The Buffalo Bills under general manager Brandon Beane have cultivated a slew of talented players. Many of those players are extremely versatile, as the Bills have placed great emphasis on players being able to fill in at multiple positions.
Heading into training camp, the Bills expected to be able to start the same offensive line that they had last year—a tremendous luxury in a COVID-19-disturbed world. As with many of the best laid plans of mice and men, however, that one evaporated quickly when news broke that starting guard Jon Feliciano had surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle.
Fortunately for Buffalo, they not only had great depth, but a division rival who jettisoned one of its starters at a position of need for the Bills. In today’s edition of “91 players in 91 days,” we profile a right guard who figures to start in Buffalo until Feliciano is healthy.
Name: Brian Winters
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 320 lbs
Age: 29 (30 on 7/10/2021)
Experience/Draft: 8; selected by the New York Jets in the third round (No. 72 overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft
College: Kent State
Acquired: Signed with Buffalo on 8/6/2020
Financial situation (per Spotrac): His contract hasn’t been officially reported yet, but Ian Rapoport tweeted that the deal is for one year and $3 million total, of which $2 million is guaranteed.
2019 Recap: Winters played in and started nine of the Jets’ 16 games last year, as he dealt with a dislocated shoulder for much of the first half of the season. He re-dislocated the shoulder in New York’s match-up with the other team that actually plays in New Jersey, the New York Giants, and was placed on injured reserve on November 12. Winters committed one penalty and allowed two sacks in his nine games. He finished his Jets career having played 89 games with 79 starts in seven years.
Positional outlook: Winters replaced veteran Spencer Long on the roster, and with Feliciano hurt, it essentially means that Winters will most likely start at right guard until Mongo returns. Buffalo also has Quinton Spain—the presumed starter at left guard—along with Ike Boettger, Marquel Harrell, Evan Boehm, Ryan Bates, and Daryl Williams as potential competition for the right to replace Feliciano.
2020 Offseason: Aside from his release, nothing recent to report.
2020 Season outlook: Signing Winters is a shrewd move for a team that is clearly all-in on the 2020 season. Buffalo could have been just fine relying on its in-house depth to fill in for Feliciano, but instead they pounced when a more talented player from outside the organization came available. Winters has dealt with some injuries throughout his career, but when he’s been healthy, he has been an above-average starter. All Buffalo needs him to be is an above-average starter for half a season, perhaps a bit more, if this move is to pay dividends. As usual, Beane showed his mettle by finding an upgrade and making sure to procure him before someone else did. Winters should fit in quite nicely.