Last year’s first-round pick Kaiir Elam has been a healthy-scratch for the first four games of the season but may be forced into action now that it’s necessary. Dane Jackson was the one who saw increased snaps upon White’s departure last weekend. Siran Neal and Cameron Lewis also have an opportunity to contribute. Head coach Sean McDermott, while maintaining that the Bills have faith in the guys already in their building, didn’t rule out the potential of a free agent signing to help reinforce the group, according to The Athletic’s Tim Graham.
If Buffalo is interested in veteran options, former Broncos cornerback Chris Harris is available after coming off the practice squad for the Saints to start four games last season. Veteran free agent Casey Hayward is also available after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury last year. Either option would provide veteran, starting experience for the Bills in place of White.
Here are a few other rumors from around the AFC East, starting down in Dade County:
Dolphins rookie running back Devon Achane has exploded onto the scene in the past two weeks. After only registering two touches over the first two games of the season for Miami, Achane has totaled 353 total yards and six total touchdowns in the last two games alone. Needless to say, the Dolphins are looking to get the ball in Achane’s hands more often, as reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The only issue is that starting running back Raheem Mostert has been impressive in his own right so far this year, and the team also likes Jeff Wilson and Salvon Ahmed, who are each trying to shake off injuries. Regardless, it’s going to be tough to keep Achane off the field.
The Jets have been managing second-year running back Breece Hall on a limited snap count so far this season as he comes back to full strength from last year’s season-ending ACL tear. According to Schefter, head coach Robert Saleh informed the media that Hall will not be playing on a limited workload any longer. Hall’s early effectiveness, combined with the initial disappointment of the Dalvin Cook-addition, has prompted the team to increase the role of the player it views as the team’s primary rusher.
We knew that the serious injury to Patriots pass rusher Matt Judon would majorly impact his ability to make an impression for his next contract. Thanks to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, we have some details on how it affects him now, as well. His recent restructure presented the opportunity for Judon to make up to $3MM in incentives. Since he won’t be able to play for 75 percent of the team’s defense snaps and will likely miss the Pro Bowl and an All-Pro selection, Judon is likely to miss out on $2MM of those incentives. Additionally, he’ll be out approximately $766K in per game active roster bonuses that he wouldn’t qualify for over the rest of the year, if he can’t make a return this season.
OCTOBER 2: A Monday MRI confirmed the fears. White suffered an Achilles tear, Sean McDermott said. This will bring another early end to the top Buffalo corner’s season. White needed a full year to return from the ACL tear that ended his 2021 campaign, and he will soon start another lengthy rehab journey.
OCTOBER 1: In an otherwise extremely positive day in Buffalo that included the return to the field for Bills safety Damar Hamlin and a rather convincing win over the division-rival Dolphins, the Bills experienced a terrible scare as veteran cornerback Tre’Davious White left the game with an apparent ankle injury.
An update from the team’s public relations account on X informed that White had been downgraded to out for the game and that he was being evaluated for an injury to his Achilles tendon. Unfortunately, those evaluations are not looking promising as it is currently feared that White has suffered a torn Achilles, according to Jeff Darlington of ESPN.
This continues a troubling trend for the 28-year-old cornerback, who has not played in every game since his sophomore season in 2018. While he missed three games in the 2019 and 2020 seasons, White was still able to establish himself as a top cornerback in the league with a first-team All-Pro selection and two Pro Bowl appearances. In 2021, though, White would miss the final six games of the season after tearing his ACL, and that would start an unusually long absence.
Of course, ACL injuries routinely require a lengthy recovery process, but White intentionally decided to slow play his return to the field. The long-term injury was the first of his entire sports career dating back to childhood, and the sedentary lifestyle that recovery required of him took a toll on his mental health. He took an extra couple of months before coming back to play, and the decision paid off, allowing White to be effective in his return to the field.
Unfortunately, including last year’s playoffs, that return only lasted 11 games before he suffered an unrelated, potentially long-term injury. If White truly did tear his Achilles, he would almost certainly be out for the remainder of the season. Hopefully, if an MRI tomorrow confirms the severity of the injury, White is in a better place to deal with a long-term recovery and will be able to make another strong return.
In the meantime, the Bills secondary, already short today starting safety Jordan Poyer with a knee injury and last year’s first-round pick Kaiir Elam, who has been a healthy-scratch for the first four weeks of the season, will turn to a number of backups to fill White’s potential absence. Christian Benford and Taron Johnson have been starting alongside White so far this season. If White is forced to miss the rest of the season, the team will need to rely more on Dane Jackson, Siran Neal, and Cameron Lewis. Figuring out what they’re doing with Elam probably wouldn’t hurt, either.
The Bills will begin their turn hosting Odell Beckham Jr. on Friday, going second on the wide receiver’s three-team itinerary that includes Giants and Cowboys summits. Buffalo created a bit of cap space as well.
The team restructured Tre’Davious White‘s contract, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). This move clears $2.29MM in cap space for a Bills team that was previously up against the salary ceiling.
White, who made his long-awaited return from a Thanksgiving 2021 ACL tear in time for this year’s Bills Thanksgiving game, is signed through the 2025 season via the four-year, $69MM extension he inked back in September 2020. The Bills had already gone to the restructure well with White, creating just more than $7MM in cap space last year. He is tied to cap numbers of $16.4MM, $16.6MM and $17MM from 2023-25, respectively.
This move will obviously benefit Buffalo even if it is not used to fit a complicated Beckham contract onto the payroll, but the team is beginning its pitch today. Beckham, 30, will be coming up from the Big Apple after his Giants meeting, which began Thursday. He is not expected to work out for any teams, but the Giants’ medical staff planned to put him through an MRI. It can be expected the Bills’ medical team will as well.
A Beckham signing would certainly cap quite an acquisition year for a team fairly unaccustomed to marquee free agency pickups. The Bills outmaneuvered the Rams for Von Miller in March, and Miller has persistently pitched Buffalo to his former Los Angeles teammate. Beckham is seeking a multiyear deal, which would benefit the three apparent finalists for cap purposes. At just more than $6MM, the Cowboys hold the most cap space among the teams meeting with OBJ.
On a day when the Bills welcomed back one of their top defensive players, another exited the contest early. Von Millerwas carted off the field late in the second quarter, leaving Buffalo without their top pass rusher.
The Bills immediately ruled Miller out for the remainder of their Thanksgiving tilt against the Lions, leading to widespread speculation that a major injury had occurred. The initial diagnosis appears to be more positive, however. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the team believes Miller suffered a knee sprain, with more tests to come tomorrow (Twitter link).
While that news is relatively positive, Rapoport adds that a far more serious diagnosis could be coming in the near future. In a follow-up, he notes that Miller will miss some time in 2022; the important matter will now become how much. A torn ACL or similar ailment would end his season, and put a significant dent in Buffalo’s Super Bowl aspirations given his effectiveness during his debut season as a Bill.
Miller entered today’s game in a tie for 10th in the league in sacks this season (8.0). That has represented a good return on investment for Buffalo, who inked the future Hall of Famer to a six-year, $120MM deal in free agency. He has led a Bills pass rush group which ranks mid-pack in sacks, but has helped the team’s defense allow the fifth-fewest points per game (17.4) in 2022.
Buffalo’s front seven was already without Gregory Rousseauand A.J. Epenesa for today’s game, so their edge rush will be particularly shorthanded for the remainder of the contest. Concern will linger well beyond the immediate future in Miller’s case, though, at least until more is know about the extent of his injury.
On a more positive note, the preseason Super Bowl favorites saw No. 1 corner Tre’Davious Whitemake his return this afternoon. The two-time Pro Bowler had been sidelined while recovering from a torn ACL; while his snap count against Detroit will likely be limited, he will provide a significant boost to Buffalo’s secondary when he resumes a full-time starting role. A return to his top form could be especially needed if Miller misses extended time.
TODAY, 6:50pm: The Bills have officially activated White from the reserve/PUP list, per the team.
MONDAY, 3:15pm: The Bills are leading the NFL in scoring defense without Tre’Davious White, but are moving closer to having their top cornerback in uniform. White will be activated Wednesday, The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia tweets.
While this move may be more formality than surefire sign the sixth-year corner will be in uniform soon, the Bills do not view his return as far away. Buffalo must activate White from its PUP list this week. Otherwise, he would miss all of the 2022 season. That was never a concern for Buffalo, which has proceeded cautiously with White.
White returned to practice Oct. 12, pointing to the Bills viewing their high-priced cover man as close. The AFC East leaders likely wanted to see White receive a few weeks’ worth of practice before activating him, explaining this near-three-week window between White’s designation for return and activation. But the team should be expected to have White back for the stretch run. White missing any more time would require the Bills to make him a gameday inactive.
Buffalo lost White to an ACL tear on Thanksgiving 2021, and the team missed the former first-round pick sorely in its shootout divisional-round loss to the Chiefs. The Bills have since drafted Kaiir Elam in the first round, using Dane Jackson and Taron Johnson as their other top corners. White stands to be an impact addition to a 6-1 team without a glaring need.
The Bills have Elam on a rookie deal through 2025. That stands to pair well with White’s $17.25MM-per-year accord, which runs through the ’25 season. White, 27, became one of the league’s top corners while on his rookie contract. He will represent a key piece to the AFC puzzle this season. With Micah Hyde out for the season and Jordan Poyer going down with an elbow injury, the Bills have some secondary issues to navigate as they attempt to secure their first No. 1 seed since 1993. But White’s return will strengthen the conference’s early frontrunner.
Matt Ryan has started each of his 239 appearances (including playoffs) in the NFL, but he’ll find himself behind Sam Ehlinger on the depth chart for Sunday’s game against the Commanders. Despite the sudden change of role, Ryan told Joel E. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star that he hasn’t thought about asking the Colts for a trade.
Ryan is currently dealing with a shoulder issue, and while there’s a chance he’ll be active against Washington, the QB admitted that the injury is significant. Either way, the Colts made it clear that their change atop the QB depth chart would have happened regardless of the veteran’s health. Now, Ryan will likely find himself serving as a backup for the rest of the season.
“That part is different,” Ryan said of his new role. “But I’ve also learned in this league, it’s tough to assume anything. The minute you start to make assumptions about how things are going to shake out, you just never know. For me, No. 1, it’s about getting healthy and getting myself into a position where I’m staying ready.”
Ryan also acknowledged that he was disappointed in his performance through the first seven games. While the Colts are a respectable 3-3-1, the offense has been inconsistent, with Ryan completing 68.4 percent of his passes while tossing nine touchdowns vs. nine interceptions.
“Individually and personally disappointed,” Ryan said. “As a player and a competitor, you want to be out there. You want to go. … It’s part of the deal in this league. You’ve got to produce.”
More notes from around the AFC…
After asking for a trade and sitting out Week 7, Elijah Moore has rejoined the Jets, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post (on Twitter). The receiver is expected to be active for Week 8. The 2021 second-round pick has been limited to only 16 catches in six games this season, including zero catches on zero targets in New York’s Week 6 win over the Packers. That empty stat line ultimately prompted Moore’s trade request.
Speaking of the Jets, the team made headlines when they acquired running back James Robinson from the Jaguars earlier this week. While Robinson saw a reduced role during his last few games in Jacksonville, it wasn’t necessarily because of an impending trade. Jaguars coach Doug Pederson told reporters that the team wasn’t actively shopping the running back, per ESPN’s Michael DiRocco on Twitter. The Jets initiated trade talks after losing star rookie RB Breece Hall for the season. “I have a ton of respect for James,” Pederson said. “He put himself in a position to help our football team, and now he gets a chance to do that with the Jets and wishing him well.”
Tre’Davious White has missed the first chunk of the season while recovering from a torn ACL, but Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier told reporters that the cornerback’s return to the lineup doesn’t appear to be “that far away” (via Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic on Twitter). White returned to practice before Week 6, and his three-week window will soon be coming to an end. While it doesn’t sound like he’ll be active on Sunday night, there’s a good chance he’ll be back for Week 9.
Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson had surgery yesterday to repair his patellar tendon, per NFL Network’s Bridget Condon on Twitter. The surgery generally takes around eight to nine months to recover from. The offseason acquisition ruptured the tendon on Sunday, ending his 2022 campaign prematurely.
Days before the Bills’ return trip to Kansas City, the defender they sorely missed during their playoff trek to Missouri is back at practice. The Bills are designating Tre’Davious White for return.
That said, Sean McDermott ended suspense about the veteran cornerback’s status for the Chiefs matchup. White will not play Sunday, but his activation clock will start Wednesday. The Bills will have three weeks to activate their top cover man, or he reverts to season-ending IR. Although it will not lead to White facing off against the Chiefs, this transaction almost certainly means his return is not far off.
White has been out since sustaining an ACL tear on Thanksgiving last year. The Bills managed to end the 2021 season with the league’s No. 1 defense, but the team could not stop the Chiefs’ explosive offense in an overtime divisional-round defeat. The team moved White from the active/PUP list to the reserve/PUP list after training camp, remaining cautious with their highly paid corner.
Buffalo’s defense has mostly fared well sans White to start the season. The team let Levi Wallace walk in free agency but used a first-round pick on Kaiir Elam. Despite facing the Rams, Dolphins and Eagles, the Bills rank first in scoring defense and second in yards allowed. The Chiefs should be expected to provide another stiff test, however.
The Bills have used Dane Jackson as their primary outside starter opposite Elam, who moved into the starting lineup in Week 3. Jackson, who was carted off during Buffalo’s Week 2 win over Tennessee, returned to action after missing just one game. Although safety Micah Hyde is out for the season, Taron Johnson remains in place as the team’s slot cornerback.
We heard about some of Buffalo’s bigger moves earlier today, including the release of O.J. Howard and Duke Johnson. Greg Mancz is one of the most experienced players to get cut, with the veteran having appeared in 63 games across seven NFL seasons. His positional versatility was expected to land him a roster spot as a backup offensive lineman, but the team ultimately opted for a younger option. Mancz certainly didn’t help his case when he missed the preseason finale while recovering from a foot injury suffered during practice.
Tanner Gentry and Alec Anderson are both candidates to return to Buffalo via the practice squad. Gentry has bounced on and off the Bills roster over the previous two seasons without getting into a game. Anderson started 10 games at UCLA last year before landing with the Bills as an undrafted rookie.
Matt Barkley has spent the past four seasons in Buffalo. He got into eight games with the Bills between 2018 and 2020, completing 53 of his 97 pass attempts for 788 yards, three touchdowns, and four interceptions. He was demoted to QB3 in 2021 following the acquisition of Mitchell Trubisky, and Barkley didn’t end up seeing the field last year. He was eyeing a similar role in 2022 with Case Keenum now serving as Josh Allen‘s primary backup.
One of the most notable roster moves the Bills are making isn’t a significant release or trade, but rather a health-related transaction with major implications. The team is placing cornerback Tre’Davious Whiteon the reserve/PUP list, meaning he will miss at least the first four weeks of the season (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network).
White is continuing to recover from the torn ACL which ended his 2021 campaign in November. Throughout the offseason, the question of whether or not he would be available in time for Week 1 has hovered over the team, which waited until the last day possible to determine his September fate.
Initially, the two-time Pro Bowler was thought to be making steady progress, to the point where he return was expected. However, recent remarks from head coach Sean McDermottindicated that a PUP list stint to begin the campaign was a distinct possibility.
White has become one of the league’s top corners, earning All-Pro honors in 2019 en route to a four-year, $69MM extension. He was on track for another highly productive campaign before going down with the injury. In his absence, the Bills still made it to the Divisional Round of the playoffs, but he will be missed for however long he remains on the sidelines.
Even if White had been able to suit up by Week 1, corner was routinely identified as an area of need in Buffalo, especially after the free agent departure of Levi Wallace. The team used their first-round pick on Kaiir Elam, who will likely be forced into a more prominent role as a rookie than the team would have envisioned.