Andre Smith (LB)

Bills Re-Sign LB Andre Smith

One of many ex-Panthers who played for the Bills last season, Andre Smith will stay in Buffalo for the 2021 campaign and beyond.

The Bills agreed to terms with the would-be restricted free agent linebacker Saturday. It is a two-year deal worth as much as $3MM, Ian Rapoport of tweets. This contract comes in below the RFA tender threshold and puts off Smith’s unrestricted free agency bid by a year.

Buffalo traded for Smith last year and used him in 12 games, primarily as a special-teamer. Smith made nine tackles and forced a fumble last season. He joined Mario Addison, Josh Norman, A.J. Klein, Daryl Williams and Vernon Butler among ex-Panthers to join the Bills last year. GM Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott, of course, have extensive ties to Carolina. However, neither was with the franchise when it drafted Smith.

Originally a seventh-round pick in 2018, Smith is still just 23. The North Carolina alum played in 19 games with the Panthers, who used him in the same capacity the Bills did. He is now signed through the 2022 season.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/27/20

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

  • Promoted: LB Andre Smith
  • Released from reserve/retired list: DB Isiah Brown

Denver Broncos

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Bills Place Dawson Knox On Reserve/COVID-19 List

The Bills have run into COVID-19 trouble. They are placing Dawson Knox on their reserve/COVID-19 list. The second-year tight end tested positive for the coronavirus, Tom Pelissero of tweets. The Bills confirmed the positive test.

Fellow Buffalo tight ends Tommy Sweeney, Lee Smith and Nate Becker (practice squad) have been identified as close contacts and will also miss Sunday’s game against the Jets. Sweeney was already on Buffalo’s PUP list.

The game remains on for noon CT Sunday, however. Tyler Kroft and Reggie Gilliam are the other tight ends on the Bills’ roster. Buffalo promoted four players from its practice squad — guard Jordan Devey, linebacker Andre Smith, cornerback Dane Jackson and wide receiver Duke Williams — but has not made any other moves at tight end.

This game becomes the latest to monitor as one that could cause a schedule change. The timing is similar to Cam Newton‘s positive test weeks ago, and with the league’s beefed-up protocols in the wake of Newton’s positive and the Titans’ outbreak, the Bills will be extremely shorthanded at tight end. A rookie UDFA, Gilliam was already on Buffalo’s active roster along with Knox, Smith and Kroft. The Bills have Kroft and Gilliam available at the position ahead of Sunday’s Jets rematch. The latter has yet to play in a game.

Kroft’s wife going into labor and delivering the couple’s baby Friday morning led to the veteran tight end being spared from this chain reaction, per Adam Schefter of (on Twitter). Kroft attended Bills practice Friday, but Schefter notes his missing position meetings allowed him to avoid getting caught up in this potential outbreak. A former Bengals draftee, Kroft signed with the Bills last year. Knox and Kroft each have six catches this season — most among Bills tight ends; the latter has scored two touchdowns.

Panthers Trade LB Andre Smith To Bills

Rather than the reported cut of Andre Smith, the Panthers found a taker for the young linebacker. They traded him to the Bills on Monday.

Buffalo dipped into its 2023 draft to complete this deal, sending a conditional 2023 seventh-round pick to Carolina for Smith, Ian Rapoport of tweets.

While Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane were not with Carolina when the franchise drafted Smith, he is yet another ex-Panther to join the Bills during the duo’s Buffalo tenure. The Dolphins and Lions have received attention for adding ex-Patriots, but the Bills have submitted a tour de force 2020 in acquiring former Panthers. Prior to the Smith trade, they added Josh Norman, Mario Addison, Vernon ButlerDaryl Williams and A.J. Klein this year.

The Panthers drafted Smith in the 2018 seventh round. He saw action in 16 games last season, working almost exclusively as a special-teamer. The ex-North Carolina Tar Heel played on 65% of the Panthers’ special teams snaps and just 2% of their defensive plays last season. He made five tackles in 2019.

Among their backup linebackers, the Bills have former Steeler Tyler Matakevich and 2019 fifth-round pick Vosean Joseph on their roster. Two years remain on Smith’s rookie deal.