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2019 Worst Bang for the Dollar Bills: defensive end Jerry Hughes

We know he played okay, but the numbers....

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

Every team overpays for free agents. It’s the nature of the business that you can’t always predict future results, and even if you do, you sometimes end up overpaying for them. The Buffalo Bills are no exception and during the 2019 season they had a group of underwhelming players.

Number nine on our countdown is defensive end Jerry Hughes. Hughes was the leader of the Bills’ underwhelming pass rush in 2019. He played nearly two-thirds of Buffalo’s defensive snaps as a rotational piece, only falling below 57% of the snaps in the season finale. He had 4.5 sacks and 23 tackles as the subject of double teams while knocking down three passes. His nine QB hits was the fewest in a season since joining the Bills.

Hughes doesn’t land on the list for bad play, though. He was an above-average defensive end in 2019. His salary cap hit of $12.95 million was really, really high. He was the 11th-highest cap hit among EDGE defenders in the NFL and his production simply didn’t live up to that number. (Von Miller topped the league at more than $25 million with Melvin Ingram under $20 million in the second spot before another drop-off to $15.5 million.)

Hughes is set up with a lot more realistic cap hit in 2020. He will count just $9.5 million in each of the final two years of his deal. His 2019 cap hit was inflated because it contained signing bonus money from his contract extension signed last offseason and the contract he signed in 2015.

Bottom Ten Bang for the Dollar Bills, 2019

10. K Stephen Hasuchka ($5.025 million)
9. DE Jerry Hughes ($12.95 million)