Ike Boettger is moving closer to making his return from the Achilles tear he sustained in December of last year. The Bills activated the veteran guard from their reserve/PUP list Monday.
Monday represented the last day Buffalo could keep Boettger off its active roster, with the team having designated him for return three weeks ago. The Bills brought Tre’Davious White off the PUP list earlier this season but did not play him for a few weeks after that. It will be interesting to see when the team redeploys Boettger, who was working as a starter before going down with the Achilles injury.
Boettger, 28, suffered the injury during the Bills’ Week 16 game last year. If he returns Saturday, it will mark a year out of game action for the former UDFA. White missed one year as well, going down during a Thanksgiving Day game in 2021 and not returning until the Bills-Lions Thanksgiving tilt.
An Iowa product, Boettger started 17 games for the Bills from 2020-21. The team made some additions up front this offseason, adding Rodger Saffold and Greg Van Roten at guard. The team matched a Bears RFA offer sheet for Ryan Bates as well. Bates and Saffold have worked as the AFC East champions’ starting guards for most of this season, but Bates missed the Bills’ Week 15 game because of an ankle injury. Boettger would be ticketed for a depth role at least. Buffalo having he and Van Roten (53 career starts, including three this season) as backup options up front would represent strong depth ahead of the postseason.
Boettger will not have much time to show he has returned to form ahead of a free agency bid, however. The Bills re-signed the fifth-year blocker on a one-year deal this offseason. He joins Saffold and Van Roten in being eligible for free agency in March. By virtue of matching Chicago’s Bates offer sheet, Buffalo has him under contract through 2025.
To make room on the 53-man roster, the Bills waived defensive tackle Brandin Bryant. The Florida Atlantic product has played in four Bills games this season and seen defensive action in each. He logged 10 defensive snaps against the Dolphins on Saturday. Bryant, who has been with Buffalo since 2020, could return to the team on a practice squad deal if he clears waivers.
Sharpe has bounced in recent years, and the 49ers will be his second team in 2022. The 27-year-old initially signed with the Bears in May, but did not see the field in Chicago. He will provide depth for a San Francisco team which has had fellow veteran Willie Sneadsee time on and off the taxi squad.
Brewer has completed a pretty unlikely path to an NFL game. Coming out of Coastal Carolina, the defensive lineman had to have surgery following an injury suffered in the Chanticleers’ bowl game. With no college all-star game and no NFL Combine, Brewer had only his Pro Day to show his ability. After going undrafted and unsigned as a college free agent, he earned a rookie mini camp tryout and got to stay for training camp as the lowest player on the depth chart. Brewer played more than any other defensive player in training camp and stayed healthy. He got cut, signed with the practice squad, and is now getting an opportunity to appear in his first NFL game.
The Cowboys had hoped to re-sign Ridgeway after waiving him. It doesn’t appear that Washington was the only team to keep him from returning to Dallas, as multiple teams reportedly submitted claims for the former fifth-round pick.