blow up in their faces before they finally went with the undrafted rookie who ultimately solidified the spot.
Heading into the 2019 season, the team has improved its depth in the defensive secondary significantly. As a result, some of those players who competed for a starting role last season will merely compete for a roster spot this season. In our latest installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile one such player.
Name: Ryan Lewis
Height/Weight: 6’0” 185 lbs.
Age: 25 (26 on 4/15/20)
Acquired: Claimed off waivers on 9/2/18
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Lewis enters the final year of a two-year deal he signed last season. The total value of the contract is $1,050,000, and there are zero guaranteed dollars. Lewis carries a cap hit of $570,000 if he makes the roster this year.
2018 Recap: Lewis spent the offseason and preseason with the New England Patriots, but he was waived when teams cut down to their 53-man rosters on September 1. Buffalo claimed him on September 2, then released him on September 12 and re-signed to the practice squad. They promoted him to the active roster on September 18, and he started the game against the Minnesota Vikings on September 23. That game was the first of three consecutive starts for Lewis, but halfway through the third game, Lewis was benched in favor of Phillip Gaines. After having played on 137 defensive snaps through those three games, Lewis played on only 13 defensive snaps for the rest of the season. He finished the year with 15 tackles, 3 pass breakups, and 2 forced fumbles in 7 games.
Positional outlook: Lewis finds himself on the outside looking in with Buffalo’s revamped secondary. Tre’Davious White is the one obvious starter, while veterans E.J. Gaines and Kevin Johnson will battle second-year man Levi Wallace for the starting job opposite White. Taron Johnson should remain the top slot corner. Lafayette Pitts is a valuable member of the Bills’ special teams, and the club also has Cam Lewis and Denzel Rice in camp fighting for spots.
2019 Offseason: Lewis has participated in all offseason activities to date.
2019 Season outlook: Chances are good that the Bills will cut Lewis when the preseason comes to an end, as he fell out of favor fairly quickly with head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier last year. With so many new faces at the position, Lewis would have to outplay some veterans whom the Bills invested more money into in order to justify making the roster. It’s more likely that Lewis is starting over next year.