The Buffalo Bills, apparently, needed two men to replace Jordan Phillips on their roster. On Tuesday night they were reported to have agreed to a contract with former Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson—and now we have a second contender for snaps: Vernon Butler.
Per NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, the Bills are signing Butler to a two-year contract with $9.3 million guaranteed. The deal can pay out as much as $18 million if all incentives are reached. Here’s a full breakdown of the deal with totals and yearly insight.
Butler, who turns 26 this year, is a former first-round pick of the (yep) Carolina Panthers. His first season in the league was Sean McDermott’s last season coaching the Panthers’ defense before he became head coach in Buffalo. At 6’4” and 330 lbs, Butler also has the wingspan of an albatross. His primary fit would be at nose tackle, but he can also flex to defensive tackle or even five-technique depending on subpackages.
Butler’s career took a long time to get going. Through three full seasons, he’d failed to start a single game, and all he had to show for that time was 45 tackles and two sacks. In year four, with his rookie contract option declined, he broke out in a more prominent role on the defense. Butler started nine games, had six sacks, three forced fumbles, and 32 tackles.
In the immediate term, the twin signings of Butler and Jefferson put Vincent Taylor’s roster spot at risk. Taylor spent much of last season on the team’s practice squad, but emerged for a few brief moments of glory. It also puts additional pressure on two men to step up: Harrison Phillips, coming back from a torn ACL, and Star Lotulelei. Lotulelei’s roster spot isn’t much in jeopardy, though, after he accepted a pay cut in February. In exchange for taking $1.75 million off his salary, the Bills fully guaranteed the remainder of his 2020 salary.