The Buffalo Bills saw a resurgence with their rushing attack during the second half of the 2021 season. On Sunday, the team agreed to a contract extension with a key reason for that revival: fullback Reggie Gilliam, who was set to become a restricted free agent in 2023.
Gilliam and the Bills agreed on a two-year contract extension that will keep Gilliam in Western New York through the 2024 season. According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the deal is worth up to $5.2 million.
The #Bills are signing FB Reggie Gilliam to a two-year extension worth up to $5.2 million. Former undrafted FA was set to be a restricted FA in ’23.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 7, 2022
Gilliam and Toledo teammate #Steelers WR Diontae Johnson, both repped by Brad Cicala of @QCSports, get extensions 3 days apart.
During last year’s run to the AFC East Division championship, Gilliam appeared in all 16 regular-season games, making five starts while setting career highs in both categories.
Buffalo’s ground game saw improvements in a few ways last year, both with and without Gilliam on the field. While the team’s yards per carry on designed runs fell slightly with Gilliam on the field (from 4.73 yards per carry to 4.44), the team was more successful when they ran the ball with Gilliam as part of their blocking scheme.
The Bills went from a negative-value running team to a positive-value running team with Gilliam on the field, and their success rate on runs (the rate at which they earn positive expected points per play) increases from 41.8% to 48.8% when Gilliam is on the field. That’s a huge spike—one that would signify an improvement from 23rd in expected points added (EPA) per carry to 14th and from 24th in success rate to third.
Gilliam also contributes in the passing game, cross-training at tight end and seeing some H-back looks.
Since signing with Buffalo as an undrafted free agent in 2020, Gilliam has appeared in 30 games (plus five postseason contests). Gilliam has three career rushes for three yards, and has caught five passes for 39 yards with one career touchdown catch—a two-yard TD against the Miami Dolphins during the 2020 season.
Gilliam is also a key special teams contributor. Last year, he saw 315 snaps on the special teams unit, second-most on the squad behind only Tyler Matakevich.