The Buffalo Bills have plenty of depth along the offensive line thanks to general manager Brandon Beane, whose philosophy on offensive line depth falls into line with a great Tom Petty album cut: Too Much Ain’t Enough. No matter how many players a team thinks it has up front, protecting The Franchise (in this case, Josh Allen) is essential.
In years past, the Bills were scrounging for players to protect their various quarterbacks. Now, it’s a near a certainty that the team will release offensive linemen who will make other rosters, and who may even start for other teams this year.
In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile one of those depth players—a road-grader who faces an uphill climb to be part of the interior line in Orchard Park.
Name: Steven Gonzalez
Height/Weight: 6’4” 332 lbs
Age: 24 (25 on 5/11/2022)
Experience/Draft: R; signed with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted free agent following the 2020 NFL Draft (since he was released prior to the start of the season, he has accrued no service time, thereby retaining his rookie designation)
College: Penn State
Acquired: Signed with Buffalo on 5/12/2021
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Gonzalez signed a one-year contract worth a total of $660,000 in May. That total also stands as the cap figure if he makes the roster. The Bills can release him without any dead-cap charge.
2020 Recap: Gonzalez went undrafted after his senior season at Penn State, signing with the Cardinals following the annual selection meeting. He spent training camp with Arizona but did not make the club. He was not part of any team’s practice squad following his release, though he did have a workout with the Detroit Lions last year.
Positional outlook: Gonzalez finds himself in the midst of a crowded positional group. Cody Ford, Jon Feliciano, and Ike Boettger all started games for Buffalo last year, and Forrest Lamp started 16 games for the Los Angeles Chargers last season. Jordan Devey and Jamil Douglass all have starting experience at guard, and the Bills also have Ryan Bates, Jack Anderson, and Syrus Tuitele on the roster.
2021 Offseason: Gonzalez is healthy, he participated in OTAs, and he is at training camp.
2021 Season outlook: Gonzalez is a huge dude—he’s actually dropped nearly ten pounds since graduating from PSU—and he was a solid starter at both left and right guard for the Nittany Lions. However, when looking at all of the talent in front of him, there’s almost zero chance that he sticks with the roster this season. He may be worth a look on the practice squad, but I think the Union City, NJ native will be looking elsewhere to continue his NFL dreams come September.