The Buffalo Bills are running out of options to play in the defensive backfield after rookie cornerback Christian Benford broke his hand during Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins. That might explain why the team is hosting free-agent cornerback Xavier Rhodes on a visit today, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.
#Bills are hosting veteran CB Xavier Rhodes today on a visit, source says. Buffalo down a few corners.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) September 27, 2022
Rhodes, who was originally drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 2013, is a former All-Pro who played in three Pro Bowls (2016, 2017, 2019) and 94 games for the Vikings, tallying ten interceptions during that time. He was released by Minnesota after the 2019 season and joined the Indianapolis Colts shortly after. Rhodes spent the past two seasons with the Colts, where he had 81 tackles and three interceptions.
Making Rhodes an intriguing prospect to join the Bills and help fill in the gap that injuries have created on the Buffalo roster is the fact that Leslie Frazier, Buffalo’s defensive coordinator/assistant head coach, was the Vikings head coach the year Rhodes was drafted. Obviously, Frazier has been interested in the now-31-year-old cornerback since his early days and should have an idea about how he would fit into the culture that the Bills’ coaching staff has intentionally built in Buffalo.
With Benford out for an undetermined amount of time—head coach Sean McDermott announced yesterday that he would have surgery on the hand today and then the team would know more about a timetable for his return—and cornerback Dane Jackson still recovering from neck injury that he occurred in week two against the Tennessee Titans, the Bills are down to just two active corners on their roster, Kaiir Elam and Siran Neal. The team also has undrafted free-agent cornerback Ja’Marcus Ingram, whom they elevated from the practice squad just in time for Sunday’s game. Ingram recorded his first NFL snaps when he entered the game for the injured Benford.
In his press conference yesterday, McDermott said that he would know more today as to whether the team needed to start looking for players. While nothing new has been stated on the timeline for the injured Bills, the fact that Rhodes is at the Buffalo facilities would make it seem that the Bills aren’t expecting anyone back soon.
In addition to Benford and Jackson being out, the Bills are missing their All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White who started the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. While White is eligible to return to the team after their Week 4 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the reality is that he hasn’t played in a game since Thanksgiving Day when he tore his ACL in a non-contact play against the New Orleans Saints. It is highly unlikely that White would be available to play by Week 5 and it would be realistic to think he may not be back before the Buffalo’s Week 7 bye.