Bills land kick return specialist Roberts
Led league in kickoff and punt return yards
The Buffalo Bills made a big move Wednesday night to give their special teams a boost.
The team has signed wide receiver/kick returner Andre Roberts, according to a report from ESPN’s Dianna Russini.
Pro Bowl returner Andre Roberts is signing with the Buffalo Bills per sources. He was selected for both the All-Pro and Pro Bowl teams in recognition of his work as a kick returner last season with the Jets
Roberts made the Pro Bowl and was a first-team All-Pro last season as a return man for the New York Jets, leading the NFL in kickoff return yardage. He had 40 returns for 1,174 yards (29.4 yards per return), including a 99-yard touchdown. Roberts doubles as an elite punt returner, as well, averaging 14.1 yards per return in 2018 to tie for the NFL lead. He also had a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown. During his career, Roberts has just three muffed punts on 196 return attempts.
“I don’t know too many returners in this league that are dual returners that have done what he’s done this year,” Jets special teams coach Brant Boyer told the New York Daily News late in the 2018 season. “You have some guys that are slightly better on kick return or whatever. But if you look at the dual stats and what he’s done this year, I don’t think there’s a better returner in the game.”
The Bills never could figure out their return game last year, ranking 21st in the NFL in punt-return average and 24th in kickoff returns.
Against the Bills in December, Roberts had 176 kickoff-return yards on five attempts, including an 86yard return. According to NFL’s NextGen Stats, Roberts reached 20plus miles per hour on 9.3 percent of his touches in 2018, the third-highest percentage in the league.
Roberts, 31, has bounced around the NFL. The Bills will be his fifth team in the past five seasons, and sixth overall since being a thirdround draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2010. Roberts is the third wide receiver signed in free agency by the Bills, joining John Brown and Cole Beasley in what has quickly become a crowded room.
Andre Roberts, then with the Jets, runs in for a touchdown on a punt return against the Detroit Lions in the 2018 season opener.