Two of Buffalo's interior offensive linemen will be lining up for the Bills in 2012. Restricted free agents Kraig Urbik and Chad Rinehart signed their qualifying tender offers Monday ensuring they'll play for the club this coming season.
Urbik and Rinehart were tendered by the Bills earlier this offseason allowing the club to maintain the right of first refusal in the event another NFL team signed them to an offer sheet. That never happened as the deadline to sign players to offer sheets passed last Friday.
A former waiver claim of the Bills in 2010, Urbik won the starting right guard job last season, which was vacated by Eric Wood, who moved to the pivot as the starting center. Urbik made 13 starts last season, missing three due to injury, two early in the season and then the season finale at New England.
Urbik made six of those 13 starts at center after Wood was lost for the season with an ACL injury. Like Wood, Urbik also had to have knee surgery at the end of the season, but it was a far less invasive procedure than Wood's ACL repair. He's already full go for the offseason program and was participating on Monday.
Meanwhile Rinehart, who pushed Andy Levitre in training camp at left guard, made 12 starts in 2011 and appeared on all 16 games. Rinehart started in place of Urbik in Weeks 2 and 3 before starting at left guard in Weeks 8-11 while Levitre kicked out to left tackle due to injury. He them started at right guard the remainder of the season when Urbik moved inside to center to replace Wood.
Urbik enters the 2012 season as the incumbent starting right guard while Rinehart will again challenge for a starting role and at the very least serve as a valuable swing guard.