The Buffalo Bills under general manager Brandon Beane consistently build significant depth along their offensive line. Sometimes, those moves pan out in the sense that the team finds viable starters in unlikely areas. Sometimes, those moves pan out in the sense that the team can flip extra linemen for late-round draft choices (which Beane then, generally, uses to move up in earlier rounds to select “his guy”). And sure, there have been some misses along the way, as well.
In the team’s continuing quest to ensure that the offense can run smoothly under the direction of stud quarterback Josh Allen, focusing on the offensive line makes perfect sense. There’s no need to stop tinkering with the group up front until it’s perfect, and there’s no need to stop adding quality players because, let’s face it, an NFL season is rarely perfect. There will be injuries, so the team needs to make sure that they have plenty of players ready to go just in case.
In today’s installment of our “90 players in 90 days” series, we profile the biggest of Buffalo’s free-agent acquisitions (monetarily speaking) this offseason — a guard who seems likely to be a starter come September.
Name: Connor McGovern
Height/Weight: 6’5” 318 pounds
Age: 25 (26 on 11/3/2023)
College: Penn State
Acquired: Signed with Buffalo on 3/16/2023
Financial situation (per Spotrac): McGovern inked a three-year deal worth a total on $22.35 million this offseason. Of that total, $11 million is guaranteed. For the 2023 season, McGovern will count $4 million against the cap.
2022 Recap: McGovern entered the season as a starting guard for the Cowboys, but just seven snaps into the year, he suffered a high ankle sprain, which caused him to miss the following two weeks in addition to the remainder of that first contest. McGovern returned in Week 4 and didn’t miss a game from that point onward. In 909 offensive snaps, McGovern committed just one penalty and allowed only two sacks.
Positional outlook: McGovern enters the fray looking like a probable starter along the interior, as he and Ryan Bates appear to be in line to begin the year as the team’s two guards. Rookie O’Cyrus Torrence figures to provide competition, as do veterans Ike Boettger and David Edwards. Nick Broeker, Greg Mancz, and Kevin Jarvis round out the guards.
2023 Offseason: McGovern is healthy and ready to roll for the team’s offseason program.
2023 Season outlook: Given the contract figures, it’s quite likely that McGovern is one of the two starters at guard this season. However, once the real games start, the team isn’t going to play people based on money, so he’ll definitely have to earn his place — especially after the Bills were able to steal Torrence in Round 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft. McGovern isn’t one of the best guards in the league, but he isn’t one of the worst, either — which is what Rodger Saffold was by some metrics last season. McGovern has played both left and right guard, and most of his time in Dallas was spent on the left side given that Zack Martin occupied the right guard slot. If the team thinks that Ryan Bates would be better served by a move back to the left side, however, they could easily have McGovern play on the right given his versatility. Overall, this is a very Brandon Beane signing along the offensive line: McGovern is a versatile piece, and the Bills are betting on him maxing out his potential in Orchard Park, NY.