The Buffalo Bills have been tested very early and often at cornerback this season, both by opposing offenses and due to the staggering amount of injury to no fewer than eight different defensive backs to this point.
Through the lead-up to and most of this season’s results, Bills Mafia remain frustrated and occasionally confused about the situation with second-year cornerback Kaiir Elam. Plenty want to know what, exactly has happened to him, considering the promise he showed as a rookie — never more the case than during last season’s playoff run.
Most recently, Elam had been fodder for discussion about roster inactives, seemingly a healthy scratch in favor of others being signed off the street and/or elevated off the practice squad (35-year-old Josh Norman, and Ja’Marcus Ingram, respectively). When Norman was called up in Week 8, the move reverberated throughout the fan base. To his credit he balled out, making two significant tackles while featured exclusively on special teams — a unit where Elam doesn’t contribute.
Leading up to the 2023 NFL trade deadline, many believed Elam would be moved due to what’s a perceived lack of fit, ability and so on. That inability now means Elam appears to be an on-field liability. But there may be more to the situation with Kaiir Elam — one that perhaps requires improved patience by all involved.
On Wednesday, Jon Scott revealed that Bills general manager Brandon Beane said the team is “discussing whether or not to shutdown Kaiir Elam due to a nagging ankle injury. Because of that, wouldn’t say all of his inactives this season would be ‘healthy scratches.’”
Brandon Beane says #Bills are discussing whether or not to shutdown Kaiir Elam due to a nagging ankle injury.— Jon Scott (@JonScottTV) November 1, 2023
Because of that, wouldn't say all of his inactives this season would be "healthy scratches."
This all came as a bit of a surprise, given the lack of information anyone outside the team appeared to have regarding Elam’s ankle injury — his health hardly, if ever, being a topic in the frustrating conversations that continue. Then on Wednesday, Elam appeared on the team’s first injury report (“Ankle” / “DNP”) ahead of this weekend’s road game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Wednesday injury report pic.twitter.com/dEH9IJTU1H— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) November 1, 2023
Leading up to the October 31 trade deadline, teams reportedly “checked in on Kaiir Elam’s availability at the trade deadline but the Bills politely declined those inquiries,” according to Matt Parrino. He further share that “(n)o offers were made. Brandon Beane said today there was zero consideration given to trading Elam at the deadline.”
Teams checked in on Kaiir Elam's availability at the trade deadline but the Bills politely declined those inquiries, I'm told. No offers were made.— Matt Parrino (@MattParrino) November 1, 2023
Brandon Beane said today there was zero consideration given to trading Elam at the deadline.
It’s safe to say almost every Bills fan will find that news at least interesting. After all that’s transpired, why would the team continue to roster a player who’s been of little use to them on game days this season?
Because. Potential. And of course investment.
So while Kaiir Elam hasn’t been productive to this point in 2023, it doesn’t appear to be entirely due to a regression or lack of confidence. At minimum, doesn’t it seem wisest for One Bills Drive to see things through, and re-evaluate Elam’s future with the team once he’s fully healthy? If, at that point, Elam still isn’t able to crack the starting lineup, then the idea of him being a poor fit and/or “draft bust” for the Bills, someone best-suited to move on for a fresh start elsewhere — that seems more prudent.