<
>

Bills Bubble Watch: Erik Pears

(Continuing a month-long series analyzing Buffalo Bills players who are on the roster bubble and where they potentially fit in 2014.)

Name: Erik Pears

Position: Offensive tackle

Age: 32

2013 stats: 16 games (all starts)

Chance of making 53-man roster: 75 percent

Why he should make it: Pears might have more at stake this training camp than any other Bills player. After starting 16 games last season, he could easily hold down his job at right tackle. After second-round pick Cyrus Kouandjio split reps with the first team early in organized team activities, it was mostly Pears who lined up with the top unit into minicamp. If Kouandjio doesn't beat out Pears for the right tackle job in training camp then Pears' roster spot is safe.

Why he shouldn't make it: Pears' starting job will likely be an all-or-nothing proposition. If Kouandjio takes over by the start of the season, there isn't much reason for Pears to stick around. Yes, he provides veteran insurance in case Kouandjio's play slips, but if Pears is on the roster for Week 1 then his $2.75 million base salary is guaranteed. If the Bills feel comfortable with either Chris Hairston or Seantrel Henderson as their third, "swing" tackle behind Kouandjio and left tackle Cordy Glenn, there is no reason to pay Pears that salary to sit on the bench. It's one of the brutal realities of the NFL for older players like Pears.

Closest competition: Kouandjio, Hairston, Henderson