Bills Star Absent From OTAs; Contract Holdout On The Horizon?

Bills Star Absent From OTAs; Contract Holdout On The Horizon?

Rasul Douglas skipped the open portion of Buffalo Bills voluntary organized team activities. Now all eyes are on mandatory minicamp, which kicks off June 11, to see whether the star cornerback makes an appearance.

 

WGR‘s Sal Capaccio reported the 29-year-old corner is the only member of the team’s 90-man roster who wasn’t accounted for during the recent OTA sessions viewable by the media:

 

 

He’s currently scheduled to play his first full season with the Bills after being acquired from the Green Bay Packers in an October trade.

 

Is Rasul Douglas Seeking A New Contract?

Douglas is entering the final campaign of a three-year, $21 million contract he signed with the Packers. It’s been a nomadic journey for the defensive back, who made stops with the Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, Las Vegas Raiders, Houston Texans, and Arizona Cardinals during the first five seasons of his NFL career.

 

His base salary for 2024 is just $1.25 million, and his $7.5 million in total cash for the upcoming season ranks 24th among the league’s cornerbacks, per Spotrac.

 

The West Virginia University product was terrific for Buffalo after arriving from Green Bay. He recorded 29 total tackles, eight passes defended, four interceptions, two fumbles recoveries, a sack, and a defensive touchdown across nine games. His Pro Football Focus grade for 2023 was a strong 82.2.

 

 

“If you make the play, ain’t nobody gonna say nothing,” Douglas said in January. “It’s like Steph Curry, like he can shoot all the crazy shots he wants, but if he’s making them, what are you gonna say as a coach? … [Butler], he allows me to play. He trusts that I watch film and the film he gives me to watch.”

 

Douglas Holds Leverage Due To Bills Depth Problems

Yes, the New Jersey native has the numbers to suggest he should receive a more lucrative contract, but Buffalo’s inability to add proven depth at corner puts even more pressure on the franchise’s front office to avoid a long-term holdout.

 

The Bills feature one of the NFL’s best cornerback trios with Douglas and Christian Benford on the outside and Taron Johnson in the slot. The depth chart behind them is a problem, though.

 

Kaiir Elam, who’s yet to live up to his billing as a first-round pick in the 2022 draft, would be the next man up for Buffalo. Ja’Marcus Ingram, Daequan Hardy, Kyron Brown, and Keni-H Lovely headline the other options.

 

Those players are all either untested or unproven. Taking some risks at corner was an option while Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer were teaming up as an elite safety duo. They’re both gone and there’s a lot more instability in the secondary as a result. Pro Bowl corner Tre’Davious White also departed during the offseason en route to the Los Angeles Rams.

 

In turn, Douglas can use the Bills’ defensive question marks to his advantage if he decides to embark on a holdout.

 

Other Potential Reasons For OTAs Absence

Although it seems like a contract-related situation on the surface, it’s still within reason to believe the eighth-year cornerback was away from the offseason program for a different reason.

 

Some veterans prefer to work out on their own during the summer in order to remain closer to their families or maintain a schedule with a personal trainer.

 

Douglas was also severely hampered by a knee injury during the latter stages of last season, including the team’s playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s possible he’s still working his way back to full strength ahead of training camp.

 

Any unexcused absences from mandatory minicamp result in fines, however, which means his attendance (or lack thereof) next week should paint a clearer picture of the situation.

 

 

Gideon Canice

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