One of the most significant issues the Buffalo Bills needed to address this offseason was finding a better way to protect quarterback Josh Allen. The offensive line has been a weak spot over the years, and general manager Brandon Beane recently made a flurry of moves to rectify that issue.
While one of Buffalo’s first offseason decisions was to re-sign guard Ike Boettger, the 6-foot-6 Iowa alum now looks to be the odd man out after the Bills went on to sign former Dallas Cowboys guard Connor McGovern to a three-year, $23 million deal, and former Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl champ, David Edwards, who can play both left and right guard.
The Bills also drafted Florida guard O’Cyrus Torrence in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, who’s expected to be an immediate starter, and The Buffalo News‘ analyst Jay Skurski believes that the 28-year-old veteran will be edged out. Skurski predicts the offensive line suiting up in Week 1 will be McGovern, Edwards, Torrence, Dion Dawkins, Mitch Morse, Ryan Bates, Spencer Brown, David Quessenberry, and Tommy Doyle.
“Beane has really added to the depth up front, particularly on the interior, by signing McGovern and Edwards in free agency, re-signing Boettger and drafting Torrence in the second round,” Skurski explained. “It’s a bit less settled on the outside, where Dawkins and Brown are the projected starters. Quessenberry is penciled in as the No. 3 tackle. Can Tommy Doyle, who tore his ACL in Week 3 last season, push him for that job in training camp?
“Boettger is one of the toughest cuts in this projection. He’s a favorite in the locker room and should be back to 100% after suffering a torn Achilles tendon in December 2021 – an injury that basically cost him all of last season. Broeker, a seventh-round draft pick last week out of Ole Miss, does have some experience playing tackle, so that might aid him in a push for a roster spot.”
Ike Boettger Returned to Play in 1 Game Last Season
The idea of Boettger failing to make the 53-man roster is tough considering the journey he’s been through over the past two seasons. Boettger missed most of last year after getting injured in Week 16 of the 2021 season. Just minutes into the second quarter of the Bills’ 33-21 win over the New England Patriots, Boettger was pushed backward while trying to block defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale. The guard tried to walk forward before he started hopping on his right foot and falling to the ground.
The next day, MRI results revealed Boettger tore his left Achilles tendon and would require season-ending surgery. Before getting injured, Boettger had made 15 game appearances (10 starts) and earned a 59.8 overall grade from Pro Football Focus for the 2021 NFL season.
After completing his rehab, Boettger was removed from the PUP list and participated in one game last season. In Week 16, he played six snaps during Buffalo’s 35-13 win over the Chicago Bears.
Boettger was pumped to rejoin the team. “Now I can just kind of get into my process and try to get a little routine down,” Boettger said. “Just try to progress and get back to being able to help the guys if they need me.”
Bills QB Josh Allen Called Ike Boettger a ‘King’
One person who will definitely miss having Boettger around should he fail to make the final roster is Allen. “He’s a king. I freaking love Ike,” Allen said of Boettger. “I don’t think you can find one guy in the world that has a bad thing to say about Ike. The ultimate, ultimate team guy. I know he’s had quite a bit of a journey to get back to where he’s at right now.”
The 2023 NFL season will mark Boettger’s sixth year with the Bills.