The Buffalo Bills have a tremendous need at cornerback thanks to injuries, and according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, they’re signing former All-Pro Xavier Rhodes to fill that void. Garafolo tweeted that the Bills have signed Rhodes, and the player himself tweeted a welcome to Bills Mafia in a not-quite-officially official confirmation.
UPDATE (10:53 p.m.): ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler is reporting that Rhodes is signing to the practice squad, not the active roster, to begin.
Rhodes, 32, entered the league as a first-round draft choice of the Minnesota Vikings in the 2013 NFL Draft. He spent seven years in Minnesota, totaling 453 tackles, ten interceptions, and 73 pass breakups with the Vikings. His best season came in 2017, when he was named First-Team All-Pro and finished fourth in Defensive Player of the Year voting. In that season, he had two interceptions, ten pass breakups, and 56 total tackles acting as a shutdown corner for the Vikings.
After his stint in Minnesota, Rhodes spent two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, and while he wasn’t quite the player he was with the Vikings, he was still an above-average player, especially in the zone schemes favored by head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Leslie Frazier. Rhodes had three interceptions and 19 pass breakups in two seasons with the Colts.
Buffalo is dealing with a plethora of injuries in the secondary, as cornerback Tre’Davious White is still on the PUP list as he rehabs an ACL injury he suffered last year, cornerback Christian Benford is slated for surgery on the fractured hand he suffered last week, safety Micah Hyde is on injured reserve with a herniated disk in his neck, and safety Jordan Poyer is working his way back from a foot injury that caused him to miss Buffalo’s game against the Miami Dolphins. Rookie first-round pick Kaiir Elam and undrafted rookie Ja’Marcus Ingram were Buffalo’s top two boundary corners by the end of Sunday’s game with Miami, so Buffalo was in dire need of help at the position.
Terms of the contract were not disclosed. Rhodes reunites with his former head coach in Frazier, who was with the Vikings when Rhodes was drafted.