clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

90 Buffalo Bills players in 90 days: OT Brandon Shell

A Hall of Famer’s great-nephew, the younger Shell is a solid player in his own right

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills added tremendous depth along the interior offensive line this offseason. The Bills have brought in multiple guards in an effort to solidify what was a weaker part of the roster last season. What they haven’t done much of, however, is adding depth at the offensive tackle spot.

The offensive tackles, by and large, are the same as the group last year. There are six tackles on the current roster who spent time with the team last season, including the two starters and the two primary backups from the 2022 campaign. While that may signal that the team is content at the position, there is at least one indication that they aren’t.

In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we discuss one of the two newcomers at tackle — a player with 72 NFL starts under his belt who also happens to be the great-nephew of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Art Shell.

Name: Brandon Shell

Number: 68

Position: OT

Height/Weight: 6’5”, 324 pounds

Age: 31 (32 on 2/6/2024)

Experience/Draft: 8; selected by the New York Jets in the fifth round (No. 158 overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft

College: South Carolina

Acquired: Signed with Bills on 6/1/2023

Financial situation (per Spotrac): Shell signed a one-year contract with Buffalo worth a total of $1,317,500. Of that total, $152,500 is guaranteed in the form of a signing bonus. That number also represents the dead-cap charge, for which the Bills will be responsible should they release Shell prior to the start of the season. As a vested veteran, the entirety of his base salary, a total of $1.165 million, becomes guaranteed if he’s on the roster for Week 1.

2022 Recap: Shell began the 2022 season unemployed, as he had been been placed on Injured Reserve by the Seattle Seahawks towards the end of the 2021 season, and the team didn’t re-sign him after his contract expired at the conclusion of the year. Shell signed with the Miami Dolphins’ practice squad on September 19 of 2022, and he played his first game with the team in Week 5. He started at right tackle for the Dolphins in Week 6 after being elevated off the practice squad once again, and then the team signed him to the active roster prior to their Week 7 contest. He made 11 starts for the Dolphins and appeared in 13 games. He primarily played right tackle, as he has for most of his career, but he also spent some time at left tackle in place of Terron Armstead. Shell committed four penalties and allowed two sacks on the season.

Positional outlook: Shell is one of eight tackles on the current roster. Dion Dawkins, Spencer Brown, Alec Anderson, David Quessenberry, Richard Gouraige, Tommy Doyle, and Ryan Van Demark are the others.

2023 Offseason: Shell is healthy and he participated in offseason workouts once he signed with the club.

2023 Season outlook: Shell is a really high-quality signing. He provides good competition at right tackle for incumbent starter Spencer Brown, who struggled mightily in his second year as he worked his way back from an injury to his back suffered in the offseason. He also provides solid depth at a position that doesn’t have much, which is problematic considering the $258 million invested in one Joshua Patrick Allen to play quarterback.

Shell is a better player than Tommy Doyle and David Quessenberry, and while the latter certainly filled in admirably last year, he didn’t exactly inspire confidence in any of his turns with big snap numbers last season. The Bills essentially replaced Bobby Hart with Shell, and while Hart was better than many of us — myself included — gave him credit for, he’s not close to the player Shell is.

I think Shell starts the year as the swing tackle, but if Brown falters at all in the season’s first month, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him either riding the pine or rotating with Shell at some point. I don’t think that the Bills will mess around and try to release him only to re-sign him after the season’s first week in order to avoid guaranteeing his base salary, although I suppose it’s at least possible, so it’s worth a quick mention.

The battles at tackle, to me, are Brown vs. Shell for a starting gig, with the loser going to the bench, and Quessenberry vs. Doyle for a reserve spot, with the loser going off the roster. Shell is, at least in my eyes, safely on the roster.