The Buffalo Bills have added two players to their roster, signing running back / kick returner Kerrith Whyte and cornerback Tim Harris on Monday afternoon. In a corresponding move, the Bills placed OL Forrest Lamp on injured reserve, and waived WR Duke Williams with an injury designation.
Whyte, 24, joined the NFL as a seventh-round pick in the 2019 draft—the same year as his college (and now NFL) teammate, Devin Singletary. At Florida Atlantic, Whyte had 232 career carries for 1,358 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also averaged 26.1 yards per kickoff return and had two kick return touchdowns in college.
Whyte played in six NFL games for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2019. He notched 122 rushing yards on 24 attempts and brought back 14 kickoffs for 264 yards.
At the moment, rookie receiver/returner Marquez Stevenson is dealing with a foot injury, so the Bills likely signed Whyte to give them a little insurance ahead of their final preseason game.
Harris, a former sixth-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers, has two game appearances, both from 2020. In total, he played 18 snaps on special teams during those games. The 6’1” 205-lb Harris started 30 games for the Virginia Cavaliers.
With Dane Jackson and Cam Lewis both missing a little time in last week’s preseason game (and the possibility that Levi Wallace and Tre’Davious White are healthy scratches against the Green Bay Packers), the Bills may be looking to shore up their defensive backs before the final roster cutdown.
On the other side of the transaction are two players who weren’t able to make waves on two crowded depth charts this offseason. It’s a tough but fair break for Williams, whose aggressive, physical style of play made him a fan-favored underdog in 2019. As the Bills continued stacking up talent around him, Williams stuck around on the practice squad, but he wasn’t able to lock up a roster spot this year. Against the Bears, Williams only caught one of three targets for eight yards. Being waived with an injury designation means that Williams (who isn’t a four-year NFL veteran) has to go through waivers before the Bills could, theoretically, put him on injured reserve. They could also release him with an injury settlement after he clears waivers.
For Lamp, it’s the latest in a string of disappointing injuries disrupting his career. The former second-round pick hasn’t been able to stay on the field long enough to make good on his potential, and this year it cost him a chance at a backup role with the Bills. By landing on injured reserve before the season starts, Lamp’s 2021 is already over. He’ll be a free agent next year, hoping to latch on with the Bills or another team in the preseason.