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90 Buffalo Bills players in 90 days: G Ike Boettger

After working back from another Achilles injury, the long-time backup looks to make the roster once again

NFL: Buffalo Bills Minicamp Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills added five new players at offensive guard this offseason. Clearly, general manager Brandon Beane thought the interior offensive line was a need to be addressed, and, as a result, he went out and addressed it. The Bills are currently ninth in total spending on their offensive line, up from 14th last year. That’s due in large part to the contracts given to their new additions at guard.

In today’s installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we discuss one of the incumbent players at guard on the roster. While he’s been with the team for the better part of the last six seasons, his days on the roster may be numbered.

Name: Ike Boettger

Number: 65

Position: G

Height/Weight: 6’6”, 313 pounds

Age: 28 (29 on 10/5/2023)

Experience/Draft: 6; signed with Bills following the 2018 NFL Draft

College: Iowa

Acquired: UDFA signing (waived 9/1/2018; signed to practice squad on 9/2/2018; signed to Kansas City Chiefs active roster on 9/2/2018; assigned to Chiefs’ practice squad on 9/11/2018; signed to Bills’ active roster on 9/12/2018)

Financial situation (per Spotrac): Boettger re-signed with Buffalo in March, inking a one-year deal worth a total of $1,182,500. If he makes the final roster, he carries a cap hit of $1,016,250. If Buffalo releases him prior to the start of the season, they’re on the hook for a $50,000 dead-cap charge. If Boettger is on the roster for Week 1, his $1.08 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed thanks to his status as a vested veteran.

2022 Recap: Boettger spent the majority of the 2022 season on the reserve/PUP list as he worked his way back from an Achilles’ tendon tear that he suffered in December 2021. Buffalo activated Boettger for their December 24 contest against the Chicago Bears, and he appeared in the game briefly. He played six snaps on offense and five snaps on special teams. Those were the only snaps he played last year, as he was a healthy inactive for the final three games of the season, which includes Buffalo’s two playoff games.

Positional outlook: Boettger is one of a host of guards trying to make the roster, as the Bills have revamped that positional group thoroughly this offseason. David Edwards, Connor McGovern, Ryan Bates, Kevin Jarvis, O’Cyrus Torrence, Nick Broeker, Greg Mancz, and David Quessenberry are the others that the teams lists either at guard or “OL.” Offensive tackle Tommy Doyle also spent time cross-training at guard last season.

2023 Offseason: Boettger is back to full strength and he is participating in team activities to date.

2023 Season outlook: The Bills clearly like Ike, as they’ve kept him on the roster through multiple philosophy shifts and coaching changes up front. However, with an influx of talent that the team brought in this winter, odds seem good that Boettger won’t make the roster this year. I have to imagine that Bates, McGovern, Torrence, and Edwards are ahead of him in terms of straight “guards,” while Quessenberry and Doyle have versatility on their side. Boettger could beat out Edwards for the fourth interior line spot, a player who will probably be inactive on game days, but that’s about the highest I could see him climbing on the depth chart right now. His contract looks like one a team would give to a player that they hope they can sneak onto the practice squad after final cut-downs, but with the New Jersey Bills New York Giants lurking, it’s possible that Boettger could sign elsewhere with some familiar coaches if he’s released. Ike is a quality reserve, but he could find himself on the outside looking in at the end of the summer.