When people discuss the ways that Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane helped to develop quarterback Josh Allen, most of the talk centers on the weapons he provided. John Brown, Cole Beasley, Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis, Dawson Knox, and Emmanuel Sanders all come to mind right away. Recent signings like Jamison Crowder and O.J. Howard further exemplify the team’s commitment to surrounding their quarterback with talented skill players.
A less popular discussion is how the team solidified what I’d argue is the most important position on the offensive line for a young quarterback: the center. The center helps to diagnose blitzes, aids in making protection calls, and helps to make a quarterback’s life easier. Especially given how raw Allen was coming out of college, adding a legitimate center to help bring him along in the mental aspects of the game was a genius-level maneuver.
In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we discuss that center—a veteran who recently signed his second contract with the team.
Name: Mitch Morse
Height/Weight: 6’6” 305 lbs
Age: 30 (31 on 4/21/2023)
Experience/Draft: 8; selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the second round (No. 49 overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft
Acquired: Signed with Buffalo on 3/13/2019
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Morse would have been in the final year of his original four-year contract this season. Instead, the team inked him to a two-year extension worth a total of $19 million, so Morse is now under contract through the 2024 season. For this year, he carries an $8 million cap hit and a $13.39 million dead-cap number should he be released or traded.
2021 Recap: Morse started all 17 games for the Bills, and he also started both of the team’s playoff games. He was solid all season long even as the Bills shuffled every position around him while trying to find a combination that worked. Morse committed five penalties on the season and allowed just two sacks on his 1,167 offensive snaps.
Positional outlook: Morse is the center, with Greg Mancz the most logical backup as of now. Ryan Bates, who will most likely start at guard, is the only other player the Bills list at center. Rookie tackle Derek Kerstetter started eight games at center during the 2020 NCAA season.
2022 Offseason: Morse is healthy and participating in offseason workouts.
2022 Season outlook: Morse has been the starting center since the 2019 season, and he will remain the starting center so long as he’s healthy. His signing has been just as important as any of the flashier additions Brandon Beane has made along the way. While it might not receive the attention that a receiver, tight end, or running back would, solidifying the pivot is huge. Morse has been to Allen what Kent Hull was to Jim Kelly, and hopefully the pairing can remain together for the duration of this contract and beyond.