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Fan opinion: What should the Buffalo Bills do at defensive end this offseason?

Lots of opinions here.

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

The Buffalo Bills’ pass rush was simply not good enough in 2020. What can the team do this offseason to improve? Turns out, a lot.

Earlier this week, we broke down multiple angles of the current defensive ends on the roster as well as players to add through free agency or the NFL Draft. With excerpts printed below (click the links for the full articles to learn more), we want to get your take on what Buffalo should do.

Vote down below!

2020 All-22 Analysis: Bills DE Trent Murphy

(By Jeff Kantrowski)

Trent Murphy seems to have lost a step and some physicality. Football intelligence and technique-wise he’s still much the same player. At times he was also able to turn it up and perform as we’d all like to see.

Click here to read the full article with GIFs

2020 All-22 Analysis: Bills DE Mario Addison

(By Jeff Kantrowski)

Mario Addison wasn’t a resounding success to be sure. However he wasn’t bad either. I’d love to have a dominant force on the end opposite Hughes but Addison isn’t the worst floor. With a number of team needs I wouldn’t be surprised to see Addison in Buffalo in 2021.

Click here to read the full article with GIFs

2020 All-22 Analysis: Bills DE Jerry Hughes

(By Jeff Kantrowski)

If you’re looking closely you’ll notice some decline. If you’re looking closely you’ll see a great player. Excellent instincts, plenty of athleticism, and we all know he has the attitude needed to bring it every play. If you’re looking closely you’ll see mediocre stats. If you’re looking closely you’ll see a scheme that makes it hard for edge players to get the sexy stats. And you should be looking closely in 2021. There’s no reason Hughes should be going anywhere.

Click here to read the full article with GIFs

How much does Mario Addison cost in 2021?

(By Matt Warren)

Currently Addison is set to make $6,625,000 in base salary, an $800,000 roster bonus due later this month, plus workout and roster bonuses can be earned. He’s set to turn 34 around the start of the season. If Buffalo releases him, they would save all that cash and in terms of salary cap, they would generate more than $6 million in salary cap space.

Read the entire breakdown of Addison’s contract here

How much does Jerry Hughes cost in 2021?

(By Matt Warren)

Hughes is entering the final year of his deal and set to count $9.45 million against the salary cap this year, but $2.1 million of that has already been earned as part of his signing bonus. In terms of new cash, they’ll pay $7.35 million in 2021. That’s the same amount they would save if they release him. Without future years of signing bonus money that need accounting, it’s an easy calculation.

Read the entire breakdown including a look at how they could lower that cap number with an extension here

Bills don’t have young talent capable of replacing their starting defensive ends

(By Matt Warren)

2020 second-round pick A.J. Epenesa and 2019 seventh-rounder Daryl Johnson both contributed in 2020, but neither are ready to be the main guy at defensive end. Epenesa played just 25 percent of the snaps on defense while Johnson played 20 percent. Further down the roster, Bryan Cox Jr. and Mike Love each played in just one game for the Bills in 2020, tallying around 3 percent of the team’s yearly snap total.

Read the entire breakdown of the current crop of defensive ends here.

Free agents that could help the Bills pass rush

(By Dan Lavoie)

J.J. Watt
Watt signed with the Cardinals following the publication of the article.

Justin Houston
Also in Watt’s camp of old players who haven’t lost their edge is Houston. He’ll be 32 this year as he closes in on 100 career sacks, but had eight sacks and 25 pressures in 2020.

Romeo Okwara

Okwara, a former undrafted free agent, had ten sacks, 18 QB hits, 31 pressures, and three forced fumbles in 2020. He turns 26 in June, and already has five years of experience.

Carl Lawson
The former fourth-round pick has 20 career sacks, despite the Cincinnati Bengals not making him a starter until 2020. The guy had 32 QB hits and 44 pressures this year, but only made it home for 5.5 sacks.

Trey Hendrickson
How much would you trust a one-year wonder? Hendrickson, a former third-round pick, finally became a starter in year four. He delivered 13.5 sacks for the New Orleans Saints.

Jadeveon Clowney
On paper, Clowney seems just like what the Bills ordered. In practice, Clowney’s inconsistent results and effort have made him too unreliable.

Vic Beasley
Speaking of inconsistent players, we can’t let Beasley go unmentioned. Here’s a player who was an All-Pro in 2016, just his second season, then played his way out of Atlanta—even though he had 18 sacks in the following three years, his overall tackle and pressure numbers suggest he was getting lucky more often than not.

Read the entire article with contract projections here

2021 NFL Draft prospects to add to the pass rush

(By Andrew Griffin)

Tier I

Gregory Rousseau (Miami)
Kwity Paye (Michigan)
Joseph Ossai (Texas)

He has the ideal defense frame at 6’6” and 260 lbs and is a pretty darn good athlete for that size, but Rousseau’s lack of experience in college means his technique is lacking and he may need some development as a consequence. Paye makes up for his lack of size and length with short-area quickness and a motor that never runs cold. Originally a traditional linebacker, Ossai became a 3-4 edge rusher in his final season and took to it pretty well. But because he is such a latecomer, he got by on his considerable athletic talent alone.

Tier II

Carlos Basham (Wake Forest)
Jaelen Phillips (Miami)
Joe Tryon (Washington)
Jayson Oweh (Penn State)

Tier III

Patrick Jones II (Pittsburgh)
Rashad Weaver (Pittsburgh)
Quincy Roche (Miami)
Daelin Hayes (Notre Dame)

Read more about the Tier II and Tier III players in the full article here

Opinion: What we would do at defensive end this offseason

(By Bruce Nolan)

1. Release Vernon Butler, keeping Addison and Hughes
2. Sign Carl Lawson
3. Draft Shaka Toney on Day 3

Read Bruce’s rationale in his full opinion piece here.

Now it’s your turn to vote. What should the Bills do this offseason at the starting defensive end spots?


What should the Bills do at edge rusher this offseason?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Keep the same DEs in 2021
    (10 votes)
  • 14%
    Keep the same guys, add a free agent
    (131 votes)
  • 12%
    Keep the same guys, add top draft pick
    (108 votes)
  • 50%
    Cut Addison or Hughes, add a free agent
    (440 votes)
  • 15%
    Cut Addison or Hughes, add top draft pick
    (135 votes)
  • 3%
    Cut Addison AND Hughes, add a free agent
    (31 votes)
  • 1%
    Cut Addison AND Hughes, add top draft pick
    (10 votes)
  • 1%
    Cut Addison AND Hughes, count on Epenesa, Johnson, Love, and Cox
    (14 votes)
879 votes total Vote Now

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