Dalton Kincaid

Bills Wrap Up Draft Class Signings, Ink TE Dalton Kincaid

The Bills today became the fourth team to wrap up their draft pick signings. The first tight end taken in the 2023 NFL Draft, Utah’s Dalton Kincaid has officially signed his four-year rookie contract, with a fifth-year option, becoming the last of the Bills’ rookies to sign. He also becomes the latest in the recent run of first-rounders to ink their deals.

Many had pegged the Bills as candidates to vie for a first-round receiver, but they opted for the draft’s best receiving tight end instead. Some posited that Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer was the position’s best prospect due to some injury history with Kincaid, but Kincaid may have jumped back up draft boards after being medically cleared in the days leading up to the draft.

Buffalo clearly had their eye on Kincaid as the draft progressed. General manager Brandon Beane and company got a little antsy as their time drew near and feared that the Cowboys might have their eyes on the Utah tight end. They resolved to ensure they got their guy by trading up in the first round for Kincaid.

Kincaid’s skillset should mashup well with returning Bills tight end Dawson Knox. Knox doesn’t blow away with his receiving ability but is a strong asset in the redzone and a good blocker, as well. Kincaid should be able to add a bit more receiving yards across the middle and has the ability to stretch the field on linebackers and safeties. Here is the entire 2023 draft class for Buffalo:

Round 1, No. 25 (from Giants through Jaguars): Dalton Kincaid, TE (Utah) (signed)
Round 2, No. 59: O’Cyrus Torrence, G (Florida) (signed)
Round 3, No, 91: Dorian Williams, LB (Tulane) (signed)
Round 5, No. 150 (from Commanders): Justin Shorter, WR (Florida) (signed)
Round 7, No. 230 (from Buccaneers through Jets, Texans, Eagles and Bills): Nick Broeker, G (Ole Miss) (signed)
Round 7, No. 252 (from Buccaneers through Rams): Alex Austin, CB (Oregon State) (signed)

Bills Believed Cowboys Were Eyeing Dalton Kincaid; Jags Feared Losing Anton Harrison

The Bills made a concerted effort to leapfrog the Cowboys for tight end Dalton Kincaid. Shortly after the Steelers made a move up due to a belief the Jets would draft tackle Broderick Jones, the Bills discussed trade-ups with multiple teams with Kincaid in mind.

Although the Cowboys are not certain to have been targeting Kincaid, Albert Breer of SI.com notes GM Brandon Beane viewed it as likely. After attempting to trade into the Giants’ No. 25 overall spot, the Bills contacted the Jaguars, who traded back with New York and into that position. The Jags gave the Bills the draft real estate, but they wanted some assurances before doing so.

Once Beane called Jaguars GM Trent Baalke, the AFC South exec asked who the Bills were targeting. With Beane not confirming Kincaid was the endpoint in a layered process, Breer adds Baalke asked his Bills counterpart if this trade was for an offensive or defensive player and if it was for a big or small player. As Kincaid is a tight end by trade, Beane replied, “Medium,” before admitting Kincaid would be Buffalo’s pick.

Had the Jaguars balked at the trade, which sent them Nos. 27 and 130, Breer adds the Bills had trade parameters worked out with three teams. The move, should the Jags declined the Bills’ trade offer and the Cowboys taken Kincaid at 26, would have been to slide out of the first round. The Titans were one of the teams that worked out a trade with the Bills, who would have dropped down to No. 41 in that scenario. That trade-up for Tennessee — presumably for Will Levis, whose contract would have carried a fifth-year option if chosen at No. 27 — would have been costlier than the one it eventually made for the Kentucky prospect. The Titans gave the Cardinals Nos. 41 and 72 this year and a 2024 third to climb to 33 for Levis a day later.

After two trade-down moves, the Jaguars chose Anton Harrison at 27. Jacksonville was prepared to take Harrison at 24 and took a chance Dallas would pass on him at 26, and ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler adds the Jags see Jawaan Taylor-like traits in Harrison. This points to Harrison, once Cam Robinson returns from his PED suspension, lining up at right tackle. Taylor, the Jags’ four-year right-side starter, defected to the Chiefs in free agency. Harrison, whom the Raiders liked in the event they accepted a Cardinals trade-down offer, played almost exclusively at left tackle during his Oklahoma tenure. He started 23 games on the left side and just one at RT.

The Jags, however, still do not know how long Robinson’s suspension will last. They still have Walker Little, a 2021 second-round pick who replaced Robinson following his late-season meniscus tear, in place as insurance. Dallas ended up taking Michigan defensive tackle Mazi Smith and was considering Syracuse offensive lineman Matthew Bergeron. The team chose a tight end, Michigan’s Luke Schoonmaker, with its second-round pick.

Buffalo will pair Kincaid with Dawson Knox, who signed a long-term extension just before last season. Kincaid, who rated as Scouts Inc.’s top 2023 tight end after he caught 70 passes for 890 yards and eight touchdowns last season, is expected to spent frequent time in the slot. The Bills saw Jamison Crowder suffer a fractured ankle last season and released Isaiah McKenzie after he struggled with drops. Cole Beasley, lured out of retirement during the season, is no longer under contract.

If Dalton was not there, we would have traded back,” Beane said, via ESPN.com’s Alaina Getzenberg. “… We just really liked him and just felt he would be a great fit in our offense. He is a tight end, but he is a receiving tight end. We think he’ll pair well with Dawson and give us another target in the middle of the field. So, yeah, when him and Dawson are in the game, you’re in ’12’ [personnel], but it’s quasi like ’11’ anyway. He’s not your standard ‘Y’ tight end. He’s going to be flexed out a lot more than necessarily you would do with Dawson.”

Giants Discussed Moving Up In Round 1, Had Trade-Down Parameters In Place With Bills

No team was more closely connected to this year’s first-round-caliber wide receivers than the Giants, who hosted the group on “30” visits and met with the 2023 class’ top pass catchers at their pro days. But Big Blue left Round 1 with cornerback Deonte Banks. It does not appear the team was conducting a smokescreen effort regarding receivers.

Holding the No. 25 overall pick to start the draft, the Giants explored multiple trade-up avenues, Dan Duggan of The Athletic notes. One of them involved conversations with a team holding a mid-first-round pick, with Duggan adding those talks may well have centered around Zay Flowers (subscription required).

The Giants met with Flowers, and a draft-day report indicated they were the highest on the Boston College prospect and USC’s Jordan Addison at receiver. After Flowers went off the board to Baltimore at No. 22, a source informed Duggan that Addison would have been the likely Giants choice at 25. Once Minnesota nabbed the former Kenny Pickett Pitt target at 23, the Giants traded fifth- and seventh-round picks to move up one spot — via the Jaguars — for Banks.

GM Joe Schoen described the mood around the time Addison was picked as “pretty tense.” The run on receivers stopped at the Vikings’ No. 23 pick, and no other corner went in the first round. While the Giants could have stood pat and selected Joey Porter Jr., they obviously placed a value gap between he and Banks, who made the Giants one of his many pre-draft visits. Schoen confirmed (via the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy) Banks was not on the Giants’ radar at this point last year, due to his 2021 season being cut short by a shoulder injury. The Maryland prospect will be expected to start opposite Adoree’ Jackson as a rookie, and with Jackson in a contract year and not expected to be extended, the rookie resides as the Giants’ new cornerstone at the position.

Schoen and Bills GM Brandon Beane held trade discussions — centered on the Giants moving back — as well, per SI.com’s Albert Breer, who confirms Schoen also told his former boss he was considering a move up the board. The Bills and Giants worked out trade parameters for a Buffalo trade-up, Breer notes, with the AFC East team targeting tight end Dalton Kincaid. Shortly after the Vikings’ Addison pick, Schoen informed Beane he was trading up to No. 24 and the New York teams’ trade would not commence. The Bills also traded up with the Jags, who moved down twice and chose tackle Anton Harrison.

The Giants standing down regarding a trade-up for a wide receiver leaves more questions about its wideout room compared to how it would have looked if Flowers or Addison became Big Apple-bound. The team still re-signed Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard and added Parris Campbell and Jamison Crowder, to say nothing of the big-ticket Darren Waller addition at tight end. The Giants circled back to their receiver interest with third-rounder Jalin Hyatt, who also made a pre-draft visit.

Hyatt will bring deep speed to the equation and should be expected to play a key role early, though the Giants have amassed some pass-catching depth after last season’s plans went awry quickly.

Bills Notes: Ertz, Hyde, Kincaid, Murray

The Bills became the first team to add a tight end in this year’s draft by trading up to select Dalton Kincaid. Seen as one of two first-round talents at the position, the Utah product figures to have a prominent pass-catching role in Buffalo’s offense for years to come.

The Bills came close to making a veteran addition at the position in 2021, though, when Zach Ertz was on the trade block. The three-time Pro Bowler ended up being dealt to the Cardinals, but Buffalo was named as a suitor at the time. Their efforts nearly yielded a swap, as Ertz recently confirmed.

“I was getting traded out of Philadelphia,” the 32-year-old said, via Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News“There were a couple teams extremely interested, Buffalo being one of them. It was almost a done deal, but it just didn’t get over the finish line.”

Here are some other notes out of Buffalo:

  • Micah Hyde is entering the final year of his deal, and he appears set to play without a new contract in hand beyond 2023. General manager Brandon Beane indicated (via Gaughan’s colleague Jay Skurski, on Twitter) that no extension talks have taken place with the 32-year-old. Hyde has been a mainstay on the backend during his six-year tenure with the Bills, but a neck injury limited him to just two games in 2022. The Pro Bowler is due $7.2MM this season, and has a scheduled cap hit of $10.57MM. His replacement after going down – Damar Hamlin – has been cleared to return to football activities and has two years remaining on his rookie contract.
  • Part of the reason the Bills traded up to secure Kincaid was the run on receivers coming off the board in the middle of the first round, as Beane noted during an appearance on Sirius XM Radio (audio link). Buffalo moved up from No. 27 to 25 (ahead of the TE-needy Cowboys) to secure Kincaid, widely seen as the best pass-catcher in a loaded class at the position. The latter should represent a strong fit in the team’s offense given how his skillset compliments that of Dawson Knox, though the Bills went until the fifth round to secure a receiver prospect, something many expected them to add earlier given their need for secondary pass-catching options.
  • The latest addition to Buffalo’s backfield, veteran Latavius Murray, came as a surprise to some. However, he knew he would be headed to Orchard Park by the third day of the draft given his agreement with Beane. The latter revealed, via Ryan Talbot of NewYorkUpstate.com, that he elected not to draft a running back on Day 3 on the condition that Murray would agree to sign with Buffalo. The 33-year-old should have a rotational role in the Bills’ new-look backfield after inking a one-year, veteran minimum pact.

Bills Trade Up For Utah TE Dalton Kincaid

After moving from No. 24 to No. 25, the Jaguars are sliding back once again. This time, they’re trading with the Bills, sending No. 25 to Buffalo for picks No. 27 and No. 130, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). Buffalo made the trade to select the draft’s first tight end in Utah’s Dalton Kincaid.

With the Cowboys — a team frequently linked to drafting a seam-stretcher on Thursday — set to pick at No. 26, this slot represents a logical trade-up spot for the Bills. Buffalo was named as a team to watch with respect to a receiver addition, but the recent run at that position left Kincaid available. That development could pay significant dividends for Buffalo.

Kincaid emerged as a red zone threat in 2021 by scoring eight touchdowns. He matched that figure last year, while taking on a larger role in the team’s offense. The 6-3, 246-pounder recorded 890 yards on 70 receptions in 2022, making a strong case as the top pass-catching tight end in the 2023 class, one which has been the source of considerable praise during the pre-draft process.

Michael Mayer has often been listed as the most well-rounded TE available, but the Notre Dame product remains on the board. Kincaid thus has the distinction of the top player at the position but also finds himself entering an enviable situation with respect to the offense he will now be joining.

The Bills boast one of the league’s most productive passing attacks, but much of their success comes from the receiver position. Kincaid will provide the team with a complimentary option to veteran Dawson Knox in the middle of the field, and should be able to form a formidable tandem with him for many years to come. With the Bills still searching for a consistent No. 2 option on the perimeter, they have at least exited Day 1 with a noteworthy addition to their offense.

Utah TE Dalton Kincaid Cleared Before Draft

This year’s draft class is extremely deep at the tight end position, and one of the top prospects faced the additional challenge of a recent injury. Despite a back injury suffered late in the season, Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid has officially been cleared for football activity prior to the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Dr. Robert Watkins sent an email to NFL teams fully clearing the 23-year-old. “Dalton Kincaid sustained a back injury while playing football on 11/26/2022,” the email said. “Subsequent MRIs have shown appropriate healing, and he has been asymptomatic with no pain and no limitation of function for at least 3 months. He is cleared to play football with no restrictions.”

The injury caused him to miss the Senior Bowl and NFL scouting combine, and a shoulder injury forced him to miss time earlier in the year, as well. The injury issues don’t help concerns about his smaller frame for an NFL tight end. Yet, Kincaid is still a stellar pass-catching option who caught at least eight touchdowns in four of five college seasons (the fifth being the COVID-shortened season).

The full clearance is big for Kincaid, who is expected to be selected in the first round later this month. He and Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer are widely anticipated to go on Day 1, while Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave and Georgia’s Darnell Washington have a chance, as well. With such a deep class, a nagging back injury could’ve really hurt Kincaid’s draft stock; a full clearance should keep Kincaid with his status as a consensus top two tight end in the draft.

With injury concerns out of the way, Kincaid has had several visits planned with NFL teams. The Ute met with the Bengals and Patriots this past week and has plans to visit the Packers in the week to come. Prior to those visits, Kincaid had spent time with the Texans, Raiders, Chargers, Jaguars, Titans, Lions, Chiefs, and Cowboys.