The Buffalo Bills missed Star Lotulelei on defense in 2020. According to a report from Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic, Lotulelei, 31, plans to play in 2021 after opting out of the 2020 NFL season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Lotulelei is set to count $7.6 million against the 2021 salary cap.
In 2020, the Bills were 26th in the league in yards per rush allowed, as opponents carried for an average of 4.6 yards per rush. The Bills allowed 21 rushing touchdowns, as well, which was just 27th in the league. In 2019, Buffalo allowed 4.3 yards per carry, which was 18th in the league, and they allowed 12 rushing touchdowns, which was the ninth-fewest total in the NFL.
Of course, Lotulelei himself isn’t solely responsible for the team’s dip in effectiveness against the run, but his absence caused the Bills to play other defensive tackles, like Ed Oliver, out of position. It also opened up more snaps for rotational players like Vernon Butler and Harrison Phillips to play more snaps at Lotulelei’s one-tech spot.
With Lotulelei reportedly back in the fold, the Bills have plenty of depth at defensive tackle. Aside from the aforementioned players, the Bills also have Justin Zimmer and Brandin Bryant on the roster at defensive tackle.