Dec 26, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Tavon Austin (7) gains yards after a catch against the New York Jets during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Bills sign veteran WR Tavon Austin to one-year deal

The Buffalo Bills signed veteran wide receiver Tavon Austin to a one-year contract Friday.

A first-round pick (eighth overall) in 2013, the 32-year-old Austin is entering his 10th NFL season.

He caught 24 passes for 213 yards and one touchdown in 13 games (three starts) with Jacksonville in 2021.

Austin has 244 receptions for 2,239 yards and 16 touchdowns in 113 games (53 starts) with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams (2013-17), Dallas Cowboys (2018-19), Green Bay Packers (2020) and Jaguars.

He has also rushed for 1,361 yards and has career totals of 5,534 all-purpose yards and 29 touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Dec 23, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans offensive tackle David Quessenberry (72) celebrates after a win against the San Francisco 49ers at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Bills sign OL David Quessenberry to one-year deal

The Buffalo Bills signed free agent offensive lineman David Quessenberry to a one-year contract Thursday. Terms were not disclosed.

Quessenberry played the past three seasons with the Tennessee Titans after one season with the Houston Texans, who drafted him in the sixth round in 2013.

Quessenberry, 31, started all 17 games for the AFC South champion Titans last season, bringing his career totals to 35 games and 23 starts with Tennessee (2019-21) and Houston (2017).

He missed the 2013 campaign with a foot injury. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2014 and spent the next three seasons on the reserve/non-football illness list.

Quessenberry made his long-awaited NFL debut on Christmas Day in 2017 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. “It was everything I dreamed of when I was going through my treatments,” he said at the time.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills outside linebacker A.J. Klein (54) prior to the game against the New York Jets at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Bills release LB A.J. Klein to clear cap space

The Buffalo Bills released veteran linebacker A.J. Klein on Tuesday to free up some cap space.

The move will save the Bills $5.2 million against the salary cap in 2022 and will cost the club $400,000 in dead money.

Klein, 30, was entering the final season of a three-year, $18 million deal he signed with Buffalo as a free agent in March 2020.

He played 15 games (four starts) in 2021 and contributed 35 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery.

The former fifth-round draft pick has 449 tackles, 15.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles and four interceptions in 134 games (80 starts) with the Carolina Panthers (2013-16), New Orleans Saints (2017-19) and Bills.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA;  Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) during the second half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Within reach of playoffs, Bills host Falcons

The Buffalo Bills can punch their ticket to the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons Sunday when they host the Atlanta Falcons.

The Bills (9-6) can secure a berth in the postseason with a win over the Falcons (7-8) and either a loss or tie by the Baltimore Ravens or a combination of setbacks involving the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders.

Josh Allen is likely to play a significant role should Buffalo take care of matters on the field Sunday.

Allen threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns and added 64 rushing yards in the Bills’ 33-21 victory over the New England Patriots last Sunday. The win pulled Buffalo even with New England (9-6) in terms of record, with the Bills holding the tiebreaker due to their better record in division games.

Allen could have two key cogs back on Sunday with wideouts Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

“We’ve taken about as many precautions as you can take,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “So other than that, as I said last week, I’m not sure what else you can do. Really, the guys are only in for the most part for practice time other than treatments, for those needed.”

Tight end Dawson Knox has found the end zone four times in the last five weeks to boost his career-high touchdown total to nine this season. That matches top honors on the team with Stefon Diggs, who has found the end zone in back-to-back weeks.

Diggs was complimentary of Atlanta’s jack-of-all-trades Cordarrelle Patterson. The two were teammates in Minnesota for two seasons before Patterson ventured to the then-Oakland Raiders in free agency prior to the 2017 campaign.

“He’s probably the most talented person I’ve ever seen with the ball in his hand besides Adrian Peterson,” Diggs said of Patterson, who has career-high totals in rushing yards (579), receiving yards (523) and touchdowns from scrimmage (six rushing, five receiving).

“He’s up there — in my opinion because I played with him — with guys like Dalvin Cook and even those running backs. He’s like 6-2, 225 but he looks a little stronger than that. Our old coach, George Stewart, our receivers coach, used to say he’s too strong, too fast and too big. He’s one of those guys that’s extremely talented, can play all around the field and really just a generational talent.”

Patterson scored last Sunday as the Falcons collected their third win in five games with a 20-16 victory over the Detroit Lions. He has scored four touchdowns in those three victories.

Rookie Kyle Pitts had six receptions for 102 yards for the Falcons against the Lions, and fellow tight end Hayden Hurst reeled in the go-ahead 12-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan in the fourth quarter. The veteran Ryan is one touchdown pass shy of becoming the fifth quarterback with at least 20 TD passes in 13 straight seasons.

Hurst, however, joined defensive end Jonathan Bullard, safety Jaylinn Hawkins and offensive lineman Willie Beavers in being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday. Although Atlanta has 12 players on that list, coach Arthur Smith expressed optimism that some could return in time for Sunday’s game.

“Certainly you’re way more optimistic than you were,” Smith said. “It’s kind of ironic that we’re playing Buffalo. It was a different experience last year when we were with Tennessee playing Buffalo. The world was a different place.”

Falcons starting cornerback Fabian Moreau did not participate in Wednesday’s practice as he nurses an injury to his ribs.

Buffalo defensive tackle Vernon Butler and safety Jaquan Johnson did not participate in a walk-through practice on Wednesday due to illness. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was limited due to a knee injury.

–Field Level Media

Nov 25, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley (11) on the sidelines in the second half of their game against the New Orleans Saints at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Bills activate WR Cole Beasley, 3 others from COVID list

The Buffalo Bills activated wide receiver Cole Beasley and three other players from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday.

Beasley, fellow wideout Gabriel Davis, left guard Jon Feliciano and defensive end AJ Epenesa cleared health and safety protocols in time for Sunday’s game between the Bills (9-6) and visiting Atlanta Falcons (7-8).

All four players missed the 33-21 victory against the host New England Patriots in Week 16.

Beasley, who has been outspoken against the NFL’s vaccine mandate, tested positive on Dec. 21. He has reportedly racked up more than $100,000 in fines this season for violating the league’s COVID-19 protocols.

Beasley, 32, has 76 catches for 640 yards and one touchdown in 14 games this season.

Davis, 22, has 29 receptions for 470 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games.

Feliciano, 29, has started six of his seven games this season.

Epenesa, 23, has appeared in 12 games and registered 11 tackles and eight quarterback hits.

–Field Level Media