The Buffalo Bills have filled their lone remaining spot on the active roster. Looking perhaps for more punch on kickoff returns, the Bills have signed former Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots wide receiver Brandon Tate to a free agent contract Tuesday.
Tate, 28, is in his eight season in the National Football League and was released by the Bengals after five seasons of service with the team. The Bills had room on the roster after fullback Dan Vitale -- the player they claimed from waivers over the weekend -- failed his physical and was subsequently released from the team.
Tate has only 57 career receptions in seven total games, and has carved out a niche as a special teams player over the past five seasons.
Joe B.'s Take
This move will have little to no effect on the offense as it stands today. Sammy Watkins is still the top wideout, Robert Woods is cemented as the number two receiver, and Marquise Goodwin is firmly number three. This move is clearly less about the position Tate plays on offense, and more about what he does on special teams.
Over the past five seasons, Tate has served as both the punt and kick returner for the Cincinnati Bengals -- which is likely why the Bills brought him to Buffalo in the first place. The Bills initially brought in Reggie Bush to return punts, and while he's a proven commodity there, he's had a slow start in that role with Buffalo.
On kick returns, Walt Powell is one of the team's best options -- before Tate, that is -- and it was part of the reason he was kept on the 53-man roster to begin with. Tate, at the very least, provides some competition for Powell at kick returner, and some insurance at punt returner in case Bush flops in that role.