The Buffalo Bills have once again rebuilt their defensive line. They added two new defensive tackles via free agency, and they added a big-time pass rusher out on the edge. Even by allowing some veterans to walk, they’ve opened up snaps for younger players who are ready to contribute more at the pro level.
The constant tinkering along the defensive line is admirable given that the Bills haven’t been happy with the overall production out of the unit over the last few years. The unspoken issue, of course, is that the team has felt the constant need to change their personnel because they haven’t put together a personnel group that has had tremendous success.
In today’s installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we discuss a defensive tackle who has been with the team since the 2020 season.
Name: Brandin Bryant
Height/Weight: 6’2” 305 lbs
Age: 28 (29 on 9/16/2022)
Acquired: Signed with Bills’ practice squad on 9/17/2020
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Bryant signed a reserve/futures deal in January, a two-year pact worth a total of $1.905 million. For the 2022 season, Bryant carries a cap hit of $895,000 if he makes the club. The Bills did not guarantee any part of the contract, so they won’t carry a dead-cap charge if he’s released or traded.
2021 Recap: Bryant spent the offseason with Buffalo, appearing in all three preseason games. He was a menace in those contests, racking up seven tackles, 1.5 sacks, and one tackle for a loss. He did not make the final roster, though, and he signed with Buffalo’s practice squad. He remained on the practice squad for the duration of the season. Buffalo elevated him to the active roster for two games—their 31-6 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thanksgiving night, and their 33-27 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two weeks later—but he reverted back to the practice squad each time. He played 18 snaps against New Orleans, totaling one tackle and one quarterback hit. Against Tampa Bay, he appeared on 14 defensive snaps and five special teams snaps, making one tackle.
Positional outlook: Bryant is one of eight defensive tackles on the current roster. Ed Oliver, Tim Settle, DaQuan Jones, Jordan Phillips, Eli Ankou, C.J. Brewer, and Prince Emili are the others.
2022 Offseason: Bryant is healthy and he’s appeared in all OTAs to date.
2022 Season outlook: Buffalo’s top four here seems pretty obvious, as I’d expect Oliver and Jones to start games with Settle and Phillips rotating in as reserves. With two years of experience in the defense, Bryant is a good veteran presence to keep on the practice squad, but the team may also want to go with younger, more explosive athletes in Brewer or Emili. Buffalo is Bryant’s fifth NFL home (he’s also spent time with the Montreal Alouettes and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the CFL), and it’s the only stop where he’s stayed for more than one season. He clearly fits what the team wants in a reserve, so I don’t doubt that he’d be okay staying on the practice squad if Buffalo wants him there. The key is whether the Bills will want to move on or not. We’ll see what transpires once training camp opens.