Following the Buffalo Bills (9-3) win over the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football, Rodger Saffold is not just thinking about the team’s upcoming matchup against the New York Jets in Week 14, but his future with the franchise in general.
The Bills’ starting left guard sent a strong message on Twitter and attempted to tagged Brandon Beane for him to read, however, the team’s general manager doesn’t have an account on the social media app. The All-Pro tweeted on Friday, December 2, “I’ll do whatever I gotta do to stay in Buffalo @brandonbeane17 ,” before adding a promotional stat, “0 sacks in 12 games let’s goooooo!!!!”
Saffold signed the veteran guard to a one-year, $6.25 million contract with the Bills back in March, which means he’ll become a free agent once the 2022 NFL season comes to a close, and it’s clear the only new contract he wants to sign is one that keeps him in Buffalo.
Bills Mafia loved seeing Saffold’s tweet, and several people replied to tag Hayley Beane’s official account. One man tweeted, “Love this energy bruh! Just FYI- Brandon Beane is Twitterless. We might be able to get @beane_mrs to pass the message on though… 😉 #BillsMafia.”
One fan responded to Saffold, “I would love to point out how us Bills fans have been dying for players to say this for years. We couldn’t get anyone to come to Buffalo without extremely overpaying them. What a difference a better culture creates,” while another person wrote, “Stay strong stay well, hope you retire a Buffalo Bill.”
The 12-year veteran spent the first nine years of his career with the Rams before signing with the Titans in 2019, where he played for the past three seasons. Saffold made it clear from the get-go that he was thrilled to be back in Buffalo.
Following the team’s last day of training camp at St. John Fisher College on August 11, he tweeted out a photo of the offensive line and wrote, “Man it feels good to battle with these boys again! Thank you for all the get well wishes and support during this ordeal. Life throws you a curveball every now and again but how you respond is all that matters! Thank you for all the support! GO BILLS #BILLSMAFIA.”
Can the Bills Afford to Keep Saffold Next Year?
If Saffold is truly willing to do anything to remain in Buffalo, the former second-pick from the 2010 NFL Draft may have to agree to a pay cut. The Indiana alum has yet to miss a game this season and has participated in nearly 100% of the team’s offensive snaps each week, so it’s not that Saffold isn’t a valuable player. He is, however, one of several players set to enter free agency, and the Bills can’t afford to keep them all.
Beane has some tough decisions before next season, especially since quarterback Josh Allen’s salary comes with a $39.7 million cap hit in 2023, per Spotrac.com, Stefon Diggs’ new extension comes with an approximately $20.3 million hit, and Von Miller’s deal depletes another $18.7 million.
The Bills preemptively picked up Ed Oliver’s fifth-year option in April, which locked the 24-year-old defensive tackle through the 2023 NFL season and included a $7 million raise in salary. And then one day before the season opener, the team offered 25-year-old tight end Dawson Knox a four-year, $53 million extension.
In addition to Saffold, other key players looking to re-sign with Buffalo include All-Pro safety Jordan Poyer, 31, linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, 24, running back Devin Singletary, 25, defensive end Shaq Lawson, 28, and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, 30.
The Bills O-Line Looks to Be Improving This Season
While NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger praised the Pro Bowler’s “beautiful combo block” against the Patriots on Thursday Night Football, The Athletic‘s Joe Buscaglia wrote ahead of the Bills’ Week 13 matchup how the return of guard Ike Boettger, who has spent the season on IR after tearing his Achilles last December, will offer the offensive line a much-needed boost.
“If the struggles of left guard Rodger Saffold continue, despite the veteran’s reputation, Boettger’s level of play pre-injury would be an improvement to what Saffold has provided this season,” Buscaglia noted. “Saffold has really struggled as a pass blocker this season and hasn’t made up for it enough as a run blocker.”
Thus far this season, Saffold has earned an overall PFF grade of 50.7. When a fan called out his low score on Twitter on Friday, Saffold responded, “Don’t go by pff kid. They don’t know scheme or technique but it looks nice on a wallpaper throughout the year. It’s still #BillsMafia tho!”
NFL analyst Greg Cosell gave the entire Bills offense some tough love during a podcast appearance before the Bills’ win in Foxboro, “We’ve become a little enamored with the fact that Allen is so special as a talent that we lose sight of the fact that this team doesn’t have a real good O-line,” — however, they pulled off an impressive, nine-minute, 15-play, 94-yard drive against New England in the third quarter that basically sealed their 24-10 win.
Allen said after the game, “Anytime you can go 95 yards it’s a plus, but when you do it that way and it’s a long, sustained drive, those ones feel really good. Those O-linemen they love those types of drives where they can just kind of go in there and grind it out. I thought we played really well. Obviously, only 24 points but our defense played fantastic ball where we didn’t feel like we had to press and make any mistakes. These are good wins, in division, away.”