After tonight’s fourth and final preseason game the Buffalo Bills will begin forming their 53-man roster to open the 2018 season.
With Saturday’s 4:00 p.m. 53-man roster deadline the Buffalo Bills will have less than 48 hours to decide who they will keep and who they will cut heading into Week 1 in Baltimore.
While it is still possible (if not likely) that the Bills roster will change after the deadline as other teams cut players that the Bills may be interested in adding, the initial 53-man roster cut may be met with some surprises.
While a good portion of the Bills 53-man roster is essentially set in stone, another part of it is still up for grabs. Some of these spots will ultimately be decided by who stands out in tonight’s preseason finale.
Most of these fringe roster players will get extended playing time in tonight’s game and a good showing may go a long way in helping them secure a spot on the 53-man roster.
Other Bills players could be surprised to find themselves on the wrong end of the cut line come Saturday evening. These cuts could be done for a variety of reasons, but all of them would either have been a surprise before the preseason started, or even still a surprise to some all together.
Let’s take a look at three Bills who would be surprise roster cuts:
TE Charles Clay
While it may be unlikely that the Bills cut Charles Clay, it is certainly not out of the question. Since signing with the Bills, Clay has never come close to living up to the contract that he signed. While some of that may be out of his control due to not ever being matched up with a legitimate passing quarterback, the fact remains that Clay is highly overpaid.
If the Bills were to cut Clay they would be saddled with a dead cap hit that is equal to his salary for the 2018 season. This means that the would essentially be paying him to not be on the roster. However, if the Bills would rather keep one of their younger and cheaper tight ends with an eye toward the future then this may be worth the dead cap hit for the Bills.
Clay has been virtually invisible in the preseason and when you have heard his name it has more than likely been due to a dropped pass. Will Charles Clay be cut? Probably not but it’s certainly not out of the question.
The Bills traded for Coleman early in training camp for what was essentially nothing. The Bills gave up a seventh-round pick two years from now for Coleman. Since arriving in Buffalo, Coleman has done virtually nothing to separate himself from the rest of the wide receiver pack on the Bills roster.
While Coleman is a former first-round pick and is blessed with blazing speed, his work ethic and dedication to football have been a question since he was drafted by the Browns. Coleman was brought to Buffalo to give him a fresh start and see if he could maximize his potential in a new surrounding. He has yet to impress.
Coleman will be given every opportunity under the sun to make a case to stick to the roster tonight in the preseason finale, and if he does he can probably be considered safe to make the roster. However, if he fails to produce yet again he may find himself on the outside looking in.
The Bills may elect to cut him in favor of one of their own draft picks like Ray-Ray McCloud or players that they have tutored on the practice squad over the past year like Brandon Reilly. Heading into tonight’s game it is 50/50 as to whether Coleman makes the roster.
Washington was a third-round pick by the Bills’ previous regime of Rex Ryan and Doug Whaley. Washington has not done very much since that fateful day.
When you add that to the fact that Washington is far from an ideal match with the Bills defensive philosophy it has been no wonder why the Bills have been rumored to potentially cut Washington heading back to training camp last season. Washington has done little to stand out during preseason this year either and he may find himself cut as a result.
If another defensive tackle has a standout performance in tonight’s preseason finale it may push Washington over the brink of the cut line. Washington is also a candidate to make the initial 53-man roster only to be cut shortly after when the Bills scan the waiver wire and find a better scheme fit in a player that was released by another team. Heading into tonight’s game it is not looking very good for Washington.
Some fans might think that the fringe, bottom of the 53-man roster players are not all that important, but that is far from the truth.
These players are often counted on in emergency situations due to injury, or can even surprise with a big performance in a regular season game if given the opportunity.
While Bills fans might not be sweating out who makes the final 53-man roster and who the surprise cuts may be, Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott are as they continue to reshape the Bills roster in their image.