The Buffalo Bills made yet another back-end roster move on Thursday, signing veteran free agent tight end Matthew Mulligan at the close of the team's mandatory minicamp. Undrafted free agent cornerback Merrill Noel was released to make room for Mulligan on the active roster.
Mulligan, 30, is a 6'4", 267-pound blocking specialist with just 16 receptions in six NFL seasons. He spent the first three years of his career playing for Rex Ryan with the New York Jets (2009-11), and he has since appeared in regular season games for St. Louis and New England. At his peak, Mulligan is a player that can fulfill the role Lee Smith played in Buffalo from 2011-14: that of a blocking specialist (playing between 35-40 percent of snaps) while contributing on special teams, as well.
Buffalo has a pretty interesting competition brewing behind starting tight end Charles Clay, and Mulligan should factor into that race alongside sixth-round rookie Nick O'Leary and undrafted rookie Clay Burton on the blocking side of the equation. (O'Leary has far more skill to offer as a receiver than either of his competitors.) MarQueis Gray and Chris Gragg will compete from the athletic, move-tight end angle.
Mulligan becomes the sixth veteran player that the Bills have added to their roster since the end of the 2015 NFL Draft, joining quarterback Matt Simms, fullback John Conner, defensive linemen Alex Carrington and Andre Fluellen, and outside linebacker Michael Buchanan. It doesn't sound like they're done adding veteran depth yet, either.