Buffalo Bills 21 pending free agents in 21 days - linebacker Tyler Matakevich

Buffalo Bills
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Tyler Matakevich has long been a special teamer with the Buffalo Bills. He's a player who continues to return for that reason, and he's trusted by Coach McDermott, which goes a long way with the Bills coach. Matakevich has been with the Bills for four seasons and is 31 years old, but it feels like he's been with the team for a decade.

During the last four seasons, Matakevich totaled 55 tackles, most of which while playing special teams. I understand that Coach McDermott places a lot of importance on special teams, and rightfully so; however, the focus needs to be on rebuilding the starting defense and depth. Buffalo's special teams unit wasn't that great this past season.

Matakevich played 18 snaps on the field outside special teams during the 2023 NFL season. I know this might sound crazy but reserving spots on the 53-man roster strictly for special teams should be reconsidered. Build quality depth behind the starters, and let that depth be your special teams. There is nothing personal against Matakevich or A.J. Klein, but these players are not starters or backups. Mahomes and the Chiefs went after Klein, and that made the difference.

With 14 defensive players pending free agency for the Bills and the salary cap situation, the team could save some here and there if they didn't sign players as strictly special teamers. Sign quality players to be backups and have them on special teams rather than the other way around. I understand Coach McDermott trusts certain players and wants to keep them around on the roster, but he and general manager Brandon Beane will need to let some guys go and focus on rebuilding the defense with talent and youth.

All that said, I would be a bit surprised if Matakevich doesn't return in 2024 and once again be primarily a special teamer. Coach McDermott hasn't done anything to make me think differently; however, I have seen him change the way he coaches and learn from the past. Maybe, just maybe, he'll surprise us and change things up on the roster as well.


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