Last month, we took a look at all the ways the Buffalo Bills could address the tight end position this offseason. Now, it’s your turn to read the excerpts and vote on what you think the best option is. If you want more info on a certain topic, click the linked headline.
Tyler Kroft is well rounded and effective across most of the play book. He was the only tight end on the 2020 Bills I think you could make the above statement about. I like Kroft on the Bills, though snap counts definitely suggest the team wasn’t as enthusiastic about him as I am. Knox and Gilliam are exciting as prospects and, if you’re into gambling, Kroft is expendable. But until they’re better than Kroft they’re not and in 2020 they were not.
There aren’t any surprises on film. Dawson Knox is a case where pretty much everyone sees the same thing. The good news is that all the tools are there for a great player to emerge. A major jump in blocking and consistency when catching aren’t that much to ask for right? OK, yes it’s a big ask but not an unreasonable one. I don’t think it would be all that shocking for year three to be a breakout season for Knox. But I wouldn’t put all my eggs in that basket just in case.
If he’s cut or if he retires, the results on the salary cap are the same; the Bills save a good chunk of money. He’s set to make $1.9 million in base salary, $100,000 in a workout bonus, and the roster bonus this season. None of his $2.25 million cap hit is guaranteed in 2021. He doesn’t have pro-rated signing bonus money that needs to be held to account. As long as the Bills release him by the fifth day of the league year in March, they won’t be on the hook for any money in 2021.
The answer to the Bills’ questions at tight end are not on the roster right now. Even if they kept the expensive Smith to pair with Knox and Becker made a jump, they’d have to hope that Sweeney would be healthy and able to play in 2021.
Here’s your first projection pick. The 6’3” 250-lb Smith just had his best season—41 catches, 448 yards, and eight touchdowns.
This is your other projection pick. Everett is pretty similar to Jonnu Smith and also made it through four years of football without a true “breakout” season—2020 was his best year, with 41 catches for 417 yards and one touchdown.
The future Hall of Famer hardly missed a beat in his return to action, with 45 catches for 623 yards and seven touchdowns. His blocking prowess is, of course, legendary.
He’ll be 34 years old in 2021, but doggone it, Cook still has fuel left in the tank. He was a Pro Bowl selection in 2018 and 2019, and caught 37 passes for 504 yards and seven touchdowns in 2020.
If you’re looking for a backup tight end who could handle the kind of H-back role the Bills feature in their offense, Burton’s a valid choice. His best season was a 54/569/6 season in 2018 when he played 80 percent of snaps. Other than that year, he never cracked 34 percent in his career.
Kyle Pitts (Florida)
Pat Freiermuth (Penn State)
A unique athletic specimen, Pitts is an elite, massive receiving target and has more than a passing resemblance to former Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis—but he needs to improve his blocking. Luckily, he has the frame for it. With ample size and speed, Freiermuth has the rounded skillset to be a do-it-all tight end, but that talent never came to full fruition in college, and it’s fair to wonder if he can reach his potential in the pros.
Tommy Tremble (Notre Dame)
Hunter Long (Boston College)
Brevin Jordan (Florida)
Bruce lays out his thought process in a multi-step process.
1. Assume a Lee Smith retirement, and if not—release him
2. Sign Dan Arnold away from the Arizona Cardinals
3. Draft Tommy Tremble
Now it’s your turn to vote! What should the Bills do at tight end this season?
What should the Bills do at tight end this offseason?
This poll is closed
Re-sign Kroft, keep the band together.
Let Kroft leave, keep everyone else
Wave bye to Kroft & Smith, stick with Knox/Sweeney/Gilliam/Becker
Bye to Kroft & Smith, draft a player to pair with Knox
Bye to Kroft & Smith, sign a solid tight end to pair with Knox
Sign a new tight end to be the starter
Draft a guy to be the starter