The Buffalo Bills, along with their AFC East Division foes, were chosen to receive international players as a result of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program. The program is part of an ongoing effort by the league to expand its market beyond the United States by providing opportunities to players who do not live in the country.
The players allocated to teams do not count against the teams’ roster maximums, so the Bills are able to carry 91 players on their roster rather than the usual 90. So, for today, we’ll call this series what it actually should be this season—91 players in 91 days—in honor of our player of the day, an accomplished English rugby player looking to make his mark on a different sport.
Name: Christian Wade
Height/Weight: 5’9” 196 lbs.
Age: 28 (29 on 5/19/20)
College: St. Mary’s University College (Twickenham, London)
Acquired: Allocated to Bills via International Player Pathway Program
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Wade’s contract is a three-year deal worth a total of $1,755,000, of which no money is guaranteed. If he were to make the Bills’ 53-man roster this season, he would carry a cap hit of $495,000.
2018 Recap: Wade announced his immediate retirement from rugby in October 2018. He has been training for an NFL career, and he provided some insight into the switch in a February 2019 ESPN profile. Wade’s decision may have been influenced by a lack of playing time for his club, Wasps, as he was close to breaking a Premiership scoring record yet was consistently left out of the lineup by his coach.
Positional outlook: Wade is one of seven running backs on Buffalo’s roster. He is obviously the one with the least experience, as the team boasts veterans LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, T.J. Yeldon, Senorise Perry, and Marcus Murphy along with rookie Devin Singletary.
2019 Offseason: Wade has participated in all offseason activities to date.
2019 Season outlook: Wade has a lot to learn in a short period of time in order to make the roster this season, though that’s not really the goal at this point. The Bills can carry him as their eleventh member of the practice squad this season (though by designating him as such, they cannot call him up to the active roster this year under any circumstances), and that’s what they probably intend to do. Wade obviously has the speed and strength to compete professionally, but he’ll need time to learn the game in order to see if he can be a valuable contributor down the road.