In 2019, the Buffalo Bills selected a pair of tight ends in the NFL Draft in an attempt to revitalize the position. In 2020, both of those tight ends dealt with injury issues. They also dealt with COVID-19, although one of those second-year players was impacted more than the other.
In today’s installment of our “90 players in 90 days” series, we profile a player entering his third year—though his second year was wiped out entirely thanks to injury and the pandemic.
Name: Tommy Sweeney
Height/Weight: 6’5” 251 lbs
Age: 25 (26 on 7/1/2021)
Experience/Draft: 3; selected by Buffalo in the seventh round (No. 228 overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft
College: Boston College
Acquired: Seventh-round choice
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Sweeney enters the third year of his four-year rookie contract. For the 2021 season, he carries a cap hit of $874,046. If he’s released, Buffalo is responsible for a dead-cap charge of $48,092.
2020 Recap: Sweeney suffered a foot injury early in the summer, landing on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list on July 28. Buffalo transferred him to the Reserve/PUP list once roster cuts were finalized. He was moved to the Reserve/COVID list on October 24, and then transferred back to the PUP list on November 11. However, Sweeney developed myocarditis, a side effect of COVID-19, which necessitated a shutdown for the season. He was moved back to the Reserve/COVID list on November 23.
Positional outlook: Sweeney once again faces a fight for a roster spot, as fellow 2019 draft choice Dawson Knox remains the probable top dog at the position. Second-year man Reggie Gilliam might be Sweeney’s biggest competition, as the former makes an impact on special teams. Newcomer Jacob Hollister is another favorite to make the final roster. Nate Becker and Quinton Morris round out the group.
2021 Offseason: Sweeney is healthy and participating in OTAs.
2021 Season outlook: Sweeney is either TE3 or TE4, and given the amount of talent at wide receiver, that distinction could be the difference between a roster spot and a practice squad invite. I suppose there is a chance that the Bills keep four tight ends by moving Gilliam to fullback, but if you’re giving me the choice between keeping Sweeney or a project wideout like Marquez Stevenson or Isaiah Hodgins, I’m taking the receiver all day. The Bills’ offense is completely different than it was the last time Sweeney put the uniform on in a game, so he’s going to have to prove that he can hang in a more wide-open setup than the 2019 vintage. Sweeney is on the bubble, and I think the coaches take Gilliam and his versatility over Sweeney as the final tight end.