Buffalo Bills are entering the final days of their 2020 training camp, even if it seems like it just began. In less than two weeks the club welcomes the New York Jets to Bills Stadium for their season-opening contest in front of no fans.
Even sooner is training camp cut day. The Bills have until Saturday at 4 p.m. to get down to 53 players. In order to get there, some guys will but cut, while others could be interesting trade options. Perhaps some of these moves could be considered surprises, too. Buffalo general manager Brandon Beane hasn’t been shy about making bold moves in recent seasons, which has included swinging players for draft picks.
With that, let’s look at a few surprise cut and trade candidates as the Bills enter the final week of training camp:
T.J. Yeldon. (James P. McCoy/The Buffalo News via AP, Pool)
RB TJ Yeldon
reportedly. He was with the team earlier this offseason. If Williams impressed enough in the final few days of camp, could Yeldon be expendable? Williams was once a highly-touted Ohio State prospect. He transferred closer to home and played in a loaded backfield so his numbers were never eye-popping enough to get him drafted out of UNC. But having said that, it’d certainly be considered a surprise to see Williams stay and Yeldon go.” data-reactid=”47″>TJ Yeldon potentially not making this roster comes down to one other player: Antonio Williams. The Bills re-signed Williams this week, reportedly. He was with the team earlier this offseason. If Williams impressed enough in the final few days of camp, could Yeldon be expendable? Williams was once a highly-touted Ohio State prospect. He transferred closer to home and played in a loaded backfield so his numbers were never eye-popping enough to get him drafted out of UNC. But having said that, it’d certainly be considered a surprise to see Williams stay and Yeldon go.
Devin Singletary and Zack Moss. Williams was likely signed this week due to injuries at the position over the past week.
Trent Murphy. (James P. McCoy/The Buffalo News via AP, Pool)
DE Trent Murphy
Since the start of training camp, Trent Murphy has been a name that’s circled on such lists. While not a bad player, Murphy’s certainly not lived up to his contract to this point. Murphy did turn it on late last season with two sacks in the season finale and another two in their playoff loss to the Texans. But that contract he signed would also save the Bills $8 million on their salary cap if they wanted to move on from him. But because of the pay connected to his contract, it seems unlikely that the Bills would fetch a trade partner for Murphy at this point.
However, if Buffalo is comfortable with other defensive ends along their defensive line rotation, Murphy could be moved out this week. But if he isn’t cut, that could be a sign that the Bills are going all-in on 2020 because that’d be some big-time depth in Murphy.
Bills defensive end Darryl Johnson. (James P. McCoy/The Buffalo News via AP, Pool)
DE Darrtyl Johnson
Mario Addison, he’s pushed down the depth chart and it’s going to be tough for him to make the roster now. In addition, throughout 2019, Johnson continued to lose snaps as the Bills only really ran a rotation with three edge defenders. Johnson did chip in on special teams.
But Johnson made the team’s roster last season and maybe that experience could fetch the Bills a late-round pick for him? It seems more likely that the Bills could try to stash him on the practice squad if he isn’t on their final 53-man roster.
Isaiah McKenzie. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
WR Isaiah McKenzie
Andre Roberts and rookie Isaiah Hodgins. But McKenzie does plenty that no one else can do, running jet sweeps and chipping in on offense in various ways for coordinator Brian Daboll. What also could be an underlying reason for keeping him is his ability as a backup return man for the Bills as well.
McKenzie’s status with the Bills is essentially that of a bubble guy. He has a unique skill set, but not one that would lock up a spot for him. But does that same talent make him appealing as a trade candidate for another team, too? Or is it too difficult to fit him in another offense? A lot of question marks surrounding McKenzie.
Colts Evan Boehm. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)
OL Evan Boehm
As things sit now, Evan Boehm looks like the offensive lineman that could be involved in a trademark Beane trade. Think Wyatt Teller or Russell Bodine. Those former Bills players weren’t going to win a job with many snaps in Buffalo, but their value was still high enough to land Beane a late-round pick in the draft. Boehm signed with the Bills to compete for a job, but so did others. The recently signed Brian Winters might not slide into Jon Feliciano’s starting spot like we first thought, however, he probably has an advantage to stick around due to experience. Then there’s Darryl Williams, who’s got a bit more opportunity to show himself during training camp, which indicates the Bills like him. Boehm could be a valuable depth player certainly, but if a late-round pick comes calling, Beane may pull that trigger.
Bills Ty Nsekhe blocks against Shaq Lawson.
OL Ty Nsekhe
Potentially a very surprising guy that could be moved is Ty Nsekhe. It’s hard to envision that the Bills would just cut him. The only way the Bills would leave Nsekhe off their final roster is if he garners them one of those draft picks.
At 34, Nsekhe might not have a ton of career left, but he has certainly shown he has plenty of tread left on the tires, even out-preforming Cody Ford last season via Pro Football Focus’ grading system. But like Boehm, Williams could be the one that makes Nsekhe expendable. Not only Williams, but Jon Feliciano will eventually return to the lineup this season after he recovers from his chest injury.
Williams, like Nsekhe, can play both inside and outside on the right side of the offensive line, but once Feliciano returns, and assuming Ford resumes as Buffalo’s right tackle… Where does that leave Williams and Nsekhe? The musical chairs at Bills training camp this year seems increasingly more difficult than once imagined.
Bills wide receiver Robert Foster. (James P. McCoy/The Buffalo News via AP, Pool)
WR Robert Foster
What a turn of events things have been for Robert Foster. In 2018, he basically joined the Bills midseason from their practice squad. Entering their final game of that campaign, with a strong outing, Foster would’ve been the team’s leading receiver despite playing half the amount of games as Zay Jones, but the now former Bill held him off. Then last year was nothing short of a bummer for Foster, who did next to nothing.
Probably feeling rejuvenated and very hopeful heading into 2020, Foster’s been stuck on the sideline due to a concussion. He’s missed a lot of training camp to this point and it’s hard to envision he’ll make the Bills’ final roster at all. But because of that brief success as a rookie, there’s probably a market for a late-round pick in return for him… or hopefully, at least.