The Buffalo Bills have made a flurry of moves since the start of free agency two weeks ago, however, all the new additions have been on offensive players. But on Monday, March 27, ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news that Buffalo was signing their first new defensive player this offseason.
Schefter tweeted, “Free-agent safety Taylor Rapp, the Rams’ 2019 second-round pick who visited New England during free agency, is signing a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills.” While Rapp’s name may be unfamiliar, the 25-year-old safety was a starting safety when the Rams won Super Bowl LVI, and went viral for proposing to his wife, Dani Rapp, on the field after the game.
According to Spotrac.com, Rapp was projected to receive a three-year, $30 million contract as a free agent. However, the safety market fell a bit flat this offseason, just ask Jordan Poyer, so it appears the Bills landed Rapp at a hefty discount. Especially since Buffalo only has approximately $9.8 million in cap space, per OverTheCap.com, and a large chunk of that needs to be reserved for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Buffalo Fanatics writer Kevin Siracuse tweeted, “We don’t know the contract details yet, but for the #Bills to get this former second round pick (who has yet to his peak in the NFL) for presumably way less $, that’s a STEAL.”
The Buffalo News reporter Jay Skurski tweeted, “Brandon Beane confirms the #Bills have plans to sign Taylor Rapp, although it won’t be official until he takes a physical (he’s currently on a trip to Hawaii with his wife). The deal will be less than $2 million per season, so as to not impact the compensatory draft pick formula.”
The 6-foot, 208-pounder was a full-time starter during the 2021 and 2022 NFL seasons. Over the past four years in Los Angeles, the Washington alum started 48 games, recording 330 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 5.0 quarterback hits. While the Rams struggled last season, he earned an overall 76.2 grade from Pro Football Focus, an impressive 82.3 in run defense, 72.9 in coverage, and 65.6 in pass rush.
Twitter had mixed reactions to the Bills adding Rapp. CBS Sports analyst Chris Trapasso tweeted, “Rapp’s a good, young safety. Jack of all trades. Doesn’t turn 26 until December. Didn’t see this move coming for Buffalo. Feels like a one-year player who #Bills will want to re-sign to a multi-year deal after the season as long-term solution at one of the safety spots.”
WROC-TV’s Thad Brown tweeted, “Former Rams 2nd round pick was 2021-22 starter. More in the box type. Good tackler. Not as good in coverage, but PFF has generally liked him. Real good depth move. Team had to rely on kids when Hyde/Poyer hurt last year. Not anymore.”
Rams podcaster Jake Ellebogen tweeted when asked his thoughts on the Rapp, “I was up and down with him. He has his moments that make you happy and he has his moments where you don’t want him starting. I always saw him as more of a pseudo linebacker and not just a straight up safety. Think Mark Barron with less pop and more ball skills. That’s what I think of Rapp. A good 3rd safety or dimebacker piece. I wouldn’t start him if I had the choice though.”
Rapp Adds Insurance at Safety
Before signing Rapp, it was largely assumed that general manager Brandon Beane would find insurance at the position by selecting a safety in the 2023 NFL Draft after losing Jaquan Johnson, the Bills’ former 2019 sixth-round pick, to the Las Vegas Raiders.
While the return of Jordan Poyer is a huge boost for the Buffalo Bills’ defense, especially knowing fellow All-Pro safety Micah Hyde will be healthy and ready to go, there’s a big question mark surrounding Damar Hamlin‘s status.
While adding Rapp could be seen as insurance for Hamlin, who still has a few big hurdles before his potential return, New York Upstate‘s Matt Parrino wrote, “This could be a backup plan for Hyde and Poyer, who both missed action last season and are both older than 30.”
The Bills Now Have 3 Rams Super Bowl Champs on the Roster
Rapp is the second Rams champ that Buffalo has picked up this offseason. Last week, the Bills signed former Rams guard David Edwards. Of course, both players will now be playing alongside their former teammate, superstar edge rusher Von Miller.
If the Bills end up landing free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason, the number of Rams Super Bowl champs on the roster will jump to four.
It’s good to see the Bills adding some “young blood” to the defense since Miller, Hyde, & Poyer are over 30 & appear to be injury prone.