UPDATE: Andre Holmes has officially signed with the team.
The Buffalo Bills officially added another veteran wide receiver on Saturday as Andre Holmes agreed to a three-year deal, according to sources. The 28-year old pass catcher spent the last five seasons with the Oakland Raiders where he had his best performance in 2014, grabbing 47 receptions for 693 yards and four touchdowns.
Over the past two years, Holmes’ role in Oakland’s offense diminished with the arrivals of Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. He totaled 28 receptions for 327 receiving yards in that time (2015-16) but still managed to grab seven touchdowns. Despite the lack of recent production, there were reportedly multiple teams interested in signing the versatile veteran. Here are 5 need-to-know items about Buffalo Bills new receiver Andre Holmes:
Big Red Zone Target: It didn’t take long for GM Doug Whaley to find another big red zone target after former Bills receiver Justin Hunter, who caught four touchdowns in 2016, signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Andre Holmes stands 6’5, 210-pounds and caught all three of his touchdowns last year in the redzone. He also has decent speed with a 4.5s 40-yard dash time and will be a big target inside the 20 and more.
Looking for bigger role: After his breakout performance in 2014, Holmes probably figured to be in line for a nice jump in playing time. Instead, the Raiders added playmakers Crabtree and Cooper through free agency and pushed Andre down the depth chart. His decision on where to sign next reportedly came down to wanting more opportunities on offense, which should be readily available with the Bills thin receiving corps. I would expect him to be the favorite for the second WR spot alongside Sammy Watkins heading into training camp.
Excellent on Special Teams: The ability to play special teams is a common theme among most of the free agents Buffalo has added this offseason. Many of these players like Corey Brown, Mike Tolbert and now Andre Holmes figure to contribute heavily on teams and provide solid depth. Holmes is a talented gunner on the punt team and can play on kickoffs as well. That versatility is what coaches look for which Andre brings along with the ability to start at receiver.
Played some in slot: Typically, slot receivers are small, shifty players like Julian Edelman or Wes Welker before him. During his time with the Raiders, Holmes put in some work as a big slot receiver. He may be better suited out wide with the Bills, but having a 6’5 target that can burn in the middle of the field is intriguing and could cause matchup problems. It’ll be interesting to see where Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison thinks Holmes will fit best.
Affordable Contract: It feels like we’re constantly talking about good/bad deals or affordable contracts lately but with the hard salary cap in the NFL such is life. As expected, Holmes reportedly signed a relatively inexpensive three-year deal worth $4.5 Million to play in Buffalo. It seems like a good contract for the team as he can help fill some holes and compete for a starting job in the offense.