While the 2023 Pro Bowl caused a stir when they revamped this year’s showcase into an eight-part skills competition and a non-contact flag football game, the event’s recent selection of replacement players enraged fans and analysts on Twitter, in particular, the addition of Buffalo Bills left guard Rodger Saffold.
On Monday, January 30, it was revealed that Saffold would replace Colts guard Quenton Nelson on the AFC roster, a move that was met with immediate backlash. Democrat & Chroncicle‘s Bills analyst Sal Maiorana tweeted, “If you were ever wondering how much of a joke the Pro Bowl is, Rodger Saffold being added to the AFC roster should confirm it. He was literally one of the worst guards in the NFL this season. Laughable.”
A Bills fan account wrote, “You know the Pro Bowl don’t mean s*** when they add Rodger Saffold to the roster 🤣🤣,” while Cover 1 host Aaron Quinn tweeted, “Saffold being in the pro bowl is all I need to see to never use pro bowl as a benchmark for any kind of point you are attempting to make. I literally just called him the Bills biggest disappointment in 2022 last night.”
Talking Buffalo host Patrick Moran called Saffold’s selection “egregious,” while SB Nation‘s Bruce Nolan tweeted, “Wut.”
While no one questions that Saffold was worthy of his Pro Bowl honor last year, as the former Titans guard helped make Tennesse the fifth-ranked rushing offense in the league, and he earned a 69.3 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. However, after signing with the Bills, the 34-year-old saw a massive drop in production.
Saffold earned a 43.7 overall grade for the 2022 NFL season from PFF and ranked as the 74th best out of 78 guards in the NFL.
Saffold Made It Clear That He Wants to Return to Buffalo Next Season
Back in early December, the Bills’ starting left guard sent a strong message on Twitter and attempted to tag Brandon Beane for him to read, however, the team’s general manager doesn’t have an account on the social media app. He tweeted, “I’ll do whatever I gotta do to stay in Buffalo @brandonbeane17 ,” before adding a promotional stat, “0 sacks in 12 games let’s goooooo!!!!”
However, the Bills’ offensive line failed in protecting quarterback Josh Allen in the postseason. Allen was sacked seven times during the Bills’ 34-31 win over the Miami Dolphins in the Wild Card round and while he was only sacked once against the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Divisional Playoff game, the O-line allowed eight hits on the team’s $258 million star.
The veteran spent the first nine years of his career with the Rams before signing with the Titans in 2019, where he played for three seasons. The Bills signed the veteran guard to a one-year, $6.25 million contract with the Bills in March 2022, which means he’ll once again become a free agent this offseason.
After the Bills’ journey to the Super Bowl was cut short, Saffold reiterated his desire to remain in Orchard Park. The Athletic‘s Joe Buscaglia tweeted on January, 23, “Saffold said he intends to play, in 2023 and wants to be back in Buffalo next season. He mentioned he’s not trying to break the bank, he just wants what’s fair for his age and ability. Wants to do what he can to make it work in Buffalo.”
If the Indiana alum is willing to take a pay cut for next season, there’s a good chance he’ll be back. tweeted after being named to the Pro Bowl on January 30, “I can’t wait to prove everyone wrong next year…”
7 Bills Players Will Participate in the 2023 Pro Bowl
After Allen backed out from the Pro Bowl in order to play golf at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, there will be a total of seven players representing the Bills at the 2023 Pro Bowl in Las Vegas.
Saffold will be joined by tight end Dawson Knox, who’s taking over for Chiefs star Travis Kelce, and Dion Dawkins, who was named as the replacement for Chiefs tackle Orlando Brown.
Wide receiver Stefon Diggs will participate in his third Pro Bowl this weekend, while linebacker Matt Milano, safety Jordan Poyer, and center Mitch Morse will make their first appearance. Peyton Manning will be acting as head coach for the AFC roster, while the NFC’s team will be led by Eli Manning.