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Long snapper Reid Ferguson among cuts for Buffalo Bills’ initial 53-man roster for 2021

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills have whittled their roster down to the required 53 players before 4 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, but don’t think this is the final version of their roster. The team still has some work to do, moving a young player or two to injured reserve and re-signing a veteran. They could also be on the lookout to increase depth at certain areas on their active roster.

We listed players in alphabetical order in the roster list but there is a projected depth chart at the bottom. Free-agent signings are marked with an asterisk while NFL Draft picks are marked with a plus sign and UDFAs are marked with a double plus sign.

Quarterback (2)

Josh Allen
Mitch Trubisky*

Cut: Jake Fromm, Davis Webb

The Bills have Trubisky as the primary backup to Allen. Fromm and Webb are both possibilities for the practice squad. With Allen presumably fully vaccinated and not at risk of a mandatory quarantine, they didn’t need a third QB on the active roster.

Running Back (5)

Matt Breida*
Reggie Gilliam
Taiwan Jones
Zack Moss
Devin Singletary

Cuts: Kerrith Whyte*, Antonio Williams
Injured Reserve: Christian Wade

Moss and Singletary may have to work hard to keep Breida off the field this year. Jones is a special teams roster spot, and Gilliam will be a jack-of-all-trades at tight end, fullback, and on special teams. Wade has a guaranteed spot on the practice squad and Antonio Williams has a strong case, as well.

Wide Receiver (7)

Cole Beasley
Gabriel Davis
Stefon Diggs
Jake Kumerow
Isaiah McKenzie
Emmanuel Sanders*
Marquez Stevenson+

Cut: Tanner Gentry, Brandon Powell*, Steven Sims*, Isaiah Hodgins

Kumerow had such a strong camp, it wasn’t surprising to see his name pop up on the roster. Hodgins is a player I didn’t want to see cut, but he hasn’t been healthy enough to make an impact. Maybe he will be back on the practice squad. McKenzie, who is potentially dealing with a multi-week injury right now, is likely headed for injured reserve in the next day or so.

Tight end (2)

Dawson Knox, Tommy Sweeney

Cut: Nate Becker, Jacob Hollister*, Quintin Morris*

Hollister is likely headed back to 53-man roster after another player goes on injured reserve. Sweeney’s foot injury is just another example of the snake-bit former seventh rounder’s bad luck, but he somehow made the squad. This is a position where they may bring in someone from the outside, too.

Offensive tackle (4)

Spencer Brown+
Tommy Doyle+
Dion Dawkins
Daryl Williams

Cut: Bobby Hart*

Brown has been working at left tackle with Dion Dawkins sidelined and floated back to the right side after Dawkins returned. His injury is not considered serious. I had wanted them to try and trade Hart, but they couldn’t get a bag of footballs for him at this point.

Interior OL (5)

Ryan Bates
Ike Boettger
Jon Feliciano
Cody Ford
Mitch Morse

Cut: Jordan Devey, Jamil Douglas*, Jack Anderson+

A draft pick released in Anderson is just the third of Brandon Beane’s tenure. Morse has been unquestioned while Boettger, Ford, and Feliciano have been rotating. Bates is solid, versatile depth.

Defensive Tackle (5)

Vernon Butler
Star Lotulelei
Ed Oliver
Harrison Phillips
Justin Zimmer

Cut: Brandin Bryant
Injured reserve: Treyvon Hester*

Justin Zimmer played like a man with his hair on fire and the general manager and coaching staff talked him up like no other. Phillips played his way onto the roster during training camp, but he is hurt right now and is another great candidate to make the 53 then immediately go on IR to be brought back later. While folks have wanted Vernon Butler gone, with Phillips hurt, they kept him on the roster.

Defensive End (6)

Mario Addison
Carlos Basham, Jr.+
A.J. Epenesa
Jerry Hughes
Efe Obada*
Greg Rousseau+

Traded: Darryl Johnson, Jr.
Cut: Mike Love
Injured reserve: Treyvon Hester*

The Bills shipped Johnson to the Panthers on Monday. They kept almost everyone else on a deep defensive end group where you’ll see at least one game day inactive each week.

Linebacker (6)

Tyrel Dodson
Tremaine Edmunds
A.J. Klein
Tyler Matakevich
Matt Milano
Andre Smith

Cut: Marquel Lee*, Tyrell Adams*, Joe Giles-Harris

A solid group of NFL-caliber linebackers, Smith played his way onto the roster during camp and Dodson was too valuable to let go after his strong play a year ago. The Darryl Johnson trade really paved the way here, I think.

Cornerback (5)

Dane Jackson
Taron Johnson
Siran Neal
Levi Wallace
Tre’Davious White

Cut: Rachad Wildgoose Jr.+, Nick McCloud++, Olaijah Griffin++, Cam Lewis

Cam Lewis is a high priority for the practice squad, I’d think, especially with injuries to the second through fourth cornerbacks on the roster. They’ve exposed him to waivers before and he went unclaimed. Wildgoose is just the third or fourth draft pick not to make the team, along with Anderson.

Safety (4)

Damar Hamlin+
Micah Hyde
Jaquan Johnson
Jordan Poyer

Cut: Josh Thomas

Hamlin moves into the developmental safety role over former UDFA Thomas, but it was close, and Thomas will end up on the practice squad again. If Johnson is expected to be out multiple weeks with his injury, he’s another player they could carry for a few days before placing on injured reserve and re-signing a veteran cut.

Specialists (2)

K Tyler Bass
P Matt Haack*

The Bills cut Reid Ferguson, but he will be back soon. It’s a procedural move.

Here is the depth chart provided by the team prior to the opener:

2021 Buffalo Bills Offseason Depth Chart

Position Starter Backup Reserve
Position Starter Backup Reserve
QB Josh Allen Mitchell Trubisky*
RB1 Zack Moss Matt Breida* Taiwan Jones
RB2 Devin Singletary
FB Reggie Gilliam
WR1 Stefon Diggs Jake Kumerow Marquez Stevenson+
WR2 Emmanuel Sanders* Gabriel Davis
SWR Cole Beasley Isaiah McKenzie
TE Dawson Knox Tommy Sweeney
LT Dion Dawkins Spencer Brown+
LG Jon Feliciano
C Mitch Morse Ryan Bates
RG Cody Ford Ike Boettger
RT Daryl Williams Tommy Doyle+
LE Mario Addison Greg Rousseau+ Efe Obada*
NT Star Lotulelei Vernon Butler Harrison Phillips
DT Ed Oliver Justin Zimmer
RE Jerry Hughes A.J. Epenesa Carlos Basham+
MLB Tremaine Edmunds A.J. Klein Tyler Matakevich
WLB Matt Milano Tyrel Dodson Andre Smith
CB Tre'Davious White
FS Jordan Poyer Damar Hamlin+
SS Micah Hyde Jaquan Johnson
NB Taron Johnson Siran Neal
CB Levi Wallace Dane Jackson
K Tyler Bass
P Matt Haack*
KR/PR Isaiah McKenzie Marquez Stevenson+