The Buffalo Bills were able to start the same combination of offensive linemen in 15 of their 16 regular-season games in 2019. The only movement up front, in most cases, came in the form of a purposeful rotation at right tackle.
The Bills had a clear plan last year with their rookie right tackle and his veteran counterpart. They rotated the two in and out when both players were healthy, limiting the younger player’s exposure while providing some snap management for the veteran.
Will the team maintain that rotational strategy in 2020? That remains to be seen. In our next installment of “91 players in 91 days,” we profile the veteran half of the 2019 Bills’ right-tackle platoon.
Name: Ty Nsekhe
Height/Weight: 6’8”, 330 lbs.
Age: 34 (35 on 10/27/2020)
Experience/Draft: 6; undrafted in the 2009 NFL Draft
College: Texas State
Acquired: Signed as UFA with Buffalo on 3/13/19
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Nsekhe enters the final year of a two-year pact worth a total of $10 million. For the 2020 season, he carries a salary-cap hit of $5.2 million.
2019 Recap: While Nsekhe only started one game for the Bills (perhaps coincidentally, it was Buffalo’s 24-9 victory over Washington, Nsekhe’s former team), he appeared in ten games in a platoon with rookie right tackle Cody Ford. Nsekhe played on a total of 359 offensive snaps—right around one-third of the offensive snaps for the year. He played in a majority of the offensive snaps five times—Week 2 against the New York Giants, Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Week 8 against the Philadelphia Eagles, the aforementioned game against Washington (where Ford didn’t play a snap) in Week 9, and then again in Week 10 against the Cleveland Browns. In Buffalo’s Week 11 victory over the Miami Dolphins, Nsekhe played on 19 snaps before injuring his ankle early in the third quarter. That injury kept him out until the season finale against the New York Jets, where he re-injured the ankle, albeit far less severely. He returned to play half of the offensive snaps in the playoffs against the Houston Texans. While he didn’t allow a sack last year, he tied a career high in penalties committed, as he was called for five penalties (four false starts and one hold).
Positional outlook: The Bills have plenty of depth along the offensive line, as starters Dion Dawkins and Cody Ford return. The Bills also have Ryan Bates, Daryl Williams, Garrett McGhin, Victor Salako, Trey Adams, Brandon Walton, and Marquel Harrell on the roster among the players able to play tackle.
2020 Offseason: Nothing new of note.
2020 Season outlook: Nsekhe could be dangled as trade bait, but it’s unlikely that the Bills will see much of a market for a soon-to-be 35-year-old tackle with a $5.2 million cap number. The Bills could release him, saving $3.2 million on the salary cap, but that also seems both unlikely and unnecessary, as Nsekhe was arguably the better half of the timeshare at right tackle last season. With the addition of Williams, the Bills have another player to compete with Nsekhe for that swing tackle role, but Williams can also serve as a reserve along the interior, as he played guard for the Carolina Panthers at different times over the last two seasons. Nsekhe is one of the four best tackles on the current roster, so his place would appear to be safe for now.