The Buffalo Bills weren’t done reinforcing their linebackers on the roster after adding Tyrell Adams on Wednesday. A few hours later, the team announced that they’d signed Marquel Lee, formerly of the Las Vegas Raiders, to a one-year contract.
Lee was a fifth-round pick by the Raiders out of Wake Forest in the 2017 draft. The story of his career, to this point, has been injuries dashing his potential. Lee was named the opening day starter at middle linebacker in his rookie year, but he suffered an ankle injury a few weeks into the season and ultimately lost the starting job to NaVorro Bowman.
Lee played a full season in 2018, starting ten games, and had 68 tackles, three tackles for loss, and three passes defended in that year. He also was the team’s top special teams player, appearing on a whopping 86 percent of the team’s special teams snaps.
In 2019, Lee’s ankle problems resurfaced. He landed on injured reserve, returned to action, then went back onto injured reserve a couple weeks later. His season was limited to five games and 11 total tackles.
By 2020, Lee was still dealing with injury problems. He started the preseason on the Physically Unable to Perform list, and the Raiders eventually waived him for failing his physical. The Buffalo Bills press release writes that Lee “missed the 2020 season due to injury.”
With this low-cost contract, the upside for the Bills is another reserve linebacker with starting experience and plenty of special teams impact. At the very least, he gives the team another option for a position group that looks a lot more competitive at the bottom.