The Buffalo Bills have built a good deal of offensive line depth over the last few seasons through shrewd signings, solid drafting, and good trades. General manager Brandon Beane has focused his attention on the trenches—a smart move considering the level of investment the team has in its franchise quarterback, Josh Allen.
Beane has not only been able to acquire solid depth annually, but he’s also done a nice job retaining that depth over the course of multiple seasons. Given the lack of strong offensive linemen in the league, Buffalo always seems to be dealing from a position of strength as a result of Beane’s roster building.
In today’s installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile one of the longest-tenured linemen on the team—a player who has been a reserve and a starter at varying points throughout his tenure in Orchard Park.
Name: Ike Boettger
Height/Weight: 6’6” 313 lbs
Age: 26 (27 on 10/5/2021)
Experience/Draft: 4; signed with Buffalo as UDFA on 5/11/2018
Acquired: Signed as UDFA (first stint); claimed off waivers from Kansas City Chiefs on 9/12/2018 (second stint)
Financial situation (per Spotrac): The Bills signed Boettger to a one-year contract extension this offseason. As a restricted free agent, Buffalo placed the “original round tender” on Boettger—a one-year contract worth $2.133 million. None of the money on the contract is guaranteed.
2020 Recap: Boettger began the year as a reserve, and he was inactive for Buffalo’s first four games of the season. Boettger was active for the first time in Buffalo’s Week 5 loss to the Tennessee Titans, and he made his first start two weeks later against the New York Jets. After reverting back to the bench the following week, Boettger again started in Week 10 against the Arizona Cardinals. He did not appear on offense the following week against the Los Angeles Chargers, as the Bills went with Jon Feliciano and Brian Winters at guard for that game. Winters was removed from the starting lineup following that contest, and Boettger ended the season (including the playoffs) as Buffalo’s starter at left guard. He committed four penalties on the year.
Positional outlook: Boettger should be right in the mix in the middle, but the Bills do return both Jon Feliciano and Cody Ford, who were pegged as the team’s starters at guard last year. Both players spent time on injured reserve, opening up an opportunity for Boettger to shine. Buffalo’s other interior offensive linemen include center Mitch Morse and guards Forrest Lamp, Steven Gonzalez, Syrus Tuitele, Jack Anderson, Jordan Devey, and Jamil Douglas, the latter two of whom are listed as “offensive linemen” on the team’s roster.
2021 Offseason: Boettger is healthy and attending OTAs.
2021 Season outlook: The Bills have options on the inside, and Boettger could find himself in a variety of roles. Perhaps the team will trade Ford, clearing a path for Boettger to win a starting job. Maybe they’ll trade Lamp and keep Boettger as the swing guard. Maybe they’ll deal Ike and keep the other three. The best part about the way this roster is constructed is that, whichever way the Bills do it, they have plenty of assets to cover for injuries and poor play. The competition along the offensive line will be fierce all summer, and barring injury, Boettger will be right in the middle of it until the very end.