<
>

Bills can keep vastly improved offensive line together this offseason

play
Bills G Incognito heading to Pro Bowl for second time (2:30)

ESPN Bills reporter Mike Rodak breaks down Buffalo guard Richie Incognito's selection to the Pro Bowl as a replacement for Mike Iupati and what his future looks like in Buffalo and the NFL. (2:30)

Continuing a position-by-position look at the Buffalo Bills' roster with an eye toward free agency and the draft:

Position: Offensive line

2015 snaps:

Stat of note: On 65 runs toward their left guard, Incognito, the Bills averaged 6.58 yards per carry. That was the highest average of any team on runs toward their left guard since ESPN Stats & Information began tracking that data in 2006. The previous high was the New York Giants' 6.50 yards per carry behind left guard Rich Seubert in 2008. The Bills also rank fourth (6.29 yards per carry behind Andy Levitre in 2012) and 14th (5.65 yards per carry behind Levitre in 2011) on that list.

Pending free agents: Incognito (unrestricted), Glenn (unrestricted), Mills (restricted)

2016 cap hits (position rank):

  • Wood: $6.075 million (seventh among NFL centers)

  • Urbik: $2.625 million (14th among NFL centers; 26th among NFL guards)

  • Kouandjio: $1.311 million (52nd among NFL tackles)

  • Miller: $725,030

  • Henderson: $612,700

  • Groy: $600,000

  • Tyson Chandler: $527,500

  • Cyril Richardson: $525,000

  • Ronald Patrick: $450,000

Money line: General manager Doug Whaley already has stated that Glenn and Incognito are priorities to re-sign this offseason, going as far as to say it's "imperative" that the Bills bring back both players. Can they afford it? Yes, but they'll have to get creative with both players' contracts for the upcoming season to give them enough cap space to handle the rest of their offseason business. (They're already over the 2016 cap but will dip below it if they release Mario Williams.) If Glenn wants to crack the top five among tackles' deals, his contract must average at least $10.5 million per season. Incognito won't be able to command a long-term deal at his age (he turns 33 in July), but after his solid play this season, he can make a strong case that his deal should be within the top 15 of all guards, which would mean at least $5 million per season.

Market watch: Pending free-agent tackles include Glenn, Ryan Harris, Russell Okung, Bobby Massie, Andre Smith, Donald Penn, Kelvin Beachum, Joe Barksdale, Mitchell Schwartz, Jake Long, Byron Bell, Chris Clark, Tyler Polumbus, Khalif Barnes, Donald Stephenson, Mills (restricted), Tony Hills, Don Barclay and Sam Young.

Pending free-agent guards include Incognito, Evan Mathis, Chris Chester, Kelechi Osemele, JR Sweezy, Alex Boone, Ted Larsen, Jeff Allen, Eric Winston, Manny Ramirez, Brandon Brooks, Ramon Foster, Mike Harris, Lance Louis, J'Marcus Webb, Ryan Wendell, Doug Legursky, Mike McGlynn, Chris Scott, Vladimir Ducasse and Shelley Smith.

Pending free-agent centers include Lyle Sendlein, Ben Jones, Tim Barnes, Gino Gradkowski, Stefen Wisniewski, Fernando Velasco, Will Montgomery, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Dallas Reynolds and Jacques McClendon.

Draft need: Medium -- This largely depends on whether Glenn and Incognito re-sign. If either player signs elsewhere in free agency, then tackle or guard will become high draft needs. If one or both players re-sign, then there isn't as much urgency at either spot. Still, the Bills could use depth at both positions. Henderson missed time late this season because of an undisclosed illness -- the Buffalo News reported it was Crohn's disease -- and even when he was on the field, Henderson has ranked in the bottom half of NFL right tackles. Mills and Kouandjio aren't better options to start, either. The Bills received adequate play from Miller last season but adding another guard wouldn't hurt, especially given Incognito's age and potential to sign elsewhere.

Crystal ball: Indications from Whaley to this point are that the Bills will clear cap space to re-sign Glenn and possibly Incognito. Whether one or both deals can get done remains to be seen, but the odds seem better than not that at least Glenn will be back in 2016. With little money to spend in free agency, I wouldn't expect the team to seek veteran help at right tackle. It wouldn't be the end of the world if the Bills have to piece together their right-tackle position again next season, as they did this season.

Quote of note: "I think if you look at the Jacksonville game, he performed admirably. Lately he’s been in the heavy packages and we’ll see Seantrel [Henderson]. What happens with his illness and if he’s not around, that will open up the completion. And I think that it goes to the fact that he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do when he’s been asked. He’s been called on to play, he’s performed at a high level, but at the time Seantrel was ahead of him." -- Whaley on Cyrus Kouandjio, Jan. 4.