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Who are the 2021 Buffalo Bills roster locks?

There are different reasons for locks.

The term “roster lock” is used very casually by fans and media pundits as we head into training camp. With the Buffalo Bills, the list is actually pretty long. Last year, we had 23 players as roster locks and naturally every one of them made the roster. There was some discussion in the comments about other players—but if you’re even having the discussion, they aren’t a lock, right?

As the talent on the roster has improved, it’s even harder to make the squad. Now nearly every position has a roster battle. The players listed below are literally the guys who can’t possibly play their way off the roster in July and August.

The Draft Pick Locks

These players are locked onto the squad based on their draft position of the last two or three seasons. They were selected in the first three rounds of the last three drafts. We threw in one pick from 2020 because of how cheap his contracts is, but he might fit under the “Play” locks, as well. (Listed in order of draft date.)

  • DE Greg Rousseau (2021)
  • DE Boogie Basham (2021)
  • OT Spencer Brown (2021)
  • DE A.J. Epenesa (2020)
  • RB Zack Moss (2020)
  • WR Gabriel Davis (2020)
  • DT Ed Oliver (2020)
  • OL Cody Ford (2020)
  • RB Devin Singletary (2020)
  • TE Dawson Knox (2020)

The Contract Locks

These players have contracts that prohibit their release (though a few of them theoretically could be traded). They signed deals either this offseason or last offseason. Tremaine Edmunds and Josh Allen have their fifth-year options picked up for 2022, so they have two years of guaranteed money remaining. Also, most of these players’ on-field play make them locks, too. (Listed in order of cap hit until the last two names.)

  • OT Dion Dawkins
  • OC Mitch Morse
  • DE Mario Addison
  • LB Matt Milano
  • DT Star Lotulelei
  • CB Tre’Davious White
  • SS Micah Hyde
  • S Jordan Poyer
  • WR Stefon Diggs
  • LB A.J. Klein
  • RT Daryl Williams
  • DL Vernon Butler
  • WR Emmanuel Sanders
  • OL Jon Feliciano
  • LB Tyler Matakevich
  • QB Mitchell Trubisky
  • P Matt Haack
  • LS Reid Ferguson
  • LB Tremaine Edmunds
  • QB Josh Allen

The Play Locks

This is the only real opinion in the article. These players play so well, they can’t be released. Hughes and Beasley were on recent “surprise cuts” lists elsewhere, but I don’t see any world where they don’t make the team without an injury. (Listed in order of cap hit.)

  • DE Jerry Hughes
  • WR Cole Beasley

That’s 32 roster locks—an incredibly high number. Maybe I was too generous with some of the contractual locks and maybe guys like Dawson Knox or Cody Ford should be on the chopping block. Buffalo restructured several contracts this offseason making it very difficult to cut Mario Addison, Mitch Morse, Star Lotulelei, and Vernon Butler—which places them on the list. They also re-signed several players over the last two years, giving guaranteed money in the first year or two to most of the players on the “Contract Locks” list.

The only player I had on my initial list who I have since removed is kicker Tyler Bass. His contract doesn’t keep him on the team and neither will his draft status. If he somehow struggles in July/August, he could find himself off the roster but there is currently not another kicker on the roster.