The Buffalo Bills have made it clear through their actions this offseason that they intend to incorporate the tight end more in the passing attack in 2023. Buffalo spent a first-round draft choice on the position for the first time in 40 years, and they’ve added to the back-end of the room, as well.
In today’s installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we discuss that back-end addition — a player Buffalo had interest in as a prospect. He’s looking to return to the NFL after a strong showing in the USFL this past spring.
Name: Jace Sternberger
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 251 pounds
Age: 27 (28 on 6/26/2024)
College: Texas A&M
Acquired: Signed with Buffalo on 7/25/2023
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Sternberger signed a one-year deal with Buffalo on the first day of training camp. His contract is worth a total of $1.01 million, which would also be his cap number if he makes the final roster. There are no guarantees on the deal, so Buffalo would not carry a dead-cap charge if they were to release him.
2022 Recap: Sternberger hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since the 2020 season, and while he did have a workout with the Cleveland Browns last season, a contract offer didn’t materialize. He instead played for the Birmingham Stallions of the USFL, where he thrived. In ten regular-season games with the Stallions, Sternberger caught 33 passes for 517 yards and seven touchdowns. Birmingham had the top-scoring offense in the league, notching 287 points on their way to an 8-2 record. The Stallions won the USFL championship, as well, and Sternberger was solid in the playoffs. He totaled six receptions for 127 yards and a touchdown in two playoff games.
Positional outlook: Sternberger is one of five tight ends on Buffalo’s roster, joining Dalton Kincaid, Dawson Knox, Quintin Morris, and Joel Wilson. Reggie Gilliam is a fullback, but he has experience at tight end, as well.
2023 Offseason: Sternberger played the spring season with Birmingham and signed with Buffalo right at the opening of training camp.
2023 Season outlook: Sternberger is in no way a roster lock, but he also makes what was a pretty mundane positional battle much more interesting. Previously, the only real question was whether or not Buffalo would keep a third tight end (Morris) or use Gilliam as the emergency tight end on the roster. Now, it seems obvious that the Bills intend to keep three tight ends on the final roster, and Sternberger is legitimate competition for Morris at the TE3 spot. Buffalo was interested in Sternberger prior to the 2019 NFL Draft, but they drafted Dawson Knox in the third round instead when Sternberger went before Buffalo’s selection.
In terms of his NFL production, Sternberger doesn’t have much, as he caught 12 passes for 114 yards and one touchdown in 18 career games. That’s pretty similar production to Morris, who has eight catches for 84 yards and a touchdown in his 14 career games. Buffalo isn’t going to keep both of them, so the tight end group just added its first true battle of the 2023 offseason with Sternberger’s signing. I’ll call this battle a toss-up for now, but it’s one that I’ll be watching much more intently once the preseason games start.
Sternberger has a shot to join what could be a scary-good offense in Buffalo, and while his role would probably be quite limited, he fits right in with the tight ends Buffalo has atop the depth chart.