Buffalo Bills Can’t Lose Chris Hogan In Free Agency


Every season we witness a player coming out of nowhere and make a fool out of scouts.  Whether it was Tom Brady or Cameron Wake, sometimes a scout just whiffs on future all-pro’s.  To be fair, one doesn’t know exactly how a player will turn out as an NFL player but is sure does make a scout feel good when they finally get that nail in the coffin.

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For the past three seasons, the Buffalo Bills have had one of those players that really fell through the cracks and he proved it in 2014.  Chris Hogan, former all-american lacrosse player at Penn State, was cut three separate times in his first season in the NFL before landing on the Bills’ practice squad.

After playing college lacrosse and only one year of collegiate football (Monmouth University), Hogan went undrafted in the 2011 NFL draft but soon after signed on to play with the San Francisco 49ers.  After hurting his ankle during training camp he was cut and scooped up by the New York Giants.  His time there, however, lasted less than two weeks.

At the tail end of the season Hogan was signed on with the Miami Dolphins and was a hit during training camp on HBO’s Hard Knocks and among teammates; former Dolphins running back Reggie Bush named him “7/11” because he always seemed to be open.  He performed well but fell victim to the final round of cuts after the preseason.

Nov 30, 2014; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Chris Hogan (15) carries the ball to score a touchdown as Cleveland Browns strong safety Donte Whitner (31) defends during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

After being unemployed for a couple months Buffalo signed Hogan onto their practice squad and was then promoted onto their active roster towards the end of the 2012 season.  He accumulated only 10 catches for 86 yards in 2013 but came on strong this past season, catching 41 passes for 426 yards and four touchdowns (ranking third amongst Buffalo receivers in all three categories) while also posing as a strong contributor on special teams.

Those numbers aren’t going to pop off the page at you but they are fairly impressive for a player with minimal playing experience other than high school.  When making his collegiate decision, Hogan had the opportunity to choose between division one lacrosse or division one football (received scholarship offers from many schools including Rutgers and Kansas).  His hand-eye coordination was off the charts, and his sub 4.4 40 speed didn’t hurt his stock either.

Looking at the current wide receiver position for the Bills, there doesn’t seem to be that big of a need.  Sammy Watkins played well last year as a rookie and on the other side Robert Woods seemed to improve a lot in his second season out of USC.  There is, however, that open spot at the slot position that may be lacking.  An open slot that Hogan would continue to thrive in with his size (6-1, 202 lbs) if he’s resigned.

Marquise Goodwin could be looked at to fill the void but he’s been given many opportunities and hasn’t proved to be much more than a one-trick pony, primarily a threat running nine routes down the field.  A name that is now popping up a lot is former Bill and fan-favorite Stevie Johnson who was cut recently after being traded to the 49ers just a year ago.

Buffalo’s best bet for next year is to keep Hogan around and take over as the third receiver, permanently.  At only 26, he’s got a lot of years left on his body and is just starting to blossom as a receiver in the league.  By resigning him at, roughly, $2 million a year Buffalo would have the opportunity to spend money elsewhere and not have to worry about the receiver position.

We’ll figure out their plans within the next few days, but the door is closing for 7/11’s time in Buffalo.

Next: C.J. Spiller Set To Hit Free Agent Market

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