Bills’ Signing of $23M Ex-Cowboys G Named One of NFL’s ‘Worst Contracts’

Connor McGovern

Getty Connor McGovern celebrates with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.

The Buffalo Bills have done some work this offseason to bring better protection for quarterback Josh Allen, but one of their biggest moves is running into some criticism.

The Bills landed former Dallas Cowboys guard Connor McGovern in one of their first big moves in free agency, signing the 25-year-old to a 3-year, $23-million contract. McGovern was seen as an upgrade to the interior of the Bills offensive line, a weak point last season especially in the playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. As the team noted, McGovern was a 15-game starter for the Cowboys last season and had a pass block win rate of 93.1%, allowing just two sacks all season.

But the analysis outlet Pro Football Network noted a major deficiency in McGovern’s run blocking, calling his contract one of the NFL’s worst.

Bills Blasted for Signing

The report stated that the Bills would have been better off signing the other NFL offensive lineman with the same name, New York Jets center Connor McGovern, who has a contract with an average annual value of $7.5 million.

Instead, the Bills landed a guard with a spotty record as a run blocker, the report added.

“But the Connor McGovern that played for the Cowboys has not been quite as successful,” the outlet noted. “McGovern was a capable pass blocker last year and played that role at an above-replacement level, but he has always been an enormous liability as a run blocker. Not only that, his success as a pass protector was largely limited to one season, allowing defenders to quickly win off the snap and forcing the quarterback to scramble or get rid of the ball quickly.”

The outlet noted that McGovern’s contract has a $3.6-million cap hit in the first year, then “explodes to a functionally guaranteed second-year cap hit of $7.5 million and hits $8 million in Year 3 — an unguaranteed year but a difficult one to cut because he would incur $4 million in dead cap space.”

Bills Could Have Big Role Planned for Connor McGovern

McGovern is expected to compete for a starting job in Buffalo, with‘s Matt Parrino writing that he is a likely replacement for former guard Rodger Saffold, who became a free agent after joining the team on a one-year contract last offseason.

“The 34-year-old [Saffold] is a free agent and the Bills likely saw an opportunity to upgrade at the position with 25-year-old McGovern, who can also play center in a pinch,” Parrino wrote.

The Bills could also have some creative uses for McGovern, who sometimes played a hybrid role with the Cowboys that saw him lined up in the backfield. Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy had offered praise for McGovern, saying he had the athleticism to move beyond the offensive line.

“Great guy. Hard worker,” McCarthy said, via WGR 550 reporter Sal Capaccio on Twitter. “He’s an ascending player. He did a heck of a job for us. He’s versatile. He played fullback. He played tight end. He’s very athletic. I think his best days are in front of him.”
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