Should the Buffalo Bills Sign Scott Chandler?


Former Buffalo Bills tight end Scott Chandler was recently released by the New England Patriots after one season with the team. This begs the question, should the Buffalo Bills sign Scott Chandler?

It’s no secret that salary cap space is very limited for the Buffalo Bills this offseason. Currently, estimates that the team has $9.7 million in free salary cap space. The Bills are currently in the process of negotiating a contract with free agent Richie Incognito. If a deal gets done, it will likely take up $4-$5 million of that $9.7 million cap space. Luckily for Buffalo, Scott Chandler wouldn’t cost a lot of money if they decide that they want to pursue him in free agency.

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Last year, Scott Chandler’s cap hit with the Patriots was $2.25 million. He was signed primarily as a backup to Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots often use multiple tight end sets so Chandler saw the field for a total of 399 plays. In contrast, Charles Clay was on the field for 779 plays and Chris Gragg played 358 snaps for the Bills last season.

Chandler did not put up very good receiving statistics with the Patriots. He finished with just 23 receptions for 259 yards. The lowest amount of receiving yards he had in the prior four seasons during his stint with the Bills was 389. One reason for his diminished performance could have been a knee issue he was suffering from.  He was released by the Patriots because he failed his end of season physical as reported by Mike Reiss of ESPN. His offensive statistics definitely regressed but he finished as the 9th best run blocking tight end in the league last year according to Pro Football Focus.

Buffalo currently has three tight ends on their roster. They are Charles Clay, Chris Gragg, and Nick O’Leary. The Bills recently released tight end MarQueis Gray who was one of four tight ends on their roster last season. They choose to carry so many tight ends because offensive coordinator Greg Roman likes to use multiple tight end sets with his offensive schemes. It’s safe to assume Buffalo would like to add at least one more player to the position before training camp begins.

So would a reunion between Scott Chandler and the Buffalo Bills make sense? Let’s take a look at the tight ends on the Bills roster at the end of the season and see how they compare with Chandler. The numbers in the below table are from

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As you can see from the table above, Charles Clay was the best run blocking tight end for the Bills last season. He was ranked 25th best in the league at his position while Chandler was ranked the 9th best. Buffalo could use a tight end who excels at run blocking especially considering that Greg Roman and Rex Ryan are both on the record as saying they want to have a “ground and pound” style of offense.

Chandler is a physical specimen at 6’7″ and 263 pounds. With a frame that large, he is not easy to push around which is why he was so good at blocking on running plays. His height is ideal for targets in the red zone even if he does not have the best of hands.

Signing Chandler could create big matchup problems for other teams if the Bills were able to use him and Charles Clay simultaneously in the red zone. It would be extremely difficult for an opposing defense to account for both Clay’s athletic ability and Chandler’s size at the same time. On top of that, Buffalo’s opponents still need to cover Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy, two of the better players at their positions in the entire league. Not many teams have the defensive personnel to cover all those players and their unique attributes at once.

Buffalo would benefit from bringing Scott Chandler back assuming that he can recover from the knee issues he is having. As with every other decision in the NFL, it will come down to money to determine if it makes sense for both sides. The minimum amount he could sign for in 2016 is $885,000 because of his nine years of experience in the NFL.

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If the Bills can sign a healthy Chandler to a deal at or just above the veteran minimum he could be a huge asset to the team next season as a run blocker and a red zone target at a relatively cheap price.