Brandon Shell had expressed interest in staying with the Dolphins, but the veteran tackle looks set to join another AFC East squad. The Bills are finalizing an agreement, Cameron Wolfe of NFL.com tweets.
Austin Jackson‘s Week 1 ankle injury led to Shell going from not being on a roster to start last season to becoming the Dolphins’ primary right tackle. Miami brought former New England tackle Isaiah Wynn in as Jackson insurance this year. That will help lead Shell, 31, to Buffalo. The sides are moving toward a one-year agreement, with the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson indicating the pact can be worth up to $2.1MM.
The Bills have made a few additions along their offensive line this offseason. They signed guards Connor McGovern and David Edwards in free agency and drafted guard O’Cyrus Torrence in the second round. The team has been quieter at tackle, and Shell will bring seven seasons’ worth of experience to Buffalo.
Shell’s Bills agreement coming to pass will mean a third AFC East employer for the former fifth-round pick. The Jets drafted Shell in 2016 and turned to him as a starter early during his rookie-contract years. After starting two seasons for the Seahawks and 11 games for last year’s Dolphins edition, Shell has totaled 72 as a pro. He stands to provide the Bills with a proven swing option.
The Dolphins gave Shell a one-year deal worth the league minimum, signing the South Carolina alum ahead of Week 2. They made the in-season addition a practice squad call-up initially, using the standard elevation tactic the 2020 CBA permits, but turned to him as a starter beginning in Week 5. Despite Shell’s late arrival, Pro Football Focus graded him as a middle-of-the-pack tackle last season and slotted him in the top 15 in the run-blocking department. Overall, PFF has rated Shell consistently as a midlevel option, placing him between 38th and 56th among tackles each year from 2017-22.
A knee injury ended Shell’s season early, sidelining the veteran for the Dolphins’ wild-card game in Buffalo. And Miami moved in a different direction to protect Tua Tagovailoa‘s blind side this offseason. Planning to give Jackson another shot to stick at right tackle, the Dolphins are letting Shell walk. Wynn and veteran backup Cedric Ogbuehi are in place as insurance options.
Buffalo has Dion Dawkins locked in at left tackle, while Spencer Brown has operated as the team’s primary right tackle since he arrived as a 2021 third-round pick. PFF rated Brown as one of last season’s worst tackle regulars. The team still has David Quessenberry as a swing option, and 2021 fifth-round pick Tommy Doyle remains rostered as well. Doyle played in one game last season.