Injury Analysis: Buffalo Bills OT Will Clapp

Injury Analysis: Buffalo Bills OT Will Clapp
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 16: Will Clapp #76 of the Los Angeles Chargers runs onto the field during player introductions before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys at SoFi Stadium on October 16, 2023 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images)

The Buffalo Bills remain active in free agency finding valuable depth in signing OL Will Clapp to a one-year deal on Friday. 

The veteran lineman has had stops in New Orleans and Los Angeles appearing in 65 games with 21 starts over six seasons. Clapp has played nearly all over the line with most of his work at center and guard but has also seen some work out wide as a jumbo tight end early in his career. 

As with many football players, Clapp does have several injuries throughout his career that are worth investigating. 

Below is Will Clapp’s publicly reported injury history and concerns. 

Injury History

2018 New Orleans Saints

No publicly reported injuries. 

2019 Saints

Hand injury, Week 3, missed 1 game.

Clapp missed his first NFL game when he suffered a hand injury in Week 3 that forced him to miss the following game against the Dallas Cowboys. There is not any additional information about the injury other than this limited his ability to play jumbo tight end mainly used as an extra blocker. 

Back injury, Week 12, missed 0 games. 

Clapp was limited in practice following a back injury in Week 12 that left him questionable heading into Week 13. He saw 12 snaps total that game, six on offense and six on special teams. 

Elbow injury, Week 13, missed 1 game. 

Playing through the back injury, Clapp possibly picked up an elbow injury the following week that saw him miss Week 14 after being designated as questionable. He appeared to either injure it in practice that Thursday or it wasn’t an issue until then. No additional details are available. 

2020 Saints

COVID, Divisional round, missed 1 game.

Clapp tested positive for COVID prior to the divisional round game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

2021 Saints

Undisclosed injury, placed on IR, missed 3 games. 

Clapp suffered an undisclosed injury during training camp that forced the Saints to carry him on the active roster following cut downs before placing him on injured reserve. He spent the minimum three games out before returning in Week 4. As for the exact injury, multiple sources report it as undisclosed, preventing further analysis. 

2022 Los Angeles Chargers

No publicly reported injuries.

2023 Chargers

Knee injury, Week 11, missed 0 games. 

Clapp briefly had to leave the game versus the Green Bay Packers in Week 11, but did not miss any offensive snaps. 

Knee injury, Week 15, placed on injured reserve, missed 3 games.

Clapp suffered a knee injury, possibly on the left side, in the blowout loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 15. The injury was severe enough even in a lost season for the Chargers to place him on injured reserve, ending his season. It’s not clear whether the knee injury in Week 11 was related to this injury. 

Injury Analysis

While Clapp has missed 9 games over his six seasons, nothing really stands out as a major concern moving forward. Many of the injuries appear to be isolated in nature and nothing seemed as though it lingered. The biggest worry would be the knee injury from last season, but if it was a multi-week injury, there wasn’t any reason to keep him on the active roster if he wouldn’t even be close to returning.

Due to his depth role, time is not typically spent by reporters detailing his exact injuries which makes fully understanding and discussing his injuries more difficult. 

From an injury analysis standpoint, it is frustrating not knowing what the undisclosed injury was, but from my observations, teams often use that designation to protect information with younger players who suffer injuries. This was possibly done to prevent another team from potentially poaching him later should the Saints need to cut him and he could slip through waivers. This is what they later did that season and fortunately, he did not get picked up elsewhere. 

This is a fine depth signing that provides versatility on the offensive line. He brings plenty of starting and game experience should injuries occur. With the trade of Ryan Bates, this allows the Bills to bring in a versatile lineman that can step in at a moment’s notice. 

Clapp doesn’t exactly move the needle in terms of an impactful signing, but he doesn’t bring any notable injury concerns to Buffalo. He has the opportunity to make the roster as a depth option for 2024 and contribute if called upon. 

Top Photo Credit: Ryan Kang/Getty Images