The Buffalo Bills went through the 2021 NFL season with essentially no depth at the tight end position. In fact, there were multiple occasions where the Bills chose to roll with one active tight end on game days.
That probably isn’t going to happen this year, as the team made it a priority to sign a talented backup to their incumbent starter. With new offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey replacing Brian Daboll—his former boss who took the job as head coach of the New York Giants—it’s anybody’s guess as to what the offensive personnel will look like for the Bills come September. Will the team be as “11” heavy as they were last year? Or will we see more two-tight end sets?
In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we focus on one of the new additions as tight end—an undrafted rookie with plenty of potential.
Name: Jalen Wydermyer
Height/Weight: 6’5” 255 lbs
Age: 21 (22 on 12/20/2022)
Experience/Draft: R; signed with Buffalo as UDFA following the 2022 NFL Draft
College: Texas A&M
Acquired: Signed as UDFA
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Wydermyer signed a three-year contract worth a total of $2.56 million. There is no guaranteed money on the deal, so Buffalo can cut ties with him at any point with no dead-cap charge. Should he make the final roster, Wydermyer carries a cap hit of $705,000 in 2022.
2021 Recap: Wydermyer had a third straight productive season with the Aggies, playing in all 12 games as a true junior. He had 40 receptions for 515 yards and four touchdowns. He was second on the team in receptions and receiving touchdowns, and he led the squad in receiving yards. He was named Second-Team All-SEC for the third consecutive season, and he was also a Mackey Award finalist for the second straight year. The Mackey award is presented each year to the “most outstanding” tight end in college football. Wydermyer was second among all SEC tight ends in receiving yardage in 2021.
Positional outlook: Wydermyer joins a positional group that looks very similar to the one last year, with a notable exception. Dawson Knox, Tommy Sweeney, and Quintin Morris all return. The Bills signed O.J. Howard as a free agent. Wydermyer makes the fifth tight end in the group.
2022 Offseason: Wydermyer attended rookie minicamp, and he’s healthy and ready to roll for training camp.
2022 Season outlook: Knox and Howard are roster locks, so the question that remains is whether the Bills will carry two tight ends or three on the 53-man roster. If the team runs more double tight end sets, then a third tight end is going to be necessary. Can Wydermyer unlock his potential and beat out Sweeney, who has been a scratch (both healthy and otherwise) for much of his career? Sweeney was also a productive college tight end, so it’s possible that the Bills will defer to the veteran in the last year of his rookie deal before they replace him with an undrafted rookie. However, if there were odds on which position would be the one for a UDFA to break in on a talented roster like Buffalo’s, I think that tight end is the one.
Wydermyer fell in the draft thanks to horrendous testing during his Pro Day, but his college production indicates a guy who plays better than he tests. Lance Zierlein noted Wydermyer’s jump-ball ability, but he also wrote that the 21 year old did not improve much over his time in College Station. I think that Buffalo will end up trying to stash him on the practice squad, but don’t be surprised if Wydermyer makes the 53 as the inactive tight end on game days, kicking Sweeney off the roster.