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Contract projection for Buffalo Bills free-agent tackle Ty Nsekhe

What can the Bills expect to pay to keep the veteran this offseason?

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

The Buffalo Bills have a hole at right tackle, with veteran options Daryl Williams and Ty Nsekhe both scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason. When the Bills signed Nsekhe two years ago the contract figures raised some eyebrows. Nsekhe was 34 but signed a two-year, $10 million deal to seemingly lock up one of the tackle spots in a competition with left tackle Dion Dawkins and a right tackle prospect who turned out to be Cody Ford.

That investment paid off in 2019, when Ford was slow to adapt to the NFL and split snaps with the veteran Nsekhe. In 2020, though, Buffalo plugged in Williams and Nsekhe didn’t play on offense for most of the season. He was a very expensive security blanket with Williams and Dawkins healthy and locking down the fort. The only game Nsekhe saw action was against the Denver Broncos, when Williams hurt his groin. In fact, he was made inactive in Week 17 against the Miami Dolphins despite the team resting a bunch of their starters.

He will turn 36 during the 2021 season, but his often-documented long road to the NFL means he could still have tread on the tires and be looking for another season on an NFL roster. He won’t be looking at a $5 million-per-year deal, for sure, but Buffalo could reasonably bring him back to fill the same role.

The biggest factor in our calculation and comparisons is Nsekhe’s age. Let’s see where we come in on that.

Comparable contracts

Marshall Newhouse
Tennessee Titans, 2020
One year, $1.05 million

Newhouse signed for the veteran minimum last offseason at age 31 and turned 32 just after the start of the season. A depth option who can handle the job in a pinch, Newhouse started eight games for the New England Patriots in 2019 and two games for the Carolina Panthers in 2018. In 2020, he only appeared in four games and played 17 total snaps on offense. He also signed a contract for just over the veteran minimum with the New Orleans Saints in 2019.

Demar Dotson
Denver Broncos, 2020
One year, $1.5 million

The only player over 31 to play right tackle in 2020 for more than the veteran minimum, the 34-year-old Dotson signed a $1.5 million deal with the Denver Broncos last offseason including $500,000 guaranteed after spending ten years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He started 30 games combined in 2018 and 2019 and finished 2020 with eight starts after being named the team’s starter coming out of camp.

Left tackle deals

Andrew Whitworth and Jason Peters are 38 and signed deals in 2020. We aren’t using them. Whitworth has been a stalwart for the Los Angeles Rams and had missed three games in the decade before signing his deal last offseason. Peters keeps re-signing deals with the Eagles when they have injuries force their hand and is a former All-Pro.

Contract projection

One year, $1.21 million
$137,500 guaranteed
$850,000 cap hit

The Bills could do worse than Nsekhe and with a gaping hole at the position, I’m interested in bringing him back on a one-year veteran minimum deal including the small signing bonus. With the veteran minimum salary benefit, he counts exactly like a second-year NFL player on a minimum salary deal. He has shown the versatility in the past at left tackle, right tackle, and kicked inside to guard. They know how far his physical skills have fallen with age, so if they think he’s worth keeping around, he’s worth the money.

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