Dion Dawkins

Bills Extend LT Dion Dawkins

The Bills made a number of cost-cutting moves recently, releasing several veterans. One mainstay who will not be leaving is left tackle Dion Dawkins, however. The veteran announced on Monday that he will remain in the fold in 2024 and beyond, while ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports a new deal is in place. The team has since announced the move.

The new accord is worth $60.5MM over three years, per Schefter. It will move Dawkins into fifth in terms of annual average value amongst left tackles (although David Bakhtiari‘s Packers tenure is expected to soon come to an end). Dawkins could thus find himself fourth in the LT pecking order shortly.

The 29-year-old was on the books for 2024 at a cap hit of $16.6MM. The coming campaign could have been a walk year as a result, but instead Dawkins will ensure he stays in Buffalo for the foreseeable future. He has played his entire career with the Bills, earning a Pro Bowl nod in each of the past three campaigns. Keeping him in the fold thus represented a logical priority for the team.

Buffalo enjoyed strong play up front last season, one in which the midseason OC change produced a notable commitment to the ground game. Joe Brady will remain in his coordinator post for 2024, so a repeat of the usage of running back James Cook should be expected. Of course, the Bills will be in the market for a new center after moving on from Mitch Morse, and depth will be needed with Ryan Bates having been traded. Dawkins will provide stability on the blindside, though.

The latter secured a $58.3MM extension in 2020, and he has managed to land an even larger accord four years later. Dawkins will remain a foundational member of the Bills’ offense in 2024 and beyond as the team transitions away from a number of pricey veterans in the immediate future. This re-up will no doubt affect Dawkins’ cap hit for this season, given Buffalo’s financial situation. In any event, he will be counted on for years to come as one of the league’s best-compensated O-linemen.

NFL Restructures: Dawkins, Sanders, Byard

Here are a few details on recent contract restructures around the NFL:

  • Last week, the Bills and left tackle Dion Dawkins agreed to a restructured deal to help create some cap space, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Buffalo converted $5.18MM of Dawkins’ 2023 base salary into a signing bonus, clearing up $3.9MM of cap space.
  • The Dolphins restructured the contract of kicker Jason Sanders earlier this month, per Jason Fitzgerald of overthecap.com. While the specifics have not yet been reported, Sanders’ cap hit in 2023 will be lessened from $3.7MM to $2.4MM.
  • Yates reported another restructure this week, with the Eagles restructuring the contract of newly acquired safety Kevin Byard. The team converted $888,750 of Byard’s 2023 salary into a bonus in order to clear $711K of cap space.

AFC Rumors: Quessenberry, Jones, Meyers, Anudike-Uzomah

The Bills seemingly signed veteran offensive tackle Brandon Shell with the intention that he would plug in as a full-time starter, much like he had done in Miami, Seattle, and New York over his career. Shell’s sudden retirement decision days ago threw a bit of a wrench in those plans.

At left tackle, Dion Dawkins slots in as the obvious left tackle starter, as he has since his rookie year. The starter across from him, for right now, is currently Spencer Brown. Brown has started 24 games over his first two years in the league, but the ability of the former third-round pick to start long term has yet to be proven.

If Brown struggles or if he or Dawkins go down with injury, Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic reports that David Quessenberry is expected to slot into the primary backup, swing tackle role. Buffalo doesn’t have a ton of depth beyond Quessenberry, and this late in the season, that’s not too likely to change.

Tommy Doyle and Ryan Van Demark both sit on the depth chart behind Quessenberry and should make a push for the initial 53-man roster, if not solely due to the lack of depth. But Quessenberry should be the first name off the bench in the case that Brown or Dawkins aren’t there for any reason.

Here are a few other rumors coming out of the AFC, starting with another team in the AFC East:

  • The Patriots have been operating the past two weeks without veteran starting cornerback Jonathan Jones. The long-time staple in New England’s secondary has been absent with an undisclosed injury. Luckily, whatever the ailment is, Karen Guregian of MassLive reports that Jones is expected to be back for the team’s regular season opener. The Patriots are reportedly being careful with him, but the plan is for him to be starting a couple Sundays from now.
  • Last month, the Raiders concluded a deal that would eventually help them bring in veteran cornerback Marcus Peters. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the team converted $3.92MM of wide receiver Jakobi Meyers‘s base salary for 2023 into a signing bonus and added two voidable years. The move takes his base salary down from $5MM in 2023 to $1.08MM but freed up $3.14MM of cap space, helping Las Vegas to continue building their roster this offseason.
  • Staying in the AFC West, the rich got richer when the Super Bowl Champion Chiefs added Kansas State pass rusher Felix Anudike-Uzomah at the end of the first round this past April. Most of the team’s pass rushing comes from interior lineman Chris Jones, but with Frank Clark gone, a starting role was open across from George Karlaftis III. Kansas City signed Charles Omenihu to potentially fill that role, but he is set to serve a six-game suspension to start the season. Still, according to The Athletic contributor Nate Taylor’s recent update, the plan for Anudike-Uzomah appears to be for him to appear out of a rotation. The team may explore adding an additional veteran pass rusher to help holdover the role in Omenihu’s absence, but in the long run, they don’t want to rush Anudike-Uzomah out on the field until he’s ready.

AFC East Notes: Williams, Bills, Sauce, Jets

Mentioned as dangling Preston Williams in trades earlier this month, the Dolphins have not ruled out adding an asset for the young wide receiver. Williams is generating some trade interest, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets, but this looks like a situation that will either produce a deal for a late-round pick or Williams being waived before rosters are finalized Tuesday. Teams have until 3pm CT tomorrow to cut to 53. The Dolphins made some adjustments at receiver this offseason, trading for Tyreek Hill and adding Cedrick Wilson Jr. The team already cut Mohamed Sanu on Monday, however, potentially keeping the door open for Williams to stick as a backup. Williams emerged as a key target for the skeleton-crew 2019 Dolphins edition, but his rookie-year ACL tear threw his career off course. He has just 359 receiving yards over the past two seasons.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • In the wake of the Bills jettisoning embattled punter Matt Araiza, they have gotten to work on finding his replacement. Michael Palardy, Ty Long, Tyler Newsome and Joseph Charlton worked out for the team, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. None have been signed. Two of these punters, as it often goes with the Bills, have Panthers histories. Though, Palardy — a Carolina punter from 2016-19 — is the only one with ties to Buffalo’s Brandon BeaneSean McDermott duo. Charlton was Carolina’s punter in 2020, long after the Bills had hired Beane and McDermott. These workouts also came before two veteran punters — Brett Kern and Sam Martin — were informed of their respective releases by the Titans and Broncos. The Colts signed the punter the Bills recently waived (Matt Haack) last week.
  • Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins created some cap space for his team recently, restructuring his contract. Dawkins’ reworking created more than $5.6MM in space for the Bills, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The Bills moved Dawkins’ 2022 base salary down to $1MM and added two void years to spread out his cap hits, per OverTheCap. Dawkins remains signed through 2024; the Bills hold just more than $11MM in cap space.
  • The Jets will not spend any regular-season time developing Sauce Gardner as a backup. The No. 4 overall pick will be a Week 1 starter, Robert Saleh said. Gardner’s expected ascent will move Bryce Hall to a backup role, with the Jets also having signed D.J. Reed in free agency.
  • Isaiah Wynn looks to remain available in trades for a Patriots team that has moved him to right tackle. Additionally, when Trent Brown re-signed with New England, he was not made aware the organization was planning to move him back to the left side.

NFL COVID List Updates: 12/25-12/26/21

We’ve compiled a list of players who were placed on or activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Christmas and today. In some instances, players activated from the list remain on IR:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Placed on practice squad/COVID-19 list: WR Steven Sims

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Bills’ Dion Dawkins Tests Positive For COVID-19

Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins has tested positive for COVID-19, head coach Sean McDermott tells WGR 550 (Twitter link via Albert Breer of The MMQB). Unless Dawkins can pass a follow-up test between now and Sunday, he’ll be held out of this week’s game against the Panthers.

[RELATED: NFL Updates COVID-19 Protocols]

At 7-6, the Bills are jockeying for a Wild Card spot and still chasing the Patriots for the AFC East crown. Playing without Dawkins, the team’s starting left tackle since 2017, would obviously put them at a disadvantage.

Dawkins could be cleared in time, thanks to the league’s new protocols, but his medical history could also be a factor. The 6-foot-5, 320-pound lineman was hospitalized for four days this summer after developing severe COVID-19 symptoms. He lost 16 pounds during that stretch, so he may prefer to exercise caution.

Dawkins has been first string for all 13 of his games this year, giving him 72 career starts for Buffalo out of 77 total games. Even though this is his worst year to date, per the metrics at Pro Football Focus, he’s still ranked 45th among all qualified tackles. Last year, Dawkins placed 14th with an overall score of 80.6.

Bills’ Dion Dawkins Not Close To Full Strength After COVID-19 Hospitalization

Dion Dawkins has not participated in team drills throughout Bills training camp, and Sean McDermott said the team’s starting left tackle is not close to being ready to return to full work. Dawkins landed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list July 28 and required hospitalization after contracting the virus, Marcel Louis-Jacques of ESPN.com reports.

The 6-foot-5, 320-pound lineman was hospitalized for four days after developing severe COVID-19 symptoms. Dawkins lost 16 pounds and may have an uphill battle to be ready by the time the Bills begin their season.

He’s not close to where he needs to be to play and help us,” McDermott said. “So he’s got a long road here. … He’s going to control what he can control, and so are we. He’s got to continue to work hard to get himself back to where he’s — I mean, this is what, going on Week 4 of training camp at this point, so he’s missed a lot of time.”

The Bills activated Dawkins off their reserve/COVID list late last week, and he has begun doing conditioning work. Dawkins, 27, was not considered fully vaccinated at the time of the hospitalization. Dawkins’ hospitalization marks another rough step for the Bills on the virus front. Tight end Tommy Sweeney missed all of the 2020 season after developing myocarditis, a heart condition associated with COVID-19.

Dawkins’ status, of course, will have a bigger impact on the Bills. He is in the first season of a four-year, $68MM extension and has been the team’s left tackle starter since 2017. Buffalo has given third-round rookie Spencer Brown the bulk of its left tackle reps during camp. The team drafted Brown out of Northern Iowa with the No. 93 overall pick.

Bills, LT Dion Dawkins Agree To Extension

The Bills and left tackle Dion Dawkins have agreed to terms on a four-year, $60MM extension, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter). Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the pact includes $34MM in guaranteed money.

Dawkins was under club control through 2020, the last year of his rookie contract, and as Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic notes, the extension will be tacked onto the preexisting deal (Twitter link). So the 2017 second-rounder is now tethered to Buffalo through the 2024 season.

In a recent full-length piece, Buscaglia mentioned Dawkins as a potential franchise tag candidate next offseason, so the Bills will be happy to avoid the protracted negotiations and salary cap uncertainty that discussions with tagged players often engender. And while Dawkins has yet to make a Pro Bowl, he is already a solid starter with room to grow, so the $15MM AAV — which is presently the fifth-highest figure on the LT market — feels like a reasonable price.

The Temple product is often lauded for his athleticism, which makes him an especially valuable protector for QB Josh Allen, whose mobility is one of his defining characteristics. Dawkins graded out as a top-30 tackle in 2019 per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics, which praised his pass-blocking ability but indicated that he has a little work to do with his run-blocking. On the other hand, his receiving skills are first-rate for a big man, as he has two receiving TDs to his credit.

Dawkins is a member of the first draft class for HC Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane, and he is the first player from that class to sign an extension. With his deal in the books, the club may start exploring new contracts for other 2021 free agents, like linebacker Matt Milano.

McDermott, of course, just signed an extension of his own yesterday, and Beane is in line for one soon. Those two have built a strong foundation in western New York, and Dawkins is a big part of it.

Bills Discussing Extensions With Dion Dawkins, Matt Milano

Still in Josh Allen‘s rookie-contract window, the Bills operated aggressively this offseason by adding Stefon Diggs, Josh Norman and a host of defensive linemen. They are turning their attention to extensions for some of their own players, however.

GM Brandon Beane confirmed Wednesday he has discussed long-term deals for both left tackle Dion Dawkins and linebacker Matt Milano, who share an agent.

Matt and Dion, they have the same representative so that’s a one-call, one-stop shop,” Beane told Steve Tasker during an appearance on One Bills Live (viaNewYorkUpstate.com). “Yeah, definitely have been in contact. You know, I don’t really like to get into negotiations too much, but I’ve definitely been in contact with their representatives giving them timelines of when we would look at things like that.”

Beane hinted at the post-draft offseason period being the window for potential re-ups for Dawkins and Milano. The Bills have an additional year to work on a Tre’Davious White deal, thanks to their 2017 first-rounder having a fifth-year option in his rookie contract.

Dawkins, a 2017 second-round pick, and Milano (a fifth-rounder that year) have been key to Buffalo’s recent rise. Each has been a starter since his rookie season. Milano racked up a career-high 101 tackles last season, and Dawkins rated as a top-30 tackle last season (per Pro Football Focus).

AFC Rumors: Osweiler, Flacco, Bills, Jaguars

Earlier this week, Joe Thomas was asked if he could name all 18 quarterbacks the Browns have started during his tenure. The perennial All-Pro left tackle passed the test, and with Cody Kessler having been demoted to third string for now, that number figures to expand to at least 19 this season. Thomas believes the other veteran in the clubhouse will be the Week 1 starter.

I might be going out on a limb here, but I think they’re grooming Brock (Osweiler) to be the starter in Week 1 based on what I’ve seen,” Thomas said, via the Associated Press’ Tom Withers. “It is a competition, but I would expect Brock to win because of his experience.”

Osweiler’s primary competition is now DeShone Kizer, the team’s second-round pick who fared well against Saints backups in the Browns’ preseason opener. Kizer remains in the mix due to a combination of physical skills and instincts for the position, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes.

Here’s the latest out of the AFC:

  • John Harbaugh, per Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com, said Joe Flacco won’t practice this coming week as the Ravens starting quarterback continues to recover from a back injury. This will mean four straight weeks without practice for the 10th-year passer, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport points out (via Twitter). The plan remains for Flacco to start in Week 1 against the Bengals, but if the 32-year-old signal-caller doesn’t practice during Week 3 of the preseason, the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zreibec notes (on Twitter) Flacco will get two weeks at most of work before the Baltimore opener. And Zreibec is skeptical he will get that much work (Twitter link).
  • Reggie Ragland has yet to assimilate well into Sean McDermott‘s scheme, and Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News expects the Bills to attempt to trade the ex-Alabama stalwart. Carucci notes a trade to a team that uses a 3-4 defense would make sense. Buffalo has shifted to a 4-3, and the 2016 second-round pick’s current status — stationed on the third team — is not exactly acceptable for such a big recent investment. PFR’s Dallas Robinson put Ragland on his list of trade candidates.
  • Should Cordy Glenn‘s foot trouble linger much longer, Carucci expects the Bills to target outside tackle help. Specifying the waiver wire as the player-procurement practice of choice to add a tackle, Carucci notes second-round rookie Dion Dawkins would be the top in-house option to start there if Glenn is unable to man his post. After Austin Pasztor‘s Falcons agreement, the tackle market looks thin. McDermott said (via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com) he’s not quite ready to relocate Dawkins from the right tackle competition, where he’s battling incumbent Jordan Mills. However, Dawkins took left-edge reps Friday in practice, while Seantrel Henderson — suspended for the season’s first five games — lined up at right tackle.
  • Tom Coughlin‘s brought some old-school training techniques to Jaguars camp. Albert Breer of SI.com observed the Jags doing up-downs following their joint practice with the Patriots, and this didn’t sit well with some Jacksonville players. One told Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio the rarely utilized conditioning method will shorten his career “by at least two years.” While that may be an extreme estimate, Florio adds other Jaguars have grumbled about the throwback conditioning style. Florio notes Coughlin is believed to have pushed for a greater conditioning emphasis.