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Injury analysis: Buffalo Bills DT Tim Settle

A healthy, youthful option to replace Harrison Phillips?

Washington Football Team v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills continue to plug holes in their defensive line during free agency, signing former Washington Commanders DT Tim Settle on Monday afternoon. The contract terms are essentially two years, $9 million dollars.

After playing four years in a reserve role, Settle hit free agency looking for a chance to find more playing time. Following the loss of DT Harrison Phillips to the Minnesota Vikings, this signing allows the Bills to fill a hole on the interior defensive line and maintain a reasonable cost.

On top of being a cheaper deal than Phillips, Settle comes in as a far healthier player. Below is his publicly known injury history.

Injury History

2018 Washington

Missed zero games. Settle suffered a pectoral injury in Week 15 that led to a questionable designation for Week 16. Details of the injury are not available, however, he did not miss any games.

2019 Washington

Missed one game. Settle suffered a knee injury in the second preseason game that forced him to leave early. The side was not specified but this appeared to be more precautionary as he did not miss any time during the regular season due to this injury.

During the Week 9 matchup against the Buffalo Bills, Settle suffered a hamstring strain eight snaps into the game, forcing him out of the remainder of the game and missing the following week.

2020 Washington

Missed zero games. No publicly reported injuries requiring a game-day designation.

2021 Washington

Missed zero games. No publicly reported injuries requiring a game-day designation. Settle was placed on the COVID-19/Reserve list in December, but did not miss any games.

Buffalo Bills Impact

Settle has not played more than 48% of snaps in a game and only played over 40% of snaps five times in his career. Considering that the Bills rotate their defensive line, he should exceed that 48%, but not much more.

With the increased playing time, I do expect him to be at risk for more injuries, but his past does not suggest that he will deal with a ton of missed time. He is only 24 and has had several years to adjust to the league with regard to taking care of himself.

The hamstring strain is worth noting, but this doesn’t appear to be a recurring issue. Even looking back at his college career, he played in every game over that two-year span. He has been incredibly durable throughout his collegiate and professional career.

I have no reservations with this signing as Settle pay dividends for the defense with the right coaching and playing opportunities. I appreciate that the front office held on to their price and got a player who fits what they need and can be available and productive.