The Buffalo Bills had five different players start games for them at guard last year and by the time free agency rolls around, four of them could be gone. Quinton Spain (released), Jon Feliciano, Ike Boettger, and Brian Winters (expiring contracts) are all without contracts for next year. The Bills need to add guards to their roster, but do they have starters waiting in the wings?
It depends on what position you see for Ryan Bates and Cody Ford. I’ve long been a proponent of Ford at guard, but then the Bills won’t have a right tackle option. (That’s a conversation for a different day.)
Currently under contract are Ryan Bates, Jordan Devey, and Cody Ford. Regardless of if two of them can hold down starting spots, you need to add guys. Theoretically, the three of them could start at the two guard spots and right tackle with Ford kicking outside.
Devey, 33, has 21 career starts in seven NFL seasons but has never been counted on as the full-time starting lineman for a team.
Bates has developed but has only taken 160 live NFL snaps to this point in his career. They have seen him as a jack-of-all-trades kind of reserve offensive lineman. Counting on him to man a starting guard spot would be a big jump.
That leaves Ford, who began the year at guard before landing on injured reserve. When they drafted him, they called him a tackle from the get-go but Ty Nsekhe and Daryl Williams have beaten him out the last two years. Many draft prognosticators had him as a guard prospect.
So could the pair of starting guards already be under contract for 2020? I guess, but it would be foolish to hope for Devey or Bates to make that big of a leap. Buffalo is going to need to add some spice to this gumbo during the offseason.
- All-22 analysis of Jon Feliciano’s 2020 season
- All-22 analysis of Brian Winters’s 2020 season
- All-22 analysis of Ike Boettger’s 2020 season
- Contract projection for Jon Feliciano
- Contract projection for Brian Winters
- Contract projection for Ike Boettger
- Do the Bills have a guard waiting in the wings?
- Free-agent options for the Bills at guard
- 2021 NFL Draft options at guard
- Opinion: Bills should go with new guards in 2021. Here’s how.
- VOTE: What do you want to see at guard this offseason?