Buffalo Bills: 4 Takeaways from the initial 53-man roster

Reggie Gilliam, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports)
Reggie Gilliam, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Buffalo Bills
Aug 21, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Buffalo Bills tight end Reggie Gilliam (41) runs for a touchdown past Chicago Bears free safety Tashaun Gipson (38) during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports /

These are the top four takeaways from the Buffalo Bills initial 53-man roster.

Cut day is always an exciting day. Seeing what the roster will look like heading into the first week of the season can either give fans a sense of optimism or dread. Buffalo Bills fans are no different, as they anxiously awaited the team’s announcement of the cuts they made.

The Bills released 23 players today, and it is worth looking at what we can take away from the decisions made today.

Reggie Gilliam’s versatility saved someone’s roster spot

Reggie Gilliam is a valuable asset to the Buffalo Bills. His abilities as both a fullback and tight end have allowed him to carve out a role with the Bills for himself for the foreseeable future.

Gilliam was listed as a tight end last season. He registered just two catches for sixteen yards, but he did record a touchdown catch. Gilliam played only 7% of Buffalo’s offensive snaps, but he did play an important role on special teams, playing 42% of the team’s special teams snaps.

Gilliam’s versatility is not limited to an on-field role, however. Gilliam’s occupation of both a tight end and fullback allowed a roster spot to open up, removing another tough roster decision for Brandon Beane.

It is easy to think that players like Damar Hamlin and Tyrel Dodson were saved by Gilliam’s versatility, but there are other names who could have been spared.

Harrison Phillips or Justin Zimmer could have been let go if the Bills had to fill a third tight end spot. The Bills kept 11 defensive linemen, and depending on where each one of them stood on the roster going into the day, one of them could’ve been packing their bags.

Deciding between Phillips or Zimmer would have been by far the toughest decision that Brandon Beane had to make, but Reggie Gilliam’s versatility saved one of them.