The Buffalo Bills kept an important piece of their core, re-signing their best edge rusher, veteran Jerry Hughes, to a two-year contract extension on Tuesday. The deal was reported by Adam Schefter and confirmed by Sal Capaccio.
The contract is a good one for both parties, as Hughes will reportedly earn up to $23 million over the two years of the deal. Of that total number, Schefter reports that $19.5 million is guaranteed.
In 2019, Hughes is set to count $10.4 million against the salary cap, ranking him twentieth among all defensive ends. At 30 years old, the Bills locked up their best edge rusher while he still has plenty of good football left in him. (He turns 31 during the 2019 preseason.)
The Bills acquired Hughes in 2013, sending former fourth-round pick Kelvin Sheppard to the Indianapolis Colts to acquire Hughes, who had underperformed as a former first-round choice of the Colts. Upon his arrival in Buffalo, Hughes immediately excelled, notching 10 sacks in his first season with the Bills. To that point in his career, Hughes only had 5 total sacks in three seasons.
Hughes had 10 sacks again in 2014, parlaying that season into a five-year contract extension worth $40 million. That contract was set to expire after the 2019 season, leaving some uncertainty as to his future. With news of today’s contract extension, that uncertainty is no longer.
Hughes has 47 career sacks, 42 of which have come while wearing a Bills uniform.
Buffalo had a huge hole at defensive end looking ahead. With Hughes and Shaq Lawson set to hit free agency, the Bills were left with Trent Murphy and 2019 seventh-rounder Darryl Johnson as their only defensive ends under contract past this season.
In January, we projected a contract extension worth $11 million per season for Hughes. This deal straddles that, guaranteeing $9.5 million per year, while including incentives that could max it out at $11.5 million per season.