Levi Wallace is sticking around Buffalo after all. The Bills announced that they’ve agreed to terms with the cornerback on a one-year deal.
It was a bit of a surprise when the Bills non-tendered the 25-year-old earlier this week. After all, Wallace had started 28 games for Buffalo over the past two seasons, including a 2020 campaign where he finished with 48 tackles, eight passes defended, and two interceptions. Wallace also started each of Buffalo’s three playoff games, collecting 12 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble.
Despite being non-tendered, Wallace wanted to stay in Buffalo. The young corner did not consider any outside interest, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter).
In total, Wallace has started each of his 35 career games, compiling 161 tackles, 20 passes defended, and four interceptions.
While the Bills have been busy adding players on the offensive side of the ball, they’ve mostly focused on retaining their defensive free agents. Specifically, the team re-signed linebacker Matt Milano to a four-year deal earlier this week.
We’ve compiled a handful of tender decisions below:
The Cardinals are tendering linebacker Dennis Gardeck at a second-round value, which is worth around $3.38MM. The former undrafted free agent has spent his entire three-year career with Arizona, primarily appearing on special teams. However, the 26-year-old took on a bigger defensive role in 2020, finished with seven sacks in only 93 snaps. Gardeck tore his ACL late in the season, so his status for 2021 is in doubt.
The Chargers won’t be tendering defensive end Isaac Rochell, which comes as a bit of a surprise. The 25-year-old had a solid season for Los Angeles, starting six games while compiling 29 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Rochell has 9.5 career sacks and 12 QB hits in 51 career games.
The Packers have tendered wideout Malik Taylor, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). After spending much of his rookie season on Green Bay’s practice squad, Taylor managed to appear in 15 games for the Packers this past season. He ultimately hauled in five receptions for 66 yards and one touchdown. He also returned a pair of kicks and compiled three tackles.
The Bills won’t be tendering cornerback Levi Wallace, according to ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter). However, there’s still a chance the 25-year-old lands back in Buffalo. The cornerback has started 28 games for Buffalo over the past two years, compiling four interceptions and 17 passes defended.
The Cowboys are tendering wideout Cedrick Wilson and nose tackle Antwaun Woods. Wilson has appeared in 22 games over the past two years, compiling 25 touches for 223 yards from scrimmage. Woods has started 32 of his 39 games for Dallas over the past three years, compiling 80, four tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks.
November 15th, 2020 at 11:46am CST by Sam Robinson
Nov. 15: Luckily for Norman, he is asymptomatic, as Ed Werder of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter). Norman understands that he cannot play today due to league protocols, but he says he feels well enough to do so. The team hopes to have him back shortly.
Nov. 14: The Bills have run into a COVID-19 issue ahead of their trip to Arizona. Josh Norman tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the team, and this will result in at least four Bills not traveling for their Week 10 game.
Norman, cornerback Levi Wallace, safety Dean Marlowe and tight end Tyler Kroft landed on Buffalo’s reserve/COVID-19 list. The latter three players — deemed as high-risk close contacts — must isolate for five days.
As of now, Sunday’s Bills-Cardinals game remains on as scheduled. The team is set to travel to Arizona later this afternoon. Defensive assistant Leonard Johnson will join the aforementioned quartet of players in not making the trip to the desert.
This is not the first time Saturday news of a Bills positive test emerged to weaken one of their position groups. Dawson Knoxtested positive for COVID-19 late last month, and the Bills placed two other tight ends on their COVID list that day. The NFL did not adjust the game time of the Bills’ rematch with the Jets. The league has not changed a game time because of COVID-19 since Week 7. With virus numbers skyrocketing around the country, similar challenges to the one that prompted the NFL to move a Bills-Titans game to a Tuesday night appear on the horizon.
Norman signed a one-year, $6MM deal with the Bills — one of several ex-Panthers to rejoin Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane in Buffalo this offseason — but began the season on IR. He returned for three games but has missed the past three due to a hamstring injury. He had practiced all week and was expected to return against Arizona, however. The Bills also recalled Wallace from IR earlier this season.
The Bills will be without one of their secondary starters for at least three games. They placed cornerback Levi Wallace on IR Wednesday.
Buffalo, which promoted Cam Lewis from its practice squad to replace Wallace on the active roster, has used Wallace as a starter since his 2018 rookie season. The former UDFA has started all 27 games in which he’s played.
Wallace left Sunday’s game in Las Vegas with an ankle injury, exiting the Week 4 contest on a cart after just six plays. The third-year defender played 76% of Buffalo’s defensive snaps last season and was used at a higher rate prior to this injury. Wallace has intercepted one pass — the third of his career — and made 21 tackles this season. Through three-plus games, Pro Football Focus graded Wallace as the Bills’ top corner (19th overall).
Josh Norman‘s 2020 debut, which included a forced fumble, will help the Bills at corner opposite All-Pro Tre’Davious White. Norman, 32, has 92 career starts. After beginning his Bills career as a backup, Norman figures to see more time without Wallace.
The Bills have exercised their option on offensive lineman Spencer Long, as ESPN.com’s Field Yates tweets. In related news, the club has also re-signed cornerback Levi Wallace and wide receiver Robert Foster; both players were due to be exclusive rights free agents this offseason.
Long spent three years as the Redskins’ primary man in the middle before signing a a four-year, $27.5MM free agent deal with the Jets in 2018. That deal wound up lasting just one season when the Jets dropped him in February 2019. Days after he hit the market as a street free agent, the Bills scooped him up on a three-year, $13MM pact to keep him in the AFC East.
With the Bills, Long appeared in 14 games as a reserve. In theory, Long could wind up as a first-stringer in 2020 if the club does not retain left guard Quinton Spain, who is ticketed for free agency in March.
Spain, 28, should be in line for a sizable pay bump – whether it’s with the Bills or another club – given the dearth of quality linemen available. The Bills were happy with his work, even though the advanced metrics weren’t high on his performance in 2019.
Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott managed to escape a suspension for a potentially troublesome incident in May, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk suggests that if Elliott should even come close to violating the league’s personal conduct policy again, the punishment will be severe. Commissioner Roger Goodell gave everyone in the league office this week off, so Florio believes the only reason for Goodell to summon Elliott to league headquarters on Tuesday was to sufficiently scare him into staying on the straight and narrow. Goodell has been less harsh with players who run afoul of league policies in recent history, but if Elliott should put another toe out of line in the future, the commissioner will likely hand out a lengthy ban, and his decision to not suspend Elliott this time will help to justify such a measure.
Now for more the league’s east divisions:
There do not seem to be any starting jobs up for grabs along the Giants‘ defensive line, even though the presumptive starters are young and mostly unproven. However, with that youth comes a great deal of potential, and one of the keys to Big Blue’s immediate prospects is the realization of that potential. Third-year player Dalvin Tomlinson, second-year talent B.J. Hill, and rookie Dexter Lawrence are expected to open the season atop the Giants’ D-line depth chart, as Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes, and the addition of Lawrence allows Tomlinson to slide into a traditional nose tackle spot, to which he is better-suited.
In a separate 2019 positional preview piece, Schwartz examines the Giants‘ tight end group, which is headed by Evan Engram. Engram had a disappointing start to 2018, his second professional season, but when Odell Beckham missed the final four games of the season, Engram excelled and finished with some positive momentum. Now that OBJ is in Cleveland, New York will need Engram to show more of the same in a crucial year for his development. The club’s second TE, Rhett Ellison, is a favorite of HC Pat Shurmur, while returnee Scott Simonson will have to hold off C.J. Conrad — a UDFA who impressed this spring — and former Syracuse QB Eric Dungey, another UDFA who is trying to make the club as a TE/gadget player.
Vic Carucci of BNBlitz.com says it’s possible that Bills GM Brandon Beane and LeSean McCoy have adamantly pushed the notion that McCoy will be the team’s starter in 2019 in order to generate some trade interest. After all, the club does have a large stable of RBs, and McCoy, a 2020 free agent, appears to be nearing the end of his career. But Carucci says he has heard nothing to indicate that Buffalo is seeking to trade McCoy.
November 6th, 2018 at 5:46pm CST by Dallas Robinson
The Bills have released starting cornerback Phillip Gaines, the club announced today. Buffalo has promoted fellow defensive back Levi Wallace from the practice squad to fill Gaines’ vacated roster spot.
Gaines, 27, had started six games for the Bills and was second among Buffalo cornerbacks in defensive snaps with 367, but he hadn’t played especially well. Pro Football Focus graded Gaines as the No. 56 CB among 111 qualifiers, while the ex-Chief had allowed 10.6 yards per pass and a 50% success rate, both of which are well below league average. Buffalo also ranked 19th in pass DVOA against opposing No. 2 receivers, the majority of which were covered by Gaines.
Penalties were also a problem for Gaines. As noted by Mike Rodak of ESPN.com (Twitterlinks), Gaines leads all NFL players with 131 penalty yards. Additionally, Gaines gave up 90 yards via penalty against the Bears on Sunday (both on lengthy pass interference calls), a total which ranks second among all players since 2001.
With Gaines out of the picture, Ryan Lewis — a waiver claim by the Bills earlier this years — figures to start at corner against the Jets on Sunday, tweets Joe Buscaglia of WKBW. Taron Johnson, who has played roughly 55% of Buffalo’s defensive snaps, will continue in his role as the club’s nickel cornerback.