The Buffalo Bills have added, subtracted, re-added, and re-shuffled personnel along their defensive line over the last few seasons. The team is in search of the combination that will maximize pressure on quarterbacks while also remaining stout in the running game. Really, they’re trying to do what every other team does—which is find the best combination of players for their particular defense.
Where general manager Brandon Beane deserves plaudits is his willingness to admit mistakes and move on after a signing doesn’t work. We saw him do it with Quinton Jefferson this offseason, and we could see it again if the team decides that certain players don’t fit. Whether Beane has acquired big-ticket players or buy-low candidates, he’s always in search of an upgrade.
In today’s installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile one such “buy-low” player—a former third-round pick whose career has been wrecked by injury since entering the league.
Name: Nazair Jones
Height/Weight: 6’5” 304 lbs
Age: 26 (27 on 12/13/2021)
College: North Carolina
Acquired: Signed with Bills on 6/22/2021
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Jones signed a one-year contract with Buffalo after the end of mandatory minicamp. Jones’s deal was worth a total of $850,000, none of it guaranteed. They incurred no dead cap charge for releasing him.
2020 Recap: Jones did not play last season, as he was released by Seattle in May. This followed a year missed on injured reserve in 2019 due to a knee injury, so Jones has not appeared in an NFL game since 2018—his second season in the league. Jones did have a tryout with the Chicago Bears last August, but he was not signed by the team. In 2018, Jones played on 13 percent of Seattle’s defensive snaps—exactly half the percentage of snaps he played the year prior. For his career, he has 26 tackles, two sacks, three pass breakups, four tackles-for-loss, six quarterback hits, one fumble recovery, and one interception.
Positional outlook: Jones was the newest member of the Bills’ revamped defensive line group, and he faced an uphill climb to making the roster. Star Lotulelei, Vernon Butler, Ed Oliver, Harrison Phillips, Eli Ankou, Brandin Bryant, Justin Zimmer, and Treyvon Hester are the other DTs on the roster at present.
2021 Offseason: Jones is healthy, but since he signed with the Bills after offseason activities, he didn’t participate in any practices with the team.
2021 Season outlook: I liked Jones coming out of college, but injuries to his lower half have prevented him from making much of an impact in the NFL. Combine that with limited ability as a pass rusher, and he has not been able to transition from college to the pros very well. Jones was released on July 16th.