Every team relies on rookie deals and cheaper veterans to round out their roster. When they overperform, the team overperforms. The Buffalo Bills are no exception and during the 2019 season they had a solid group of overperforming players.
Coming in at number three on our countdown is left tackle Dion Dawkins. Dawkins started all 16 games plus the Wild Card game in 2019, playing in the second-most snaps on the offense at 95%, resting for most of the Week 17 matchup. (Quinton Spain and played the whole game.) He also added 60 snaps on special teams to play 14.5% of plays in that phase. He rebounded in blocking in 2019 after a down year in 2018, solidifying his position on Josh Allen’s blind side.
He added a touchdown catch as a tackle-eligible while increasing his leadership presence in the locker room and with the media.
All-in-all, Dawkins was the 29th-highest cap hit among left tackles in the league (75th among all tackles), and clearly outperformed his contract. At just over $1.14 million, he made far less money and played far better than the man he directly replaced, Cordy Glenn ($9.25 million for Cincinnati). Former Bills OTs Jason Peters ($8.7 million for Philadelphia) and Jordan Mills ($1.19 million for Arizona), new teammate Darryl Williams ($6 million in Carolina), and 2019 teammates Ty Nsekhe ($4.8 million), LaAdrian Waddle ($2 million), and even Cody Ford ($1.36 million) all made more than he did. Andrew Whitworth has a cap hit just under $16.7 million to lead the league.
Dawkins is well on his way to cashing in at the end of his rookie contract as he enters the final year of that deal. If they sign him to a nice extension at some point during training camp, this year will likely be his last on the list of grossly underpaid players.
Top Ten Bang for the Dollar Bills, 2019
10. G Quinton Spain ($2.5 million)
9. WR Isaiah McKenzie ($645,000)
8. QB Josh Allen ($4.8 million)
7. TE Dawson Knox ($700,545)
6. LB Tremaine Edmunds ($2.9 million)
5. RB Devin SIngletary ($754,000)
4. CB Tre’Davious White ($2.75 million)
3. LT Dion Dawkins ($1.14 million)
2. Coming Friday