Bills Urged to Trade for $26 Million Guard Before Deadline: Analyst

Austin Corbett

Getty The Bills are encouraged to make a move for offensive lineman Austin Corbett.

With the NFL’s trade deadline little over a week away, the Buffalo Bills are assessing their weak spots and debating whether or not there’s a player out there who could bolster what’s already a Super Bowl caliber team. While the Bills have been linked to several running backs, as their No. 1 offense in the league ranks No. 17 in rushing, there’s another area that could use a boost.

In order to win it all the season, New York Upstate‘s Ryan Talbot urged the Bills upgrade their offensive line and make a trade for Carolina Panthers guard Austin Corbett. The former second-round pick from the 2018 NFL Draft, who earned a Super Bowl ring as a member of the Los Angeles Rams last season, signed a three-year, $26 million contract with the Panthers in March 2022 — a team that is in the midst of a fire sale.

“The Panthers are tearing things down after trading away Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers,” Talbot wrote on Saturday, October 22. “There may be certain players that they view as cornerstones in their rebuild, but Austin Corbett, a 27 year old offensive lineman, likely isn’t part of that plan.”

“For Buffalo, however, Corbett could be a valuable piece to their offensive line over the remainder of the season.

Corbett Would Be an Upgrade Over Ryan Bates, Spencer Brown & Rodger Saffold

With superstar quarterback Josh Allen leading the Bills, a man who can literally leap over defenders, many of the offensive line’s pitfalls are able to be overlooked. But it’s a weakness the could eventually come back to bite Buffalo. The O-line strugged with “everything from run blocking to pass protection” against the Miami Dolphins in Week 3, per SB Nation, and received a “C” grade from USA Today for their perforamcne against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4.

Talbot noted, “Ryan Bates has been the weak link of Buffalo’s offensive line while Corbett has thrived in Carolina this season. He currently has a PFF grade of 79.5 while ranking seventh in run-block win rate at guard.”

“Corbett at this point is an upgrade to Bates at right guard. For the remainder of 2022, Bates would be the team’s top reserve OL while potentially sliding back to left guard, a position he played well, in 2023 when Rodger Saffold’s contract expires.”

In comparison, Safford has a PFF grade of 40.2, while Bates has a 56.4, while Spencer Brown has a grade of 61.9.

Brown, the Bills starting right tackle, suffered a “bad sprain” during the Bills’ 24-20 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6 and it’s not clear if or how much time he will miss. After Brown was ruled out, David Quessenberry took over his role.

The Bills Offensive Line Coach Is Already a Huge Fan of Corbett

If Corbett were to come to Buffalo, he would already have a familiar face in the building, Aaron Kromer, the team’s offensive line coach.

Talbot wrote, ” Corbett is a quality guard who also has experience playing under Aaron Kromer with the Los Angeles Rams (2019-2020). After the Browns traded Corbett to the Rams, Kromer spoke about what he liked about the lineman.

“I think obviously he’s athletic to play guard, but he bends well enough to play center,” Kromer said. “When we worked him out, we had him at center up at the college. He really moved down the line of scrimmage really well, he was athletic to the second level.

“Coming out of college, Austin, we thought was a good athlete a good college player,” Kromer continued. “For whatever happened in Cleveland where he hasn’t had the production that you thought, we’re excited about having him. We think he’s a big athletic guy and we’re going to try to wean him into the offense and see where he can fit and see if his athleticism fits us better than it did the Cleveland Browns. We have high hopes for him, but at this point being new and they really don’t use the techniques that we do, so it will take a little bit of time I believe. Hopefully we can get him helping us sooner than later.”

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