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Veteran pass rushers Buffalo Bills should consider

Despite a strong free agency and a draft class, Buffalo’s defensive end position remains unsettled

Despite additions elsewhere on the roster, the Buffalo Bills’ lineup at defensive end has remained largely static since the end of last season. After solid starter Jerry Hughes and a healthy Trent Murphy, there’s a disappointing Shaq Lawson, nondescript veterans Eddie Yarbrough and Eli Harold and a couple of younger players who have practice-squad eligibility in Mike Love and rookie Darryl Johnson. It’s clear the position could use an infusion of talent—one that may come September 1st, which is the day when teams need to trim their roster to get to 53 players or even before then from veterans who remain on the market. Below are a few possible options that the Bills could consider.

DE Tyrone Crawford
Dallas Cowboys

The Windsor, Ontario native is scheduled to count $10 million against the salary cap for the Cowboys and was involved in a bar brawl this spring. Should Dallas decide to save money and part ways with the nine-year veteran, the Bills could benefit by bringing him in thanks to his experience, leadership and versatility. Although he’s never eclipsed more than 5.5 sacks in a single season, Crawford is able to play virtually any position along the defensive line, which can be a valuable benefit if you’re Brandon Beane and trying to arrange the final 53-man roster.

DE Jacquies Smith
Free agent

The former undrafted free agent of the Bills had a few decent years as a promising starter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but has now fallen on hard times. Despite putting up 13.5 sacks for the Buccaneers over two years, the team released him early in 2017 and he has bounced around several teams since. If he were to be brought to Buffalo, the Bills would be wise to deploy him as a designated speed rusher. At 6’2” and 260 lbs, he could perhaps back up Lorenzo Alexander as well.

OLB Derrick Morgan
Free agent

The long-time Tennessee Titans starter, Morgan became a free agent this season and was likely expecting a good starting opportunity for a contender to open up. The further through the calendar we get, though, his chances of finding such a spot diminish. Sean McDermott likes to rotate his defensive ends frequently, which could entice Morgan to look into Buffalo. Although the veteran has never had a double-digit sack season, he’s been a well-rounded and tough player throughout his career.

DE DeMarcus Walker
Denver Broncos

A recent second-round draft pick, Walker hasn’t lived up to the expectations that come with such a high selection. While new coach Vic Fangio may give him more of a chance than previous coach Vance Joseph, the team also went out and got a similar player in Dre’mont Jones in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. If the Broncos do decide to move on from Walker, the Bills would be wise to swoop in and try him out in a more traditional 4-3 defense. Walker offers intriguing run-stopping ability as a base defensive end, while kicking him inside on passing downs could create havoc for opponents’ offensive lines.