The Buffalo Bills were one of the teams allocated a player in the International Pathway Program (IPP) prior to the 2019 season. While those players don’t always turn into bona fide NFL players, sometimes the program works. One such player, defensive end Efe Obada, actually signed a free-agent contract with Buffalo this offseason.
As die-hard fans, we tend to latch on to players that have little chance of making the final roster. We watch those players in preseason action and, I think, at least, we see a little bit of our own hopes and dreams in those players. Many of us are former athletes, though the vast majority of us never progressed beyond the basic high school level of competition. However, those back-end guys are the ones who speak to the average Joes among us.
In today’s installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we talk about one of those fan favorites, but make no mistake—he’s no average Joe. This guy is a fantastic athlete looking to make his way in a second professional sport.
Name: Christian Wade
Height/Weight: 5’9” 196 lbs
Age: 30 (31 on 5/15/2022)
Experience/Draft: 1; joined team as member of International Pathway Program
College: St. Mary’s University (UK)
Acquired: Assigned to Bills as IPP player on 4/8/2019
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Wade is signed for the 2021 season at a cap figure of $660,000. There is no guaranteed money in the contract.
2020 Recap: Without a preseason to show his progress, Wade languished as a back-end roster player throughout camp. He did not make the final roster, and Buffalo used their roster exemption to keep him as their extra practice-squad player just as they had during the 2019 season.
Positional outlook: Wade finds himself in a similar situation to what he’s seen before—Buffalo’s top two backs are Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, they have a trusted veteran (Matt Breida) set to be the third back, a special teams ace (Taiwan Jones), and another player who lacks experience at the pro level but has at least played college football (Antonio Williams).
2021 Offseason: Wade is ready to roll for camp, and he has attended OTAs thus far.
2021 Season outlook: It’s quite unlikely that Wade makes the roster regardless of how we feel about the guy as Bills fans. Singletary, Moss, Breida, and Jones make sense as the four backs to make the final roster, with three out of those four active on game days. Perhaps Wade can try his hand as a kick returner during the preseason, which might give him another pathway to the final roster; however, it’s more likely that Buffalo uses the roster exemption (which was given to them earlier in the offseason) to keep Wade as a protected practice squad player for another season.