Justin Zimmer’s third stint with the Buffalo Bills was a short-lived one.
The veteran defensive tackle, who first joined the Bills as an undrafted free agent in 2016 and then played in Buffalo in 2020 and 2021 before returning this year to join the practice squad, was signed by the Miami Dolphins to fill a hole left by an injury. Zimmer will have the chance to contribute on the Dolphins’ active roster, while the Bills have lost some depth at a key position.
Dolphins Poach Zimmer From Bills Practice Squad
The Dolphins announced on November 23 that they signed the veteran defensive tackle. As Alain Poupart of SI.com’s All Dolphins noted, he will provide some depth after Miami just lost a key player to injury.
“Zimmer becomes the fifth defensive lineman on the roster, joining Sieler, Christian Wilkins, Raekwon Davis and John Jenkins,” Poupart wrote. “He filled the opening created when the Dolphins placed Emmanuel Ogbah on injured reserve with the triceps injury he sustained in the Week 10 victory against the Cleveland Browns.”
Zimmer was an unrestricted free agent last offseason, and left Buffalo after the Bills declined to make him an offer. He came back to Buffalo for a workout in September, and later signed to the practice squad. The 29-year-old had not played since last November, when he suffered a season-ending knee injury.
As Mike D’Abate of SI.com’s Bills Central noted, the Bills had been high on Zimmer, who earned praise from head coach Sean McDermott in 2021.
“He just is Justin Zimmer,” McDermott said at the time. “There’s just something about him. You can’t really put your finger on it. He’s one of the first ones out here to practice … Works his tail off. It’s to me no mistake why he’s had the success that he’s had and why this team respects him for who he is.”
Zimmer was also popular among Bills fans, and remembered for forcing a fumble against New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton in a 2020 win that broke Buffalo’s seven-game losing streak to the Patriots.
Bills Add to Practice Squad
While the Bills may have lost Zimmer, they made some other key additions to the practice squad and active roster in recent days. They signed rookie defensive end Kingsley Jonathan, who first joined the Bills as an undrafted free agent before signing with the Chicago Bears, rejoined the Bills practice squad after being released last week.
The Bills also brought back linebacker A.J. Klein, who played for the Bills in 2020 and 2021, after he was released by the Bears.
Bills general manager Brandon Beane told the Buffalo News that the team kept an eye on both players and jumped on the opportunity to bring them back.
“We liked Kingsley a lot,” Beane said. “We thought he did a really good job at camp. We had some tough cuts at the 53 and he was one of the guys that got claimed. We talked about it, you hate losing (him) and you never know. You always tell them ‘listen, you did a great job for us, this league’s unpredictable, you never know. Maybe this year, maybe next year, there’ll be an opportunity to get you back’ and similar to AJ Klein, we saw he was out there.”