The Buffalo Bills drafted a kicker in 2020 as competition for well-liked veteran Stephen Hauschka. Aside from being well liked, Hauschka was a reliable veteran who had made some clutch kicks for the Bills. After a down year (which may or may not have been caused by a cheap shot from defensive lineman Henry Anderson), Hauschka’s roster spot was anything but guaranteed.
The Bills decided to give the rookie the kicking job after he won it in camp, and the rest, as they say, is history. General manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott found their kicker of the future towards the end of the 2020 NFL Draft.
In today’s installment of our “90 players in 90 days” series, we profile that kicker, who enters his second year with big expectations after a great rookie season.
Name: Tyler Bass
Height/Weight: 5’10” 183 lbs
Age: 24 (25 on 2/14/2022)
Experience/Draft: 2; selected by Buffalo in the sixth round (No. 188 overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft
College: Georgia Southern
Acquired: Sixth-round choice
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Bass enters the second year of his four-year rookie contract, a pact worth $3,479,218 overall. For the 2021 season, Bass carries a cap hit of $826,054; the Bills are on the hook for a dead-cap charge of $138,164 if he’s released.
2020 Recap: Bass won the kicking competition last summer, but then his career started a bit shakily. In his first game, Buffalo’s Week 1 victory over the New York Jets, Bass missed field goals of 38 yards and 34 yards, though he hit chip shots from 22 and 19 yards. After that stumble, he was average to below-average through Buffalo’s next date with the Jets—he also missed two field goals against New Jersey the second time, though he made six of his eight overall tries. Through his first seven games, Bass was 18-of-19 on extra point attempts and just 12-of-17 on field goal tries. From then on, though, Bass seemed to find his stroke and his confidence, finishing the year 16-of-17 on field goals (with the only miss a desperation boot from 61 yards out as time expired in the first half against the Seattle Seahawks) and 39-of-40 on extra points. In the playoffs, Bass was 7-of-9 on field goals, missing two in a wild wind against the Baltimore Ravens, and 5-of-6 on extra points. Bass also booted 71 of his 101 kickoffs for touchbacks
Positional outlook: Bass is the only kicker on the roster, and while that might change in the dog days of summer so that he can have some rest, it very well could remain this way.
2021 Offseason: Bass is healthy and attending OTAs.
2021 Season outlook: Bass is ready to kick field goals and take names once again for the 2021 Buffalo Bills. Now that he’s been able to shake the nerves of kicking professionally, the next hurdle will be kicking in full stadiums—something that I imagine is much harder than it appears while I’m imploring guys like Bass just to “make a darn kick” from my couch. The team has confidence in Bass, and that 6-for-8 performance against the Jets last year showed Bass that he should have as much confidence in himself as the team does. Hopefully, that confidence spills over into this year and beyond.