The Buffalo Bills have depth at defensive tackle. This is something we seem to write every year, as the Bills have stocked and re-tooled their defensive line on a yearly basis under general manager Brandon Beane. This year, though, the stockpiling seems to have been done more intentionally, as they tried to add depth to a particular position — the 1-tech — while securing the 3-tech long-term.
In a rotation-heavy scheme like Buffalo’s, the backup defensive linemen become a bit more important than they do in other places. Rather than playing, say, 20% of the defensive snaps, Buffalo’s reserves often play anywhere from 35%-45% in a given game. That means that the team needs quality reserves, not just a high quantity of players at the position.
In today’s installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile one of those potential reserves — a player looking to stick with the club after joining the Bills late last season.
Name: Kendal Vickers
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 295 pounds
Age: 28 (29 on 5/23/2024)
Acquired: Signed with Buffalo on 1/9/2023
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Vickers signed his reserve/futures deal at the conclusion of last season. That contract is a one-year deal worth a total of $1,012,500. That number represents his cap hit if he makes the 53-man roster. The Bills will carry a dead-cap charge of $2,500 — the value of Vickers’ signing bonus, if he’s released.
2022 Recap: Vickers began last season with the Las Vegas Raiders, and he played eight games with the club. He had 10 tackles in those games, matching a career-high he set in 2020. Unfortunately for him, Vickers suffered a back injury heading into the team’s Week 11 matchup with the Denver Broncos. The Raiders released Vickers in December after he was healthy, and the Bills signed him to their practice squad just one day following his release. He didn’t play in a game for Buffalo, and he was released from the practice squad two weeks later. He remained unsigned until he inked that reserve/futures deal.
Positional outlook: Vickers is one of many defensive tackles vying for a roster spot. Ed Oliver, DaQuan Jones, Jordan Phillips, Tim Settle, Poona Ford, Eli Ankou, Cortez Broughton, and DJ Dale are the others.
2023 Offseason: Vickers is healthy and participating in offseason work.
2023 Season outlook: With the top of the DT depth chart looking fairly settled, it’s hard to imagine someone like Vickers breaking camp with the team. Barring injury, some combination of Oliver, Phillips, Jones, Ford, and Settle are in the mix to be the top group, with one player from that grouping a potential cut or trade candidate, as well, if the team only goes with four players at the position. Vickers has some potential to play dual roles on defense, as he could fill in as both a 1-tech and a 3-tech, so a trip to the practice squad again could be in his future. However, there’s little chance that he’ll be on the 53-man roster once the team starts play in September.