Buffalo Bills: Retirement of Incognito highlights offensive line woes

ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 29: Richie Incognito
ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 29: Richie Incognito /

No matter how people perceive Richie Incognito the person, his retirement is a major loss for the Buffalo Bills’ offense.

The Buffalo Bills suffered an unexpected turn of events on Tuesday. Richie Incognito is apparently finished with football.

The surprise retirement was confirmed by Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News. Carucci reported that Incognito told him he had informed Bills owner Terry Pegula, general manager Brandon Beane and coach Sean McDermott that he was retiring.

Part of the 34-year-old’s reason for retiring relates to his health. As per WGR 550‘s Brayton Wilson, he indicated his liver and kidneys are shutting down and he is struggling with the stress.

However, you have to wonder if Incognito’s contract situation also played some part. Just last week he fired his agent, due to his unhappiness with a pay cut.

The reduction would have seen the Englewood, New Jersey native’s base salary drop from $6.325 million to $3.65 million. As a result, he announced the firing of his agent on Twitter.

Now we can debate the values of Incognito as a human being all day long. However, regardless of your perception of him, his retirement is still a big loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Since arriving in Western New York, the 2005 third round draft pick has been a mainstay on the Bills’ offensive line. He didn’t miss a game in three seasons and made the Pro Bowl each year.

The loss of Incognito also highlights an overall problem for the offensive line. Eric Wood was forced to retire and the team traded away Cordy Glenn, in order to move up in the draft.

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While Glenn and Wood missed playing time over the two previous seasons, they were still key contributors on the offensive line. Along with Incognito, they helped the rushing attack rank first in the NFL in 2015 and 2016. (Even last season, the Bills still ranked sixth on the ground.)

With all this in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise LeSean McCoy has attempted to persuade Incognito to return. McCoy took to Instagram and said he would pay him $300,000, if he returned and helped him reach 1,500 yards.

Interestingly, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King said Incognito might return for one last season at the right price. However, when Carucci asked the guard about changing his mind, he said there was no chance.

At this stage, all the four-time Pro Bowler is concerned about, is becoming a Hall of Famer. Fair or not, you know this possibility will be influenced by the bullying scandal in Miami, regardless of how productive he was during his 11-year career.

As for the Bills, how will the loss of three offensive line starters impact their approach towards the upcoming draft? While they have two first round draft picks, it is common knowledge they are attempting to move up and draft a franchise quarterback.

If the team remains at 12 (and 22) and non of the main QB options are left, would they consider drafting an offensive lineman? If they do, Tony Rosati suggested the highly touted and versatile Mike McGlinchey.

The only issue with this is that McGlinchey is a tackle, so wouldn’t be a direct replacement for Incognito, even though he would provide an excellent boost for the offensive line in general. As things stands, the position at left guard would theoretically be taken by John Miller or Ryan Groy.

Next: 4 non-QB 1st round draft prospects for the Bills

What’s your take on Incognito’s retirement? Is it a blessing in disguise, or should the Buffalo Bills attempt to restructure his deal again and get him back on board? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.