The Buffalo Bills haven’t punted much in the last few years. In fact, last season, the Bills punted less than anyone. In 2021, they were No. 26 in total punts, and in 2020, they were also last in the league. In short, the Bills are a team that either scores — a lot — or continues trying to do so.
With that said, the punter is often a player who’s forgotten on a roster like Buffalo’s. However, that’s not exactly the case here, as the Bills added a solid, steady veteran at the position late last summer.
In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we discuss that steady veteran — a player who signed a new contract with the squad in March.
Name: Sam Martin
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 211 pounds
Age: 33 (34 on 2/27/2024)
College: Appalachian State
Acquired: Signed with Buffalo on 8/31/2023
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Martin enters the first year of his contract, a three-year deal worth a total of $6 million. If he makes the roster, he carries a cap hit of $1.665 million. If Buffalo releases him prior to the start of the season, the team is responsible for a dead-cap charge of $2.365 million. Martin’s entire base salary, a total of $1.165 million, becomes guaranteed if he’s on the roster for Week 1.
2022 Recap: Martin originally signed with the Bills after final cut-downs, as he spent the entire offseason with the Denver Broncos. He refused to take a pay cut in Denver, so he was released on August 29. He signed with the Bills on August 31 and took over the duties as both punter and holder. Martin was effective, especially considering that he punted less than any full-time punter in the league. He punted 45 times, averaging 47.7 gross yards per punt and 41.3 net yards per punt. Both of those averages were middle-of-the-pack. He hit 16 punts inside the 20, had 13 punts fair caught, and allowed 16 punts to be returned for a total of 145 yards. He also had a punt blocked. As for his duties as holder, kicker Tyler Bass was fantastic yet again, so Martin was just fine in that regard.
Positional outlook: Martin is currently the only punter on the roster. Bass did some punting in college, but he hasn’t done it as a pro.
2023 Offseason: Martin is healthy and participating in offseason activities to date.
2023 Season outlook: Barring some unforeseen circumstances, Martin should reprise his role as the team’s punter this season. His leg looked plenty strong last year, and given the comfort he and Bass seemed to have in the kicker-holder chain of command, there’s no real need to shake things up at this moment, especially given the dead-cap figure associated with releasing him this year. While his cap number seems high for a punter, it’s just No. 15 overall, which is commensurate with his production last year. As with Buffalo’s other specialists, there’s probably no change coming here.