When then-free agent pass rusher Trent Murphy was contemplating where to bring his football talents in 2018, there were several factors he considered: his fit in the defensive scheme, his teammates on the defensive line, and his potential team’s outlook for the upcoming season.
The chance to line up alongside talented players like Kyle Williams, Jerry Hughes, and fellow free agent Star Lotulelei were quite appealing to Murphy, a second-round draft pick of the Washington Redskins in 2014.
The kicker for Murphy, who inked a three-year deal that carries a total value of $22.5 million? The Buffalo Bills were the team that most aggressively pursued Murphy. Coming off a playoff appearance, Murphy told members of the media during his introductory press conference that Buffalo “just feels like home.”
“You almost can’t help but to start salivating, knowing who you’re working with. The type of mentality those guys have, their work ethic….Lorenzo [Alexander] was already in the weight room grinding it out this morning, so knowing that that’s the expectation, that’s what I’m coming in to, these guys are going to want to work, find new ways to pass rush, new ways to beat guys, I couldn’t be happier about it,” Murphy told reporters. “As an individual, yeah you want to push yourself, but when you have guys that are going to push you too, you can push them and work together, that’s what it’s all about.”
Murphy was originally drafted as an outside linebacker in the Redskins’ 3-4 scheme, but transitioned to a defensive end in 2016. Last year, he switched back to being a member of Washington’s linebacker corps, but expectations are that Murphy will line up as a defensive end in coordinator Leslie Frazier’s 4-3 scheme.
“Their biggest goal is to bring in and help the guys that are here already be more disruptive and disrupt the passer, [and] disrupt the backfield,” Murphy said. “I think when you can get after the quarterback and get TFL’s (tackles for loss) and do your job from that standpoint, stop the run and put pressure on the passer – you’re talking about winning games from that standpoint. I think in the scheme and what he wants me to do, I’m excited to try to compete for a job and find a way on the field and help out the team any way I can.”
Murphy, listed at 6-foot-6 and 259 pounds, appeared in 47 career games for the Redskins, making 23 starts. He logged 15 sacks and 11 combined tackles and should, assuming he’s fully recovered from a knee injury suffered 13 months ago, provide a solid pass rushing complement to go with Hughes, Lotulelei, and Shaq Lawson.
“What I think Coach [McDermott] is looking for here as far as blue-collar guys, a scheme, guys that are passionate and trying to build a culture, kind of just that tough, blue-collar mentality, winning, playing together, just competing,” Murphy said. “This is home for me now. I think they expressed the most interest and I kind of looked into who the Bills are coming off an opportunity at the playoffs and what they’re trying to build and the culture here, I was super excited to join the cause. I think it was a perfect fit for me.”