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2019 Best Bang For the Dollar Bills: Dawson Knox

A rookie tight end turned heads in 2019.

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

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 seven on our countdown of these overachievers is tight end Dawson Knox. After an injury to Tyler Kroft, Knox took full advantage of the void to play his way into a starting role. He started 11 games and played in 15 in 2019, sitting out the regular-season finale. He played more than 60% of Buffalo’s snaps, doubling up the next tight ends on the roster, to place third among all the offensive skill positions behind only John Brown and Cole Beasley. He also played more than 18% of the special teams reps.

Despite all the playing time and several highlight-reel plays, Knox only caught 28 passes for 388 yards and two TDs. That’s barely ahead of Isaiah McKenzie and good for fourth, third, and third on the team, respectively. His 56% catch rate was the lowest on the team of anyone with more than 18 targets and he had seven drops according to Rotoworld. (That’s more than one-third of the entire team’s yearly total.)

All-in-all, Knox was tied for the 74th-highest cap hit among NFL tight ends at $700,545. For comparison, Buffalo’s other tight ends Lee Smith ($3.5 million) and Tyler Kroft ($5.1 million) made considerably more than Knox. Tommy Sweeney made roughly $519,000 and Jason Croom was just under $400,000. The league’s highest cap hit at tight end in 2019 was Jimmy Graham at just under $12.7 million.

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. Coming Thursday