After four up-and-down seasons with the soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders, Hillsdale football alum Andre Holmes ‘11, is continuing his six-year-old career with the Buffalo Bills. Holmes, who had a base salary of $2 million in 2016, is earning a bit of a pay-raise with a three-year, $6.5 million contract.
“I texted Dre to congratulate him on his new contract a couple days [after his new contract was announced],” Hillsdale head football coach Keith Otterbein said.
If the season started today, Holmes would be the team’s No. 2 receiver behind Sammy Watkins.
“It was a great opportunity to compete,” Holmes said in an interview with The Western New York media.
Listed at 6‑foot‑4 and 210 pounds, the receiver’s size can be a difference maker in the red zone. In 2014, Holmes enjoyed a career year with 47 catches, 693 receiving yards, and four touchdowns. After being relegated to backup duties behind Michael Crabtree, Amari Cooper, and Seth Roberts in Oakland, however, his production dropped off.
The 28-year-old Hillsdale grad is the highest-profile addition to the Bills’ gutted receiving corps. His size combined with the vertical threat of Watkins could prove ruthless, given the downfield aggression of Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor and a new offensive play caller in Rick Dennison. Holmes may also prove an ace on special teams, as he ranked third on the Raiders with 9 special teams tackles last season. He also recovered a fumble following a muffed punt when Oakland visited Jacksonville in Week 7.
Holmes’ limited playoff experience also may be a positive to the Bills, as he led the Raiders in their playoff loss at Houston with four catches, 50 yards, and a touchdown. Holmes’ ability to be dependable on in high-pressure situations dates back to his senior year as a Charger, where he led the team with 16 catches in a 2010 playoff loss to St. Cloud State as a favorite target of then-Hillsdale quarterback Troy Weatherhead
Holmes originally entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie with the Minnesota Vikings and subsequently spent his first two seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. He then joined the Oakland Raiders in 2013 following an offseason as part of the New England Patriots’ practice squad.