Two days ago Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley told the media it was unlikely the team would add any further bodies to the roster before training camp officially began Sunday evening. Just hours before their first practice, the Bills signed a pair of free agent offensive linemen who have a legitimate shot at competing for roster spot.
The team announced the signing of guard/center Antoine Caldwell and tackle Tony Hills.
A former star lineman at the University of Alabama, Caldwell was a third-round pick by the Houston Texans in 2009. Caldwell has appeared in 40 NFL games over the past three seasons, including 19 as a starter. Jones had been unsigned since the start of free agency after struggling in 2012 as starting guard in Houston before getting injured and permanently losing his starting spot to Ben Jones.
Hill is a tackle Whaley is familiar with. He was drafted in the fourth-round by the Pittsburgh Steelers while Whaley was a part of their staff. Hill spent three seasons with Pittsburgh before spending 2011 in Denver and last year with Indianapolis. He’s only played in eight NFL games, with five coming last year with the Colts.
This means Buffalo begins camp this evening with 88 players on the roster; a list that includes holdout Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd.
MY TAKE: The Caldwell signing in particular could prove to be significant as not only will he be in the mix to make the roster, but could prove to be serious competition with Colin Brown and Doug Legursky for the starting left guard job. Hills could face a more uphill battle to stick around as he’ll be in competition mainly Sam Young (and possibly even Erik Pears) for a bottom of the roster spot.