Like most of the NFL, the Buffalo Bills are already locking up players for training camp next season as they signed 13 players to future/reserve contracts on Tuesday.
Key names that the Bills resigned for next season are cornerback Dane Jackson, running back Antonio Williams, wide receiver Jake Kumerow, wide receiver Duke Williams, tackle Trey Adams and wide receiver Tanner Gentry.
The Bills are also bringing back tight end Nate Becker, defensive tackle Brandin Bryant, defensive end Bryan Cox, defensive end Mike Love, safety Josh Thomas, running back Christian Wade, and quarterback Davis Webb.
When NFL teams sign players to future/reserve contracts, they are claiming the rights to players that they think will be able to contribute in the upcoming season. A few of the players that signed future/reserve contracts with the Bills already made an impact ths season and could continue to in the future.
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Jackson Is Looking to Carve Out a Role in Buffalo’s Secondary
Jackson was one of the biggest finds this year for the Bills, but the seventh-round pick didn’t quite have a consistent role in the secondary with the amount of depth the Bills had late in the season.
When both Josh Norman and Levi Wallace suffered injuries this season, Jackson stepped in and played well. In his first career start against the New York Jets in Week 7, Jackson recorded a key interception in the first half that swung the momentum of the game and the Bills only allowed four net yards the rest of the game. He also recorded three tackles and two pass deflections in the game.
Jackson played in the next four games and when contract tracing protocols decimated the Bills secondary before their matchup with the Arizona Cardinals, the former Pitt Panther stepped up.
He recorded eight combined tackles against the Cardinals and also matched up against DeAndre Hopkins on multiple occasions. He also deflected one pass and recovered a key fumble as well.
In Buffalo’s regular season finale against the Miami Dolphins, Jackson also recorded three tackles, one tackle for a loss, and two pass deflections.
Adding Depth to the Wide Receiving Room
The Bills are also looking to keep around a few wide receivers who have impressed and could play a part in Buffalo’s future. After being waived by the Bills, signing with the Saints, and then being released by the Saints, Kumerow is back with the Bills and played in five games this past season in Buffalo.
He recorded mainly special teams snaps and his only catch came on a 22-yard touchdown pass in Buffalo’s AFC East clinching victory over the Denver Broncos on Dec. 19. When Kumerow caught his touchdown pass he became the 13th Bill to catch a touchdown, which tied the NFL record for the most amount of players to catch a touchdown pass in a single-season.
Duke Williams has played in five games for the Bills in the past two years and caught a touchdown pass last season in Buffalo’s 14-7 win over the Tennessee Titans. He also played in Buffalo’s playoff loss to the Houston Texans and caught four passes for 49 yards. But, with the depth at the wide receiver position, Williams didn’t see much action and only recorded five offensive snaps in Buffalo’s 18-10 victory over the Jets.
Gentry was also a late addition to the practice squad this season, but he is also someone that could provide value for the Bills next year. He played with quarterback Josh Allen at Wyoming. During Allen’s sophomore season for Wyoming, Gentry caught 72 passes for 1,326 yards and 14 touchdowns. Allen threw for 3,203 yards and 28 touchdowns while completing 209 of his 373 pass attempts.
Antonio Williams Gets Another Shot
The undrafted rookie burst onto the scene in Buffalo’s Week 17 win over the Miami Dolphins and almost immediately became a household name with Bills fans. He ran hard, showcased a burst of speed, and rushed for 65 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. He also recorded a 20-yard catch in the same game.
When rookie running back Zack Moss went down with an injury the following week against the Indianapolis Colts in the first round of the playoffs, fans immediately called for Williams to get another opportunity. He was elevated from the practice squad for Buffalo’s matchup with the Baltimore Ravens, but was listed as an inactive and didn’t get the shot.
Now he will in his second NFL season.
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