Bills Could Have Plans for Fan-Favorite WR After Roster Deadline Release

Brandon Beane, Sean McDermott

Getty Bills head coach Sean McDermott (R) with general manager Brandon Beane (L).

The Buffalo Bills are letting wide receiver Andy Isabella go on cutdown day but could still have plans for the veteran speedster in the upcoming season.

Ryan Talbot of reported on X (formerly Twitter) that the Bills were releasing the wide receiver on August 29, the deadline for teams to whittle down their rosters to 53 players. Isabella had joined the team late in the offseason after being released by the Baltimore Ravens on July 25.

Isabella had a strong showing in training camp and the preseason, flashing the 4.31-second 40-yard dash speed that was top among wide receivers in his draft class in 2019. Though it ultimately was not enough to earn him a roster spot, some insiders believe the Bills could have other plans for Isabella.

Andy Isabella Could Be a Top Practice Squad Candidate

Isabella’s departure from the team could be short-lived. Greg Tompsett, a reporter for Cover 1, predicted on August 23 that Isabella could be a top candidate to come back to the team within a day after the Bills placed another player on injured reserve.

Players who are placed on injured reserve prior to cutdown day must remain out the entire season, but teams can place other players on the list for more short-term stays after cutdown day, freeing up a roster spot that can be used to bring back a player who had just been cut. Because Isabella is a vested veteran, he is not subject to waivers and could return to the Bills immediately if they so choose.

NFL reporter Aaron Wilson also predicted that Isabella could return to Buffalo as a member of the practice squad, though could have offers from other teams after a strong preseason performance.

“Source: #Bills waiving Andy Isabella. Could be back for practice squad if he clears waivers. Kind of player that may draw interest elsewhere, though,” Wilson tweeted.

Isabella appeared to be highly valued by the Bills’ front office, with general manager Brandon Beane sharing praise for the hard work he put in after joining the team late in the summer.

“Beane said Andy Isabella has definitely put himself in the mix and moved ahead of guys who have been here longer since the spring because of his determination to learn the playbook and his execution,” tweeted Bradley Gelber, Bills reporter for USA Today. “Pretty high praise from the #Bills GM on the WR.”

Another Versatile WR Snags Roster Spot

The Bills made another decision at wide receiver on Tuesday, with The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia reporting that fifth-round pick Justin Shorter earned a spot on the final roster. Shorter flashed his versatility in the preseason, serving on special teams units along with his role in the offense.

Reporter Sal Capaccio of WGR 550 noted earlier in the day that Shorter would be on the roster bubble, but could hold an advantage over Isabella given his age and the fact that he would be subject to waivers.

“Justin Shorter is a tough one for me. Not sure they can keep all of [Khalil] Shakir/Isabella/Shorter,” Capaccio tweeted. “The investment on Shorter (5th rd this year) and fact he’s subject to waivers if released probably gives him an edge, but same is basically true of Shakir (which goes back to previous point above).”

Read More