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Fan opinion: Should the Buffalo Bills re-sign defensive tackle Jordan Phillips?

Let your voice be heard.

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

You’ve had a chance to read and weigh in on all the individual pieces of the argument for and against re-signing defensive tackle Jordan Phillips. (So did Phillips.) Now it’s your turn to tell us what you think the Buffalo Bills should do.

After all the information, there is a poll. Let your voice be heard!

All-22 Analysis of Phillips in 2019

(By Jeff Kantrowski)

Jordan Phillips led the Buffalo Bills with 9.5 sacks and was second in QB hits with 16 (Shaq Lawson had 18). Phillips also tied Lawson for the team lead in tackles for a loss with 13. Phillips said he wanted a shot at taking over for Kyle Williams and had a better year than all but one of Kyle’s (2013).

Phillips is sneaky good and fit what the Bills did on defense to perfection this season. The only remaining question is personality and culture fit. Phillips was labeled a malcontent in Miami. Seemingly happy in Buffalo, if he truly wants to stay, Phillips would be a priority to retain if possible. It may seem like damning with faint praise by mentioning there’s no single attribute that makes Phillips dominant above. Consider this though; elite speed or strength will fall off a cliff. Phillips has no potential cliff. The only barrier to Jordan Phillips having several more seasons like this is Jordan Phillips.

Read the complete analysis of Phillips’s game tape with GIFs here

Contract projection

(by Matt Warren)

Three years, $21 million with $8 million guaranteed
$7 million average

...but it won’t be from the Bills. Buffalo invested a high first-round pick in Ed Oliver in 2019 and he’s going to be the starting 3-tech defensive tackle for the team going forward. You can’t justify paying a rotational player that kind of money and Phillips is going to be hard-pressed to replicate his high sack numbers again. He’s going to regress hard to the mean: 2.0, 0.5, 2.0 and 1.0 is 1.375 sacks per season and is 5.5 sacks TOTAL in his career before this year. That’s an average of three sacks per year even with the monster 2019.

If I’m Buffalo, I probably offer him a slightly better deal than I gave him last year—say one year and $5 million—and that would likely be too high for what his role is going to be going forward.

Read the entire contract projection including comparable contracts here

In-house replacement options

(By Matt Warren and Jeff Kantrowski)

Star Lotulelei and Harrison Phillips are both 1-techs. Phillips took 74 snaps in 2019 before being hurt and was never on the field with Lotulelei. In short, those guys are the 1-techs and the guys signed to replace Phillips when he was injured—Kyle Peko, Vincent Taylor, and Corey Liueget—are all 1-techs, too.

So as we look to replace pending free agent Jordan Phillips on the roster, we’re looking for a 3-tech. The only one on Buffalo’s roster under contract for 2020 is Ed Oliver, who seems poised to slide into the unquestioned starting role in his second year.

Read the entire article here

Free-agent replacement options

(By Sean Murphy)

Below is a list of some defensive tackles who the Bills may want to consider as replacements for Phillips should he elect to test the open market. Intentionally left out are some of the players expected to break the bank with beacoup bucks (Shelby Harris, Javon Hargrave, D.J. Reader), as well as players who just wouldn’t make sense (Could anyone see the Bills reaching out to Marcel Dareus if the Jacksonville Jaguars decline his $14 million club option?).

  • Michael Brockers
  • Vernon Butler
  • Danny Shelton
  • David Onyemata
  • Maliek Collins
  • Jarran Reed
  • A’Shawn Robinson

Read more about each player in our full article here

NFL Draft replacement options

(By Andrew Griffin)

Tier I

Derrick Brown (Auburn)
Javon Kinlaw (South Carolina)
Justin Madubuike (Texas A&M)

Tier II

Raekwon Davis (Alabama)
Neville Gallimore (Oklahoma)

Tier III

Larrell Murchison (N.C. State)
Ross Blacklock (TCU)
Nick Coe (Auburn)
Jason Strowbridge (UNC)

Get information on each of these prospects in our full article

Opinion: Why I wouldn’t re-sign Jordan Phillips

(By Bruce Nolan)

In 2019, Phillips exploded statistically and recorded a career-high 9.5 sacks for the Bills, including a whopping three-sack game against Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans in Week 5. This leaves Bills fans in an odd place with Phillips after he led the team in sacks and is now in a situation where he may not be on the roster in 2020.

I would not re-sign him for what I think he will get on the open market.

There are two parts to this discussion: the FINANCES and the FIELD.

In addition to the slotting side of the financial argument, resource allocation comes into play at this point. The Bills have two defensive tackles on the list above in Star Lotulelei and Ed Oliver and it would cost the team more to release Star than is comfortable, so expect him back in 2020. With a young team with plenty of looming extensions at other positions, committing another top-20 DT contract to Jordan Phillips would be unwise.

Ultimately, I predict that a team with a need at defensive tackle will pay Jordan Phillips between eight and ten million dollars a year in APY and I would congratulate him for earning generational wealth for his family. If the market does not view Phillips that favorably, then it opens the door for the possibility he could return to the Bills.

Do not be seduced by the sack numbers Bills fans. While the splashy plays Jordan Phillips has produced this year helped the team out, even in big moments, the snap-to-snap consistency in production and reliability gives Oliver the nod. The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia had Oliver graded markedly higher on his year-end grades than Phillips as did many others who watch the film on a weekly basis, myself included. Oliver is a force against the run and consistently maintains his gap against single blocks and double-teams while also creating pressure in the pass game. Jordan Phillips will often find himself on ice skates being pushed out of the play, creating rush lanes that put Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano in bad situations at the second level. The Houston Texans caught the Bills in a defensive front that had both Phillips and street free agent Corey Liuget on the field simultaneously and took advantage in the run game to help come from behind in the Wild Card playoff game.

Read the entire opinion piece here

Now it’s your turn, Bills fans. What do you want to do?


What would you like to do at 3-tech defensive tackle?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    Re-sign Phillips to a big deal to be the starting 3-tech
    (618 votes)
  • 23%
    Let Phillips sign his big deal, draft an Ed Oliver backup
    (531 votes)
  • 41%
    Let Phillips sign his big deal, sign a free agent as an Ed Oliver backup
    (953 votes)
  • 6%
    Let Phillips sign his big deal, roll out a 1-tech DT as Ed Oliver backup
    (147 votes)
  • 1%
    Let Phillips sign his big deal, add a starting DT ahead of Ed Oliver
    (35 votes)
2284 votes total Vote Now