Looking to bolster the offensive tackle depth, the Buffalo Bills signed Germaine Ifedi on Wednesday. Reports surfaced Tuesday night, hours after cut downs that Ifedi visited with the team which turned into him signing with the Bills.
Ifedi has had stops in Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta, and Detroit since becoming a first-round selection in 2016 out of Texas A&M. He has shown to be fairly durable with 83 starts and 102 games under his belt and several notable injuries.
Below is the publicly reported injury history for Germain Ifedi and any concerns moving forward.
2016 Seattle Seahawks
High-ankle sprain, side not specified, prior to Week 1, missed 3 games.
Just prior to making his NFL debut, Ifedi suffered a high-ankle sprain in the Wednesday practice prior to Week 1. As high ankles typically take some time to rehab from, he missed three games which isn’t uncommon.
High-ankle sprain, side not specified, Divisional Round vs Atlanta Falcons.
Ifedi suffered yet another high-ankle sprain, this time against the Falcons in the divisional round of the playoffs. It’s not clear whether this was the same ankle from the beginning of the season, but he noted how this injury happened on one of the first running plays in the game in the first quarter. He attempted to return but was unable to push off his leg enough to make a notable difference in blocking. The Seahawks would go on to lose that game 36-20.
No publicly reported injuries.
Off-season core muscle repair.
After not getting his fifth-year option picked up by Seattle in 2019, Ifedi discussed in a press conference how he didn’t have a reaction to their decision. He would end up playing out the four-year contract before moving on in free agency. However, he did note how he had sports hernia surgery or a core muscle repair prior to the 2018 season and that he had never been healthier.
Groin, Week 15, missed 1 game.
Ifedi sat out the Week 16 contest against the Kansas City Chiefs with a groin injury sustained in the prior week. It’s unclear whether this was related to his core muscle repair during the off-season.
Knee, side not specified, Week 7, missed 0 games.
Ifedi was questionable heading into Week 8 with a knee injury but ultimately played in 100 percent of the offensive snaps that week.
2020 Chicago Bears
Triceps, side not specified, prior to Week 1, missed 0 games.
He was questionable heading into Week 1 against the Detroit Lions but played in 100 percent of the offensive snaps.
COVID, Week 9, missed 0 games.
Ifedi was identified as a high-risk close contact with fellow teammate Jason Spriggs and was placed on the COVID reserve list. Fortunately, he continued to test negative and was able to play in Week 9.
Calf, side not specified, Week 12, missed 0 games.
He suffered a calf injury in Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers that saw him receive a questionable designation heading into Week 13 against the Detroit Lions. Once again, he played in 100 percent of offensive snaps.
Hip flexor strain, side not specified, preseason, started on PUP.
During a conditioning drill prior to training camp, Ifedi suffered a hip flexor strain that caused him to miss most of training camp, spending nearly a month on the PUP. He slowly worked back into the offensive line rotation after returning on August 23 and was able to be ready in Week 1 to play in every offensive snap.
Left knee injury, Week 5, placed on IR, missed 8 games.
Ifedi suffered a left knee injury late in the second quarter against the Raiders when a defensive lineman was shoved into the outside of his left knee. Looking at the film of that game, the mechanism suggested at least an MCL sprain and potential lateral meniscus tear. No official reports came out as to the extent of the damage, but missing eight games would support this theory. There were also no reports of surgery during this time frame.
Unfortunately, he was placed on the COVID reserve list during his IR stint in late October, though that did not appear to lengthen his stay.
When he did return, he was able to play in every offensive snap for the following two games but did not start, playing only on special teams the final two games.
2022 Atlanta Falcons
No publicly reported injuries.
Only appeared in eight offensive snaps during the season as the swing tackle but saw game action in 17 games mostly on special teams.
2023 Detroit Lions
Ifedi signed with the Lions in mid-May after his release from the Falcons, spending training camp with them. He played in three preseason games and there were not any publicly reported injuries. He was released Sunday to give him a head start on finding a new team.
Buffalo Bills Injury Outlook
A former first-round pick who hasn’t quite lived up to his draft status, Brandon Beane loves getting talent discounts where he can. Ifedi has been serviceable and fairly durable, missing only 12 games in his seven-year career, eight of those due to the left knee and three due to his high-ankle sprain.
Looking at the injuries, the only concern I have is his left knee. There were not any reports of surgery and he has not played extensively since 2021. However, he also played the swing tackle last year and did not see a lot of time due to Jake Matthews and Kaleb McGary staying healthy.
If he stays on the right side, his left knee will stay inside which means he needs to pivot and post to keep his block outside. He can likely pass a physical, but will his knee give him problems throughout the year? It would not surprise me if he has some lingering arthritic changes or residual meniscal damage within the area.
If the left knee checks out and he does not have any lingering issues from his time with the Lions, then this is a solid signing. Ifedi can bring a lot of veteran experience to the offensive line room and play in a pinch.
He has a ton of experience playing on the right side of the line which is important as there still are questions regarding Spencer Brown. The team has also seen its offensive line depth hit hard by the injury to Tommy Doyle and the retirement of Brandon Shell. Ifedi appears to still have something left in the tank and should be a suitable depth option moving forward at either the right or left side.
Considering Ifedi is one of the better tackles on the free agent market, this is what is available at a low-cost option without giving up assets. There were certainly lesser talented options available and the hope is that Ifedi does not have to see extended playing time this season.
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