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90 Buffalo Bills players in 90 days: WR Andy Isabella

Is the speedy former second-round pick a legit contender for a roster spot, or a camp body looking for a second chance?

Los Angeles Rams v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills spent much of the 2023 offseason getting bigger at wide receiver. The team added plenty of players who tower over Buffalo’s wideouts of the last few years—some of those players even make Gabe Davis, the Bills’ “big” wideout at 6’2,” look small. While it definitely seems like the Bills had a “type” at wideout this offseason, that doesn’t mean that was the only type of player they were looking to add.

In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we discuss a newcomer to the squad for the third straight day. This wideout definitely breaks the type of the big receiver, as he is only bigger than one other player in his position group. The size of the dog in the proverbial training camp fight matters less than the size of the fight in that dog, though, so it remains to be seen whether he’ll be able to earn a roster spot.

Name: Andy Isabella

Number: 87

Position: WR

Height/Weight: 5’9”, 188 pounds

Age: 26 (27 on 11/18/2023)

Experience/Draft: 5; selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the second round (No. 62 overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft

College: UMass Amherst

Acquired: Signed with Buffalo on 7/28/2023

Financial situation (per Spotrac): Isabella signed a one-year contract on July 28. That deal is worth a total of $1.08 million. His cap hit stands to be $940,000 if he makes Buffalo’s roster. Spotrac doesn’t list any guarantees on the contract, so Buffalo can release him prior to Week 1 without carrying a dead-cap number. If he’s on the roster for that first week, his entire base salary (the full $1.08 million) becomes guaranteed thanks to his status as a vested veteran.

2022 Recap: Isabella began the 2022 season with the Cardinals, and he played sparingly in three of the team’s first four games. He was inactive in Week 2 thanks to a back injury. He saw just five targets on 67 snaps in the three games he played with Arizona, catching two passes for 21 yards. The Cardinals waived Isabella on October 4, and he signed with the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad on October 10. He was finally elevated to the active roster for the first time in December, appearing in Baltimore’s Week 16 and Week 17 games. He suffered a thigh injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the latter contest, but he was healthy enough to appear in Baltimore’s playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals two weeks later. He only registered one rushing attempt for one yard as a member of the Ravens.

Positional outlook: Isabella joins a crowded receiver room in Buffalo. Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, Khalil Shakir, Trent Sherfield, Justin Shorter, Marcell Ateman, Dezmon Patmon, KeeSean Johnson, Deonte Harty, Tyrell Shavers, Bryan Thompson, and Isaiah Coulter are the others.

2023 Offseason: Isabella is healthy and participating in training camp after his initial workout with the Bills led to a deal.

2023 Season outlook: Isabella is in the NFL because of his blazing speed — he ran a 4.31-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2019. That speed hasn’t translated to success in the NFL, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t click in the right setting. Buffalo definitely has room for competition in the slot, which is where Isabella would have to play, and at kickoff returner, which is something he hasn’t done regularly since his freshman year of college. His making the team is certainly a long shot, especially given the strong camp so far from Sherfield, but a strong preseason showing could lead to a roster spot elsewhere or a place on Buffalo’s practice squad.

We’ll have to see how the team decides to use Isabella as practice and the preseason unfolds, but I can’t imagine this being much more than the team kicking the tires on a highly athletic prospect rather than a signing that’s going to majorly impact the team this season.