Bills Can Instantly Fix Roster Void By Signing 3-Time Pro Bowl CB: Analyst

Xavier Rhodes

Getty Xavier Rhodes #27 of the Indianapolis Colts intercepts the ball intended for Lawrence Cager #86 of the New York Jets during the second quarter in at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 27, 2020.

The Buffalo Bills‘ revamped roster for the 2022 NFL season is nearly complete heading into training camp, however, there’s always room for improvement. While the Bills filled one of their biggest holes by selecting cornerback Kaiir Elam with their first-round draft pick, Tre’Davious White’s return date remains a major question mark.

In order to instantly fix that void, Pro Football Focus analyst Doug Kyed urged the Bills to sign three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who’s officially a free agent after spending the last two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.

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“The Bills have All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White coming off a torn ACL, and 2022 first-round pick Kaiir Elam is projected to start on the other side of the field with Taron Johnson in the slot,” Kyed wrote. “Buffalo lacks veteran depth at cornerback, and Rhodes, 32, was still effective over the past two seasons, generating a 74.8 coverage grade.”

If Rhodes were to come to Buffalo, the nine-year veteran would already have a few familiar faces in the building. The former No. 25 overall pick from the 2013 NFL Draft spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Minnesota Vikings, and joining the Bills would reunite him with former teammates Stefon Diggs and Case Keenum.


Rhodes Is Much More Affordable Than Fellow Pro Bowl CB Joe Haden

Joe Haden

GettyJoe Haden #23 of the Pittsburgh Steelers takes the field prior to facing the Seattle Seahawks at Heinz Field on October 17, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The Bills currently have just over $5.6 million in cap space, per OverTheCap.com, which greatly limits the kind of moves the Bills’ front office can make this offseason. While numerous reports have linked Buffalo to possibly adding three-time Pro Bowler Joe Haden, the former Steelers cornerback would have to agree to a pay cut in order to join the Bills.

“Haden earned an average annual salary of $11.2 million on his last deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox reported on June 27, “and is still likely to command $7-9 million per year on the open market.”

As for Rhodes, he signed a one-year $4.7 million deal with the Colts last season, which financially speaking, puts him right in the Bills’ wheelhouse. Due to his age, and recent slew of short-term deals, it also seems unlikely that he’d demand a multi-year contract.

The 6-foot-1, 218-pound cornerback started all 13 games he appeared in last season, recording 39 tackles, 32 solo stops, and one interception, per Pro Football Reference.


The Bills Could Use a Veteran CB To Immediately Start Alongside Elam

While Bills’ defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said he expects Elam to be ready to serve as a starter “right away,” having an experienced player like Rhodes on the field alongside the rookie could offer him invaluable guidance.

For the same reasons Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton urged the Bills to sign Haden back in May, is exactly why Rhodes could be Buffalo’s man. “Expecting 2022 first-round pick Kaiir Elam to be ready for stardom in his first year is unrealistic,” Wharton wrote, and adding a veteran presence like Rhodes could offer the Bills’ backfield a huge boost to start the season.

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