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State of the Buffalo Bills’ roster: Specialists

The Bills are in good shape here, with two out of three specialists locked up for 2021

NFL: AFC Wild Card Round-Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills entered the 2020 season with some question marks in the kicking game. They cut a well-liked veteran kicker and brought back a young, inconsistent punter, pairing him with a rookie kicker to boot. Early returns were not positive, as the Bills missed two field goals in the season-opener. However, things turned quickly, and all of Buffalo’s specialists were a plus to the team.

In our latest look at the State of the Buffalo Bills roster, we profile the specialists.

Tyler Bass

Contract status for 2021: Signed; second year of rookie contract ($826,054 cap hit; $138,164 if cut)
Age: 24 (25 on 2/14/2022)
Playing time: 16 games, 184 ST snaps (40.98 percent)
Key statistics: 28/34 field goals made (82.4 percent), 57/59 extra points made (96.6 percent), 141 total points, 101 kickoffs, 71 touchbacks, 64 yards per kickoff, 30 returns allowed, 537 return yards allowed, one tackle

After a slow start, Bass settled in and had not only a historic rookie season for a Bills rookie, but a historic season period, as he set franchise records in made extra-points and total points scored. Bass began the year by missing five of his first 17 field goals in Buffalo’s first seven contests. From that point forward, including the playoffs, Bass missed just three of 26 attempts. He was consistently excellent on kickoffs and, as he became more confident and comfortable, he became essentially automatic on field goals from nearly any distance. It took a little time, but it’s clear that the Bills found a good one.

Corey Bojorquez

Contract status for 2021: Unsigned; restricted free agent (original-round tender $2.133 million)
Age: 24 (25 on 9/13/2021)
Playing time: 16 games, 128 ST snaps (28.51 percent)
Key statistics: 41 punts, 50.8 yards per punt, 44 net yards per punt, 72-yard long punt, seven punts for touchback, 18 punts inside the 20, 16 punts returned, 138 punt return yards allowed, one tackle

Bojorquez had the best year of his career in 2020, leading the NFL in gross punting average and setting a Bills franchise record in the category at the same time. Bojorquez was also among the league leaders in net yards per punt, as he eliminated much of the inconsistency that plagued him throughout the early part of his career. He even seemed to improve as a holder.

Reid Ferguson

Contract status for 2021: Signed; final year of three-year contract ($1.14 million cap hit; $1.14 million dead-cap charge if cut)
Age: 26 (27 on 3/24/2021)
Playing time: 16 games, 128 ST snaps (28.51 percent)
Key statistics: Two tackles, zero snaps mishandled, zero errant snaps

Mr. Snap Flow himself was excellent again in 2020, showing that the best long-snappers are the ones you don’t notice on game day. Ferguson is great at what he does.

This is a group that should not change at all for the foreseeable future. The Bills have a decision to make on Bojorquez, as a $2.133 million restricted-free-agent tender is a little rich in a cap-stressed year, so the Bills might try to negotiate a deal at a longer term that could put Bojorquez’s cap number for 2021 below that number while locking him up long-term. Ferguson is already on his second contract with the team, and his strong performance has earned him the right to a third. Whether the Bills try to negotiate a deal now or later is the main question, but even if they do ink Ferguson to an extension, I suspect that no new money will be added this season. Buffalo is fortunate that they have a trio of specialists who not only didn’t lose them games, but they actually won them games this season. Hopefully, the band stays together through this upcoming season and beyond.