The Buffalo Bills are in search of more production from the tight end position. This much we know. Whether the team intends to extract more production out of the players on the current roster or via exploring other options is what we don’t know for sure.
At present, it would appear that the Bills are prepared to head into the 2021 NFL season with a similar tight end group to last year’s crew despite rampant offseason speculation about adding a veteran tight end to the room. Early training camp reports suggest that 2019 and 2020 starter Dawson Knox has performed well, so standing pat could ultimately be the right move.
In spite of that, the Bills did add to their tight end group earlier this week. In our latest installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile that addition.
Name: Bug Howard
Height/Weight: 6’4” 230 lbs.
Age: 26 (27 on 11/28/2021)
Experience/Draft: 1; signed with the Indianapolis Colts as UDFA following the 2017 NFL Draft
Acquired: Signed with Bills on 7/30/2021
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Howard signed a one-year contract with the Bills for an undisclosed amount. I assume that he signed for the league minimum, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of $660,000 overall. I also assume that there is no guaranteed money on the deal, so the Bills should be able to release him without being responsible for a dead-cap charge.
2020 Recap: Howard spent the 2020 season like he has much of his professional career—he bounced between teams while trying to make enough of an impression to remain on a roster. He began the year with the Denver Broncos, but they waived him on April 27. Howard then joined the Alphas of The Spring League, which was operating in the Fall of 2020. Howard signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars’ practice squad in December, but he was not offered a reserve/futures contract at the conclusion of the NFL regular season.
Positional outlook: Howard joins a positional group that has been fairly set since the spring. Dawson Knox, Jacob Hollister, Tommy Sweeney, Nate Becker, and Quintin Morris are Buffalo’s other five tight ends.
2021 Offseason: Howard signed with Buffalo after a minicamp tryout in June. He’s been with the team officially since the last week of July.
2021 Season outlook: Howard has little chance at making the final roster, though his profile as a former college wide receiver is at least intriguing. As a junior at UNC, he was the second-leading receiver for new Bills’ quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who was on his way to being drafted No. 2 overall. Howard caught 53 passes for 827 yards and a team-high eight touchdowns. Perhaps that chemistry leads to a spot on the practice squad? In any case, unless Howard really impresses in the preseason, he is on the outside looking in for the Bills.