3 intriguing Buffalo Bills that can return kicks under new rules in 2024

With great turnover in the special teams room, and the NFL adopting new kickoff rules, the Bills could designate a primary kick returner in 2024.
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In March, the NFL announced that its adopting a modified version of the XFL's low-impact and high-action kickoff rules, beginning in the 2024 season. Bills head coach Sean McDermott sits on the league's Competition Committee, so he was partially responsible for shaping the new-look kickoff, and consequently, the Bills special teams should have early success.

But finding the right player to return kicks could be an open debate amongst members of the team's coaching staff.

Last season, six different Bills returned only 17 kickoffs and four of those players didn't return to the roster. But wide receiver Khalil Shakir and running back Ty Johnson combined for 13 of those returns, although the former will be a significant part of the team's offensive plans this season.

That leaves Ty Johnson as the most likely candidate for full-time duties, but what other Bills could possibly handle kickoffs for the team in 2024?

3 Intriguing Buffalo Bills that can return kicks under new rules in 2024

Curtis Samuel

When the Bills signed Samuel in free agency, general manager Brandon Beane gushed over his versatility.

"We see him as a guy that, yes, can line up in the backfield, can line up at receiver, gadgets, he could be a returner for us."

Brandon Beane, Bills General Manager

Samuel hasn't returned kicks since 2018, but while playing for the Carolina Panthers, he returned 20 kickoffs during his first two seasons as an NFL player. And dating back even further, Samuel returned 21 kickoffs in three seasons at Ohio State University.

Samuel's elite speed, combined with his on-field vision as both a runner and receiver, gives him a legitimate argument to be a primary returner for the Bills in 2024. The validity of this argument will stand trial during the Bills training camp and preseason action.

But Samuel's $24 million contract points to him enjoying a big role in Buffalo.