The Buffalo Bills should upgrade their defensive line in 2021, but they may just stay status quo at defensive tackle. Their biggest addition, both literally and figuratively, could be Star Lotulelei’s return to the lineup after a year on the COVID-19 opt out list.
As of this writing, we don’t know if he’ll be back or not. The league hasn’t announced COVID-19 protocols at this point. With the majority of the public anticipating to be vaccinated at some point over the summer, there is a good likelihood he will be back in uniform, though.
With that spot situated on the line, and Ed Oliver next to him, the starters at defensive tackle should be set. Harrison Phillips may not have had a great year in 2020, but he’ll be back along with Justin Zimmer, who flashed at times. With those players as rotational pieces, you can get by.
Even if the Bills cut Vernon Butler and Quinton Jefferson, they’ll have a solid, NFL-caliber four-player rotation at DT this fall. Add a young guy at 1-tech to rotate in, and with Phillips and Lotulelei scheduled to enter free agency a year from now, and you could be set.
If you have the bandwidth to upgrade over Zimmer as your backup 3-tech, that would be fine, but it’s not an emergency.
- All-22 Analysis: Vernon Butler
- All-22 Analysis: Quinton Jefferson
- Bills can save cap space before looming roster bonus for Quinton Jefferson
- Incoming bonus, guarantees could hasten Vernon Butler cap cut
- Free-agent defensive tackles the Bills could look to add
- 2021 NFL Draft 1-tech defensive tackles to consider
- With Star Lotulelei returning, Bills might be set at DT even without Butler, Jefferson