The Buffalo Bills have re-signed one of their restricted free agents, bringing linebacker Andre Smith back into the fold. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the contract was for two years with a maximum value of $3 million. ESPN reporter Marcel Louis-Jacques independently reported the news, as well.
Smith joined the Bills in the 2020 preseason when the team traded a conditional pick to the Carolina Panthers. They ended up releasing Smith before the season began, voiding the conditional trade, but re-signed him to their practice squad. Smith was called up numerous times from there, eventually settled onto the team’s 53-man roster, and played in 12 games for the Bills.
A backup linebacker, Smith barely played for the Bills on defense. His main appearances came during the first game against the New England Patriots, when a wave of injuries had hit the team’s main linebackers, and the finale against the Miami Dolphins, after the game was well in hand. Between Tremaine Edmunds, Matt Milano, and A.J. Klein leading the way, Smith only took 47 snaps on defense last season.
On special teams, though, Smith was a key member of the unit pretty much from Week 7 onward. He averaged 18 special teams snaps per game, and overall ranked fifth on the Bills in special teams snaps. That’s in spite of not being called up for most of the first half of the season. Smith had eight solo tackles and one assisted tackle in 2020, one tackle for loss, and a forced fumble.
The Bills have three other restricted free agents remaining: Corey Bojorquez, Levi Wallace, and Ike Boettger.