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Opinion: What the Bills should do at right tackle this offseason

Paths to regression must be avoided

The interior of the offensive line may be one of the most talked about position groups for the Buffalo Bills this offseason due to the potential for turnover in multiple spots. However, the right tackle position is one that only recently became solidified by the acquisition in 2020 of unrestricted free agent Daryl Williams on a one-year, $2.2m deal. Now that his deal is up, the Bills are left with questions about the position that saw arguably its first season of above-average play since Jason Peters manned the spot for ten games in 2005. Since then, Terrance Pennington, Seantrel Henderson, Erik Pears, Langston Walker, Kirk Chambers, Mansfield Wrotto, Jordan Mills and Cody Ford have all taken their shots to solidify the position to mixed results. So what should the Bills do this offseason at this important position? I have some thoughts and in organized form, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3:

1. Leave Cody Ford be

There may be a temptation from the coaching staff to move Cody Ford back to right tackle, the position at which he started his career. The idea that you have a second-round pick waiting in the wings to take over for Daryl Williams may be tempting, but Cody Ford has been bounced around his entire young career. Leave him at guard and let him compete for a spot where his talents still have an opportunity to be maximized.

2. Re-sign Daryl Williams

Buffalo Rumblings’ contract projection for Williams is four years, $35 million with $18 million fully guaranteed (although conceptually it’s a three-year, $24.6 million deal). Spotrac lists William’s market projection at $7.8 million average annual value as well.

Sign. Me. Up.

Josh Allen is the engine that makes the Bills’ offense go and keeping him protected with weapons to utilize should be a high priority for this organization in 2021. In 2020, Williams and Dawkins gave the Bills the type of bookend tackles that teams dream about and Williams should be the priority pending free-agent re-signing for Buffalo this offseason. There are more than a handful of restructures, extensions, and releases that can be utilized to generate the type of space necessary for a move of this type, and they should be utilized to keep a good right tackle in Buffalo.

3. Check in with LaAdrian Waddle

Waddle was out of football in 2020 after signing a one-year, $2 million contract with the Bills in 2019 and suffering a torn quad during camp. Checking in with his agent on the availability of a 29-year-old swing tackle certainly doesn’t seem like a bad idea given the probable departure of Ty Nsehke. Waddle was signed by the current front office and was coached by the current coaching staff in its offensive system. A reunion would allow Ryan Bates to compete along the interior of the offensive line instead of having him default to the swing tackle role.

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