The Buffalo Bills added depth to their offensive line this offseason, drafting three players and signing five more who were not on the squad last year. Some of those players will find themselves in legitimate competitions for roster space, while others more likely fall into the “camp body” category.
Even if a player is merely a body for training camp, he can still work his way on to the team in some fashion. Many of those camp bodies are trying to show that they belong on a practice squad, or even that another team should try to claim them off waivers or sign them after rosters are reduced prior to Week 1.
In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we focus on one of Buffalo’s young offensive linemen—a guard trying to make his first NFL team.
Name: Syrus Tuitele
Height/Weight: 6’6” 311 lbs
Age: 22 (23 on 2/6/2022)
Experience/Draft: R; signed with Bills as UDFA following 2021 NFL Draft
College: Fresno State
Acquired: Undrafted free-agent signing
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Tuitele (pronounced two-tell-EE) signed a three-year deal following the NFL Draft. That contract is worth a total of $2.45 million. The Bills did give him a modest signing bonus ($25,000), so they can either keep him on the roster this year at a cap hit of $668,333 or release him and have a dead-cap charge of $25,000 on their ledger.
2020 Recap: Tuitele appeared in and started six games at right tackle for Fresno State last year. Thanks to the pandemic, those were the only six games Fresno State played all season. For his efforts, Tuitele was named Second-Team All-Mountain West at his position.
Positional outlook: Tuitele made 26 starts at right tackle in college, but he’ll transition to guard in Orchard Park. With an assumed top four of Jon Feliciano, Cody Ford, Ike Boettger, and Forrest Lamp, that means that Tuitele has an uphill climb to make the final roster. He’ll try to make an impression by showing that one of those veterans is expendable for draft capital, but then he’ll still have to beat out Jordan Devey, Jamil Douglas, Jack Anderson, and Steven Gonzalez for a place on the roster.
2021 Offseason: Tuitele is healthy and he attended OTAs.
2021 Season outlook: It doesn’t look good for the rookie in terms of making the final roster this year, but combing through his collegiate bio, I did find some tidbits that explain the attraction for Buffalo. Between his perceived versatility as a right tackle kicking inside and the fact that he was a wrestler in high school, head coach Sean McDermott must love his profile. Another fun fact: Tuitele and defensive end A.J. Epenesa are cousins. Tuitele is angling for a spot on the practice squad this year barring some injuries up front.