Bills add to offensive line depth by signing ex-Chargers guard Forrest Lamp
Based on what the Buffalo Bills have done in addressing their offensive line over the past month, it’s clear they believe in the group of five that will, in all likelihood, be starting on opening day.
In that same vein, it’s also obvious that they know this is an area of the team that was lacking in depth across the board at the end of 2020, and they have made several free agent moves in the past month to, at the very least, create some interesting competition in training camp.
The latest signing came Wednesday morning when former Chargers guard Forrest Lamp agreed to a one-year contract. That came on the heels of the earlier signings of former Bengals tackle Bobby Hart, and former Titans lineman Jamil Douglas.
Lamp was a second-round pick of the Chargers in 2017 out of Western Kentucky. He sat out his entire rookie season with a knee injury, then was a backup for the next two years, getting into nine games — he broke his leg in 2019 — with two starts before becoming the full-time starter at left guard in 2020, playing on every offensive snap.
That said, the 6-foot-4, 310-pounder wasn’t exactly stellar, at least according to Pro Football Focus which laid some fairly ugly blocking grades on him last season. Of the 12 guards who played at least 80 percent of the snaps, he graded out 11th overall and 12th in run blocking.
The Bills didn’t have a guard who played at least 50 percent of the snaps, but in the snaps they received, Ike Boettger, Jon Feliciano, Cody Ford and Brian Winters all graded ahead of Lamp per PFF.
Lamp will join the competition at guard along with Douglas, Boettger, Jordan Devey and Ryan Bates. Hart will battle for a backup tackle spot with Trey Adams with Bates also in that mix.
As for the starting group, Dion Dawkins was signed to a long-term extension prior to 2020 and is locked in at left tackle. Cody Ford, the 2019 second-round pick, is expected to regain the starting left guard position after he sat out the second half of last season with an injury.
The Bills were rumored to be considering releasing center Mitch Morse to save some money but instead restructured his contract to keep him around, and then they re-signed pending unrestricted free agents Feliciano and Daryl Williams.
That was supposed to be the starting five last season, but that group never played a single snap together.
Sal Maiorana can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @salmaiorana.