Tre’Davious White

Bills Fear Knee Sprain For Von Miller

On a day when the Bills welcomed back one of their top defensive players, another exited the contest early. Von Miller was 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 Rousseau and 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 White make 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.

Bills To Activate CB Tre’Davious White

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.

AFC Notes: Ryan, Jets, Bills, Chargers

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.

Bills Designate CB Tre’Davious White For Return

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.

Bills Set 53-Man Roster

After waiving six players yesterday, the Bills cut 18 more players today to get themselves down to the 53-man roster limit:

Released:

Waived:

Placed on reserve/PUP:

Placed on reserve/suspended:

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.

Bills Place CB Tre’Davious White On PUP List

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 White on 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 McDermott indicated 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.

AFC East Notes: Bills, White, Moss, Patriots, Jets

The Bills are hoping Tre’Davious White can avoid a stint on the PUP list to begin the regular season. While speaking to reporters, GM Brandon Beane said the team is going to “run out the clock” when it comes to White’s roster spot in the hope that he’ll progress over the next week.

“We don’t have the final answer,” Beane said (via Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic on Twitter). “I can’t sit here and say, ‘He’s going to be here on this day.'”

The cornerback tore his ACL last November, and while reports have indicated that he’s progressing well in his return to the field, it’s still uncertain if he’ll be ready to go for Week 1. White landed on the PUP to start training camp, but the team will have to make an important decision on him as they reduce their roster to 53 players. If White is placed on PUP to begin the regular season, he’ll miss Buffalo’s first four games.

The former first-round pick has spent his entire career with the Bills, earning All-Pro nods in both 2019 and 2020. In 11 games last season, White collected 41 tackles, six passes defended, and one interception.

More notes out of the AFC East…

  • To enter Bills camp, there was an expectation that free agent acquisition Jamison Crowder would battle with holdover Isaiah McKenzie for the starting slot receiver role. As Buscaglia writes, the team has given every indication that McKenzie has won that position battle, and Crowder’s training camp struggles may have put him on the roster bubble. Despite his assessment, Buscaglia later opined that the veteran’s experience will ultimately earn him a spot on the 53-man roster.
  • Elsewhere on offense, it sounds like the Bills are ready to roll with a RB committee. Buscaglia writes that both Devin Singletary and rookie James Cook could end up seeing extensive work outside of the red zone, while Zack Moss is expected to serve as the team’s goal-line running back. Moss has gotten an extensive look during the preseason, and while the writer hints that the coaching staff could be showcasing him for a trade, he also acknowledged that the team has been happy with the RB’s performance during training camp and preseason.
  • Before rookie wideout Tyquan Thornton went down with a shoulder injury, the Patriots were fielding offers on their receivers, according to Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus. However, it now “seems unlikely” that the Patriots would subtract from the grouping of Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne, DeVante Parker, and Nelson Agholor. Meanwhile, the trio of Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Kristian Wilkerson, and Tre Nixon are competing for limited roster spots, while Ty Montgomery‘s best chance of making the roster may be as a running back.
  • While cornerback Sauce Gardner and wideout Garrett Wilson are expected to play important roles for the Jets next season, their other first-round pick may see more of a complementary role. Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post writes that Carl Lawson, Quinnen Williams, Sheldon Rankins, and John Franklin-Myers are expected to start along the defensive line, meaning Jermaine Johnson will have to compete with Jacob Martin for the role of “situational rusher.” “However I can help the team win is honestly how I look at it,” Johnson said. “I practice like I’m a [undrafted] free agent anyway, so I don’t really care. It’s like I’m fighting for my life. That’s how I am, what I believe and how I practice — and it just lines up perfectly with what Coach Saleh is all about: Practicing hard, balls to the wall, giving 110 percent not only for yourself but for the team.”

Bills CB Tre’Davious White To Open Camp On PUP List; G Rodger Saffold On NFI List

Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White will start training camp on the PUP list, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. That does not come as much of a surprise given that White sustained a torn ACL in November.

Rapoport does note that White is “in a good place” in his recovery. It is still unclear when the two-time Pro Bowler will be able to return to the field, and he is a candidate to open the season on IR. If he is not ready to go for Week 1, Buffalo will likely deploy first-round rookie Kaiir Elam and Dane Jackson — who acquitted himself well when filling in for White last year — as its starting boundary corners.

White, who had signed a four-year, $70MM extension a little more than a year before suffering the ACL tear, was in the midst of a terrific 2021 campaign. His yards-per-completion (9.9) and yards-per-target (5.2) figures represented career-best marks, and he was surrendering a meager 60.8 QB rating on passes thrown in his direction. He had also posted 41 tackles, one forced fumble, six passes defensed, and one interception. The Bills have legitimate championship aspirations, and White’s healthy return will be instrumental to the club’s push for its first Lombardi Trophy.

Meanwhile, offseason acquisition Rodger Saffold will open camp on the NFI list after injuring his ribs in a recent car accident, per Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic (via Twitter). Head coach Sean McDermott did not put a timeline on Saffold’s return, saying only that the 34-year-old will return “in due time.”

Saffold spent the last three seasons with the Titans and earned the first Pro Bowl nod of his career in 2021. Tennessee released him in a cost-cutting move in March, and he signed with the Bills several days later. He projects as Buffalo’s starting left guard.

Fellow guard Ike Boettger, who started 10 games for the Bills last season, finds himself on the PUP list after sustaining an Achilles tear towards the end of the 2021 season. DT Eli Ankou, a reserve/futures player who notched one sack and nine tackles in five games for Buffalo last year, joins him and White on that list.

Largest 2022 Cap Hits: Defense

After looking at this year’s top salary cap numbers on the offensive side of the ball, here is a rundown of the players counting the most toward their teams’ payrolls in 2022.

As could be expected, the salary figures here start below the quarterbacks. A few pass rushers, however, are tied to notable cap hits. Those numbers that check in within the top 20 leaguewide regardless of position. With the exception of true nose tackles and pure slot cornerbacks, every defensive position is represented here.

Here are the top cap figures on the defensive side for the ’22 season:

  1. T.J. Watt, OLB (Steelers): $31.12MM
  2. Chris Jones, DT (Chiefs): $29.42MM
  3. Joey Bosa, OLB (Chargers): $28.25MM
  4. Leonard Williams, DL (Giants): $27.3MM
  5. Aaron Donald, DT (Rams): $27MM
  6. Jalen Ramsey, CB (Rams): $23.2MM
  7. Deion Jones, LB (Falcons): $20.1MM
  8. Bud Dupree, OLB (Titans): $19.2MM
  9. Justin Simmons, S (Broncos): $18.85MM
  10. Javon Hargrave, DT (Eagles): $17.8MM
  11. C.J. Mosley, LB (Jets): $17.5MM
  12. Cameron Heyward, DL (Steelers): $17.42MM
  13. Robert Quinn, DE (Bears): $17.14MM
  14. Matt Judon, OLB (Patriots): $16.5MM
  15. DeForest Buckner, DT (Colts): $16MM
  16. Shaquill Griffin, CB (Jaguars): $16.44MM
  17. Tre’Davious White, CB (Bills): $16.4MM
  18. J.J. Watt, DL (Cardinals): $15.9MM
  19. Marcus Peters, CB (Ravens): $15.5MM
  20. Carl Lawson, DE (Jets): $15.33MM
  21. Eddie Jackson, S (Bears): $15.1MM
  22. Lavonte David, LB (Buccaneers): $14.79MM
  23. Budda Baker, S (Cardinals): $14.78MM
  24. Romeo Okwara, DE (Lions): $14.5MM
  25. Trey Hendrickson, DE (Bengals): $14.49MM
  • Illustrating how much the cap has climbed over the past several seasons, T.J. Watt is tied to a number nearly twice that of J.J. Watt, who has been tied to $16.7MM-per-year (a defender-record number in 2014) and $14MM-AAV deals as a pro. Trailing his older brother in Defensive Player of the Year honors, T.J. is signed to an edge defender-record $28MM-per-year accord.
  • Jones’ four-year Chiefs deal vaults from an $8.5MM cap number in 2021 to the league’s second-highest defensive figure this year. The standout defensive tackle’s cap hit accompanies Patrick Mahomes‘ $35.79MM number, which is well north of his 2021 figure, on Kansas City’s new-look payroll.
  • After two franchise tags, Williams scored a monster extension in 2021. The well-paid Giants D-lineman’s cap number this year is way up from his 2021 number ($9.4MM).
  • The Rams redid Donald’s contract last month, adding no new years to the through-2024 pact. The all-world defender’s cap hit actually decreases in 2023, dropping to $26MM
  • It is not certain Deion Jones will be back with the Falcons, who have jettisoned other Super Bowl LI cornerstones from the roster since the current regime took over in 2021. But they would save just $1MM were they to release the seventh-year linebacker.
  • To date, this represents the high-water mark for Mosley cap hits on his Jets deal, which at the time (2019) began a sea change for off-ball linebacker contracts. Mosley’s cap hit, on a pact that runs through 2024 because of the linebacker opting out of the 2020 season, increased by $10MM from 2021-22.
  • Hargrave is one of five Eagles pass rushers signed to veteran contracts. The ex-Steeler’s 2021 deal accompanies Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Haason Reddick, and Fletcher Cox‘s new agreement on Philadelphia’s defensive front. As cap hits do not reflect average salaries, Hargrave is the only member of this quartet tied to an eight-figure cap number in 2022.
  • Quinn has also been connected to a departure, with the 31-year-old pass rusher skipping minicamp after it became known he would like to be traded away from the rebuilding team. His cap hit tops the Bears’ payroll. The Bears would save $12.9MM by trading Quinn, should another team sign up for taking on his full 2022 base salary.

AFC Rumors: White, Chaisson, Williams, Cannon

After tearing his ACL in late November last season, Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White is a candidate to begin the season on injured reserve, according to Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic. This differs slightly from earlier reports this year that White may be on track to start the 2022 NFL season healthy.

White was just halfway through the second year of his four-year, $69MM extension when he suffered the noncontact injury. His absence was a tough blow for the Bills who fell just short of their second-straight AFC Championship game appearance. With White on injured reserve for at least the first four weeks of the season, Buffalo will depend on rookie first-round pick Kaiir Elam. Elam will team up with returning corners Taron Johnson, Dane Jackson, and Siran Neal to anchor a strong Buffalo secondary until White’s return.

Here are a few other rumors from around the AFC, starting with a couple of rumors from Duval County:

  • Despite his lofty status as one of the Jaguars’ first-round picks from the last couple of years, defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson‘s roster spot is anything but guaranteed, according to Michael DiRocco of ESPN. During his two years in Jacksonville, Chaisson has only started 11 games despite playing in all but two. In those two seasons of work, Chaisson only has 2.0 sacks, 6.0 tackles for loss, and 13 quarterback hits to his name. This leaves him in a precarious spot this offseason as he hopes to carve out his role on the Jaguars’ defensive line and prove his worth as the former No. 20 overall draft pick.
  • ESPN’s DiRocco also dove into Jacksonville’s cornerback room, positing that former Rams cornerback Darious Williams is expected to earn the starting spot at nickel for the Jaguars defense. With Tyson Campbell and Shaquill Griffin in place on the outside, Williams should have the inside track to start in the slot. Four-year Jaguars cornerback Tre Herndon has some experience on the inside, as well, and should provide some quality depth and competition for Williams, but Williams was brought in to play and will likely get the opportunity over Herndon to start the year.
  • Running back Trenton Cannon has bounced around a bit during his first four years in the league, spending time with the Jets, Panthers, Ravens, and 49ers. Cannon signed with the Titans in March and is expected to make the eventual 53-man roster due to his return abilities, according to ESPN’s Turron Davenport. On the running back depth chart for Tennessee, Cannon likely sits behind Derrick Henry, Dontrell Hilliard, and rookie Hassan Haskins, but he has extensive experience as a kick returner, serving as San Francisco’s primary return man down the stretch last season. With the Titans’ primary return man from last year, Chester Rogers, currently off the roster as a free agent, Cannon should be able to solidify a roster spot if he can prove his worth as a special teamer.