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90 Buffalo Bills players in 90 days: WR Jalen Wayne

A rookie with an NFL pedigree fights for space on the roster

NFL Combine Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills have 13 wide receivers in camp right now. That’s 14% of the team’s current roster dedicated to one positional group. Perhaps it’s because the team wants to rest their big names that they have so many people in to compete during offseason work and training camp — or maybe it’s because they’re not quite satisfied with the group as a whole.

Either way, the Bills are going to cut at least six or seven wideouts at the end of the summer. That level of attrition means that the positional group will be one of the more closely watched units on the roster.

In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile a rookie whose cousin — Reggie Wayne — was one of the NFL’s best receivers of his era.

Name: Jalen Wayne

Number: 87

Position: WR

Height/Weight: 6’2”, 207 pounds

Age: 24 (25 on 5/13/2024)

Experience/Draft: R; signed with Buffalo as UDFA following the 2023 NFL Draft

College: South Alabama

Acquired: UDFA signing

Financial situation (per Spotrac): Wayne signed a three-year contract worth a total of $2.71 million after the 2023 NFL Draft. Of that total, $15,000 is guaranteed in the form of a signing bonus. That number represents the dead-cap charge Buffalo will eat if they release Wayne prior to the start of the season. If he makes the 53-man roster, he carries a cap hit of $755,000.

2022 Recap: Wayne was a sixth-year senior thanks to the extended eligibility granted to players after the COVID-19 pandemic. He set career-highs in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns — notching a 58/816/9 line over 13 games. He led the Sun Belt Conference in receiving touchdowns. Thanks to his solid year, he earned an invite to the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. He ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash and showcased a 34.5” vertical leap. Those measurables were among the lower-tier of the wideouts invited to the combine.

Positional outlook: Wayne is one of a plethora of wideouts on the roster at present. Buffalo has Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, Khalil Shakir, Deonte Harty, Trent Sherfield, Justin Shorter, KeeSean Johnson, Tyrell Shavers, Dezmon Patmon, Marcell Ateman, Isaiah Coulter, and Bryan Thompson on the roster, as well.

2023 Offseason: Wayne is healthy and participating in offseason activities to date.

2023 Season outlook: The likelihood that Wayne makes the roster is remote, as there are a lot of players who are slated to be paid as if the team expects them to be on it come September — that group includes Diggs, Davis, and Harty, with Sherfield, Shakir, and Shorter coming in just behind them. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, as the Bills have brought in a lot of new faces to compete. Most of those new faces are big, though, and with Wayne being neither particular large or fast, he might find himself caught in-between a philosophical shift at the position. He’ll probably see plenty of reps this preseason, and he could make a case to stick around on the practice squad, but it’s pretty likely that he’s on the outside looking in come September.