Bills re-sign star DE Jerry Hughes to two-year contract extension

05/21/2019
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According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the Buffalo Bills and defensive end Jerry Hughes have agreed to a two-year contract extension. The deal is worth $23 million, with $19.5 million guaranteed.

Jerry Hughes is the longest-tenured member of the Bills, having spent the last six seasons in Buffalo. A former first-round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts, the 31-year old was traded for linebacker Kelvin Sheppard after recording just five sacks in his first three years. Hughes refined his game upon joining the Bills in 2013, registering 10 sacks in his first season in Buffalo, in which he served as a rotational pass rusher. His production and role increasingly grew each year and the former TCU standout has solidified himself as a core member of the team.

The 2018 season was his best season to date. While he tallied just seven sacks to go along with 37 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles, analytics website Pro Football Focus graded him as the No.9-best edge defender in the NFL. He amassed 74 quarterback pressures and his 90.4 pass rush grade was the second-highest mark in the league. Jerry Hughes posted a 15.3 Pass Rush Productivity score, the highest among 4-3 defensive ends. Only four defensive ends had fewer pass rush snaps than Hughes’ 375, which makes his 74 pressures even more impressive.

Hughes was entering the final year of a five-year, $45 million contract, leading many to speculate about the veteran’s future in Buffalo. However, the contract extension put those concerns to rest, as it’s clear that the Bills’ front office envisions Jerry Hughes being a key part of Buffalo’s future success. It’s a fine move for the Bills, who still had ample salary cap space to work with following their ‘judicious’ approach to the offseason that saw them sign 18 new players.

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The Bills’ defensive line has high expectations heading into the 2019 NFL season following the selection of defensive tackle Ed Oliver with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. Hughes played at an elite level in 2018, but opposing offenses were well-aware that he was really the only defender they needed to account for on a play-by-play basis. Now, Oliver’s presence, along with the expected growth of fellow defensive ends Shaq Lawson and Trent Murphy, teams will need to be more honest with their blocking schemes, which should, in theory, free up Hughes to make an impact that shows up on the stat sheet.

In addition to his consistent quality play on the field, Jerry Hughes has not missed a game since joining Buffalo in 2013. His availability, consistency and high-effort play set a standard that the coaching staff clearly recognizes and wants their young players to model.

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