ESPN gives bold prediction for Buffalo Bills veteran cut
By Avery Duncan
The Buffalo Bills’ eventful off-season should pave the way for some veteran roster cuts. ESPN’s Mike Rodak sees one of the team’s signings as one of those.
The Buffalo Bills made the running back position a priority in the 2019 off-season. Instead of resting on their laurels in hopes for a better season from LeSean McCoy, the team brought in five fresh faces. In free agency, the team brought in Frank Gore, T.J. Yeldon, Senorise Perry, and Christian Wade (NFL International), then drafted Devin Singletary.
Mike Rodak, ESPN’s NFL Nation reporter for the Bills, believes one of those will be gone come seasons start. Not Perry, a career special-teamer, or Wade, a rugby player that’s never played football. His selection: Yeldon, a second-round pick in 2015, as he said in a recent article called “Veterans who could be cut by each of the NFL’s 32 teams” on ESPN:
"There is a logjam at running back, and Yeldon appears to be the closest to the bubble. He missed time with a groin injury, but when he returned to practice during an OTA open to reporters June 4, he ran with the third-team offense.It is still too early to call McCoy or Gore locks, but Yeldon looks to have ground to make up and could be competing with Senorise Perry, a skilled special-teams player, for a final roster spot."
Though Yeldon was running with the third-team offense, cutting him would be a surprise. The Bills brought in the back on a two-year deal worth $2.6 million, with $750 thousand guaranteed, per Over The Cap. The signing came days before the draft, but it’s still an impactful one.
From the get-go, Yeldon should be able to help Josh Allen on third downs. His refined route-running coupled with his natural hands should mean plenty of quick-reads for the quarterback — his excellent blocking will help keep the QB keep his jersey clean.
Since entering the league in 2015, Yeldon has seen a fair amount of his work as a receiver. On the Jaguars, he averaged a reasonably high 4.57 targets a game and turned that into a career total of 171 receptions for 1,302 yards and six touchdowns. That production screams third-down back, yet, he also has the potential to be the Bills’ primary back.
Despite possessing a stout 6-foot-1, 223-pound frame, the Jaguars didn’t utilize Yeldon much as a runner. Outside of his 740 rushing yards and two touchdowns as a rookie, he’s tallied just 1,132 rushing yards and four touchdowns in the league. Though the Jaguars had Leonard Fournette on-board for the past two seasons, it’s hard to see why he wasn’t used appropriately as a complementary back.
In Yeldon, the Bills have a 25-year-old with the potential to be a lead-back and floor to be their third-down ace. Considering that he’s on contract for two years on an affordable deal, cutting him would be a shock despite his injury.
The Bills can’t afford to lose offensive talent, and he’s just that, therefore, I, personally, disagree with Rodak for a potential release of Yeldon. Instead, Perry or last year’s third option Marcus Murphy could be the running back cut.