When the Buffalo Bills signed defensive end Trent Murphy to a three-year, $22.5 million deal with $10.375 million in guaranteed money last year, many expected the former second-round draft pick to be a difference-maker on the team’s defensive line. Despite suffering a severe left knee injury in preseason that forced him to miss the entire 2017 season, Murphy was expected to return to the form by which he tallied 46 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, nine sacks, 25 QB hits, one pass breakup and three forced fumbles in 2016.
But that wasn’t the case. In his first season with the Bills, Trent Murphy played in 13 games, making 10 starts. He recorded just 24 tackles, five tackles for loss, four sacks, nine QB hits, one pass breakup and two forced fumbles. But Murphy was dealing with lingering issues from the knee injury that resulted in other complications due to compensating for his ailing left leg.
Last month, Murphy discussed his disappointing season with John Wawrow of The Associated Press, explaining that he was happy with his decision to play through the pain, even if his season output didn’t meet the standards he had set for himself.
“Yeah, that wasn’t an option for me. I’m not waiting to get better next year. It was today, today. Now,” he added. “It was tough for sure, but I’m happy I fought through it.”
He went on to express his gratitude for his current situation as he puts 2018 in the rear view mirror.
“To be able to contrast that process and be where I’m at now, I’ve got a different attitude, I’m a different dude, I feel way better,” Murphy said. “It’s like night and day.”
Buffalo began mandatory minicamp Tuesday and prior to practice, head coach Sean McDermott addressed the media and commented on how Trent Murphy has worked hard to get ready for the 2019 NFL Season.
“(Trent Murphy) looks like he’s in a different mental space….There’s a lot that goes into that. He’s worked his butt off since he’s been back….He’s a big part of what we plan to do in effecting the quarterback.”
Murphy, who stands 6-foot-6, 260-pounds, is the expected starter at defensive end opposite Jerry Hughes and will be largely responsible for helping the Bills’ anemic pass rush that generated just 36 sacks one year ago, ranking No. 26 in the NFL. He’ll have competition, though, as former first-round draft pick Shaq Lawson is entering a contract year and looking to prove himself worthy of a hefty deal in the 2020 offseason.
Nothing will be given to the 28-year old Trent Murphy, but his work-ethic and desire to compete should be extremely valuable as Buffalo looks to make a push in the AFC East this year.