Hot off the heels of releasing 2021 starting right guard Daryl Williams, the Buffalo Bills quickly inked his replacement in the lineup with Rodger Saffold. The veteran guard was just released a few days ago from the last year of his four-year, $44 million contract with the Tennessee Titans. As a true free agent, he was immediately available to negotiate with teams and sign a contract, even though for most players this is the unofficial “tampering” period of the offseason.
Contract details aren’t available yet, but multiple reports have it being one year with a void year to spread out the cap hit similar to what the team did with Emmanuel Sanders a year ago.
A bonus for Saffold’s signing is that he won’t count against the Bills in the compensatory pick formula, not that general manager Brandon Beane puts any emphasis on those draft picks.
Saffold has been a high quality starting lineman for most of his career, after working through some early injuries in the first few years. He has experience at left tackle, left guard, and right guard, although almost all of his action in recent years has been at left guard. Saffold, who turns 34 this year, was a Pro Bowl selection in 2021. He’s played 92 of a possible 97 games in the last six years.
The Bills will have a connection to Saffold through Aaron Kromer, their (returning) OL coach. Kromer worked with Saffold in 2017 and 2018 as members of the Los Angeles Rams, and Saffold was a second-team All-Pro in 2017.
The Bills can now presume to have four of five OL positions locked down for 2022, but might need to replace Saffold next year. If the team re-signs Ryan Bates, that would give them a starting five.