The Buffalo Bills have one final week to evaluate their roster before going from 90 to 53 players. Perhaps the biggest remaining battle features the wide receiver position as three notable pass-catchers are fighting for one or two spots.
Andre Roberts, Isaiah McKenzie, and Duke Williams head into the preseason finale with no guarantees of being in Buffalo when the week is over.
While McKenzie and Williams have flashed in the first three weeks, the punt and kick return ability of Roberts has many vouching for the veteran to be prioritized over the other two.
When deciding who to keep of these three, how much should the return game factor into the evaluation process?
Should Roberts be a lock with his track record as a Pro Bowl return man?
Just a year ago, Andre Roberts represented the AFC in the Pro Bowl as a return specialist after taking both a punt return and kick return to the end zone in 2018.
Will the Bills keep Andre Roberts? Most likely.
Is hanging on to Duke Williams and Isaiah McKenzie a smarter investment? Yes.
Roberts is a very productive returner. However, the options the Bills have in that area without him, the lack of production on offense over the last five seasons, and the limited opportunities kick returners get during a game make the other two receivers more attractive options.
From the 2017 regular season to the 2018 regular season, the NFL saw kickoff return attempts go down from 1,036 to 970. That is 66 less returns.
On offense, Zay Jones and Robert Foster are still surrounded with question marks. To have a few more young, promising options that could turn into reliable targets for Josh Allen is more important than having a great kick returner.