The Buffalo Bills have signed defensive tackle Justin Zimmer to their active roster, putting him in the opening vacated by Quinton Spain on Wednesday. Zimmer joins the Bills from their practice squad, after playing against the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday.
The 6’3” 292-lb Zimmer played two games from Buffalo’s practice squad—the Chiefs game, and the season opener against the New York Jets. Appearing on 48 snaps, he’s had ten tackles, two tackles for loss, and a quarterback hit. The auditions went well, and since Zimmer’s no longer eligible for a gameday practice squad promotion, the Bills decided to bring him onto the rotation for real.
The move does raise a question about Harrison Phillips, the former third-round pick who was deactivated for Zimmer on Monday. Phillips turned in a solid rookie season, but lost his second year to a torn ACL and hasn’t met expectations in year three. Will Zimmer continue to claim his role, or can Phillips work his way back into the rotation? Another open question is Buffalo’s curious choice to use Zimmer, as well as the 290-lb Ed Oliver, as nose tackles in their scheme. With Star Lotulelei not playing, the team has no go-to gap clogger—and that’s not something Zimmer will fix.