The Buffalo Bills are bringing back a familiar face to compete for a spot on the offensive line.
The team announced on Monday that they had signed lineman Bobby Hart to a one-year contract. The Bills had initially signed the eight-year veteran in November 2021 after he had been released by the Tennessee Titans. While Hart saw limited action — playing just one snap on offense and five on special teams — he will have the chance to compete for a spot in training camp.
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Bills Make Another Addition to Offensive Line
There has been considerable change at offensive line for the Bills this offseason. The team released guard Jon Feliciano and tackle Daryl Williams, freeing up cap space and creating a more open competition for next season.
As Nick Wojton of USA Today’s Bills Wire noted, Hart will likely start a bit further down the depth chart.
“Slated to start at tackle in 2022 is Dion Dawkins and Spencer Brown. Tommy Doyle appears to be the favorite for the swing tackle job as well,” Wojton wrote.
With Hart, the Bills have another addition of the offensive line. The team matched the Chicago Bears’ offer to restricted free agent Ryan Bates and signed veteran guard Rodger Saffold, who was a Pro Bowler last season. Saffold said he was excited to join a Super Bowl contender and cited familiarity with new Bills offensive line coach Aaron Kromer, who was his coach with the Los Angeles Rams.
“I think it’s just because of how close I feel they are to a championship,” Saffold said. “This is a real Super Bowl caliber team, as well as just a great situation for me to be with one of the coaches. I played in L.A., and we had an unbelievable O-line under Aaron Kromer.”
Ike Boettger, who started 17 games for the Bills since joining the team in 2018 as an undrafted rookie, also returned to the team on a one-year contract. Bills general manager Brandon Beane said he hopes a fully healthy Boettger will be able to compete for a spot.
“Ike had a tough injury with the Achilles last year and is rehabbing that. He got a good exam on his physical,” said Beane. “He’ll still have to rehab that and we’ll see where he’s at when training camp starts.”
Line a Priority for Bills
The Bills had one of the league’s best passing attacks over the last two seasons, and Beane said keeping quarterback Josh Allen safe is a top priority going forward.
“First thing, I’m going to try and protect him,” Beane said of Allen. “As I said earlier, I have to make sure the o-line is set and that we’re confident in them. But beyond that, always looking for the various pieces.”
Bills head coach Sean McDermott said Allen can do more to protect himself as well, saying he would like the Pro Bowl quarterback to run the ball less in the upcoming season. The Bills relied more heavily on the traditional running game late in the season, with Devin Singletary recording 323 of his career-best 870 rushing yards over the final four weeks of the season.
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