The Buffalo Bills have reinvigorated their tight end room this offseason, adding a first-round pick at the spot for the first time in 40 years. There is a clear desire to utilize more two-tight end sets, which should lead to mismatch opportunities for both tight ends.
However, even with a pretty clear one-two punch at the top of the depth chart, it’s that hypothetical third tight end role that’s up for grabs this summer. Will the Bills go with last year’s TE2 in that role? Will they go to someone new? Or will they ignore it altogether, filling it instead with a flexible player from another position?
In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we talk about one of the young players looking to make the roster as a reserve tight end.
Name: Joel Wilson
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 250 pounds
Age: 22 (23 on 6/21/2023)
College: Central Michigan
Acquired: Signed with Bills on 5/13/2023
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Wilson signed his contract, a three-year deal worth a total of $2.695 million, in mid-May. Should he make the 53-man roster, he carries a cap hit of $754,000 in the 2023 season.
2022 Recap: Wilson had a productive year for the Chippewas, catching 44 passes for 445 yards and six touchdowns in just nine games. All of those totals were career-highs except the touchdown number, which merely tied the high-water mark he’d set the year prior. Wilson suffered an injury to his left ankle that ended his season, and it also reportedly caused him to fail his physical with New Orleans. Clearly, Buffalo felt comfortable enough to sign him to a contract.
Positional outlook: Wilson joins Dawson Knox, Quintin Morris, Dalton Kincaid, and Zach Davidson in trying to make the roster. Fullback Reggie Gilliam also has experience at tight end.
2023 Offseason: Wilson has been participating in offseason activities since signing with Buffalo.
2023 Season outlook: While not entirely impossible, it’s quite unlikely that Wilson makes the final roster. Given that Knox and Kincaid are locks, there’s one hypothetical spot open here, and Morris would probably have the inside track there given that he was the second tight end last season. However, Buffalo only carried two active tight ends for much of last season, and while it’s likely that the team will have a third tight end given a probable shift to more “12” personnel in 2023, it’s not yet a guarantee. The Bills could opt to have Gilliam serve as a fullback/emergency tight end on game days to free up a roster spot elsewhere. All of this is a long-winded way of saying that, while Wilson flashed at Central Michigan, he has a long way to go in terms of making an impact with Buffalo.