The Buffalo Bills didn’t add a tight end of consequence last offseason in what was likely a make-or-break year for the third-year starter on their roster. By the end of the season, he led all tight ends in the NFL in touchdowns, which is one of the reasons Dawson Knox is number three on our list of best Bills values.
In order to afford big contracts for their talented players, the Bills must also find some diamonds in the rough. Cheap veterans and rookies on their entry contracts have to play a major role on the Buffalo Bills and general manager Brandon Beane has found several.
In the past when we’ve done our listing, we used cap hit to reflect value, but with the cap shenanigans employed by Brandon Beane recently and the improvement of the databases, we’ve switched to yearly cash payments as our metric.
Knox was 41st on the team in cash during the 2021 season, making just $880,000. That ranked him 79th in the entire NFL at the tight end position.
Despite only playing in 15 games due to injury, he led the NFL in touchdowns by a tight end (9) while catching 49 passes for 587 yards. All of those are career highs. He was second on the team in receiving TDs, third in receptions, and fourth in yards. He caught five passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns against the New England Patriots in the Wild Card round on another monster day.
In all, he played 76.5% of the team’s offensive snaps in 2021, more than tripling up Tommy Sweeney at the tight end position. If you just count games he played in, he was only below 78% once in 2021. (In the season-opening loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers they tried unsuccessfully to use four-WR sets to exploit the perceived poor play of the Pittsburgh secondary.)
He’s entering his contract year, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he gets a contract extension at some point close to the regular season or during the season, which would make this the final year on this list. A 2023 franchise tag isn’t out of the question, either.
Buffalo Bills 2021 Best Values
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- TE Dawson Knox
- WR Gabe Davis
- CB Levi Wallace
- DT Ed Oliver
- DT Harrison Phillips
- S Jordan Poyer
- OT Spencer Brown
- RB Devin Singletary