The Buffalo Bills wasted no time utilizing the new COVID-19 isolation rules agreed upon by the NFL and NFLPA and based on recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control. On Wednesday, the Bills activated four players off the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Wide receiver Cole Beasley, WR Gabe Davis, DE A.J. Epenesa, and OG Jon Feliciano were all activated Wednesday.
Beasley and Davis both benefitted from the new rules, shortening the isolation period for individuals who test positive. Under the previous agreement, both players would have had to wait ten days from their COVID diagnosis to return because they are unvaccinated. Now with five days of isolation, both players were eligible to come off the list. Beasley previously would have had to wait until Friday and Davis would have missed this weekend’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Bills were short-handed on the offensive line, so Feliciano’s return might be the most important. With Ike Boettger heading to injured reserve, Buffalo didn’t have depth other than Bobby Hart. Now they can have Ryan Bates slide back into his depth role and Feliciano can slot in at left guard.
Beasley was replaced by Isaiah McKenzie, who exploded for a career day in last weekend’s game. It’s likely he will cede at least some playing time to the quicker, younger player.
Davis and veteran Emmanuel Sanders should split time down the stretch. Prior to this past weekend’s game missed due to COVID, Davis had been eating into Sanders’s playing time quite a bit.
Epenesa returns to a crowded defensive end room, but should be active over rookie Boogie Basham moving forward.
Now only offensive lineman Cody Ford and cornerback Cam Lewis remain on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Lewis was placed on the list Monday and therefore could come off by the end of the week. Ford has been on the list since last week, which would seem to imply he’s still symptomatic. Practice squad TE Quintin Morris remains on the COVID-19 list, as well.