The Buffalo Bills spent big bucks on their defensive line heading into the 2020 NFL season. Of the Bills’ top 12 salary-cap figures, five belonged to defensive linemen. Two of those top numbers were defensive tackles.
Of all the team’s defensive tackles, however, it may have been the lowest-paid player who had the most productive season. In the second installment of our top-ten best Buffalo Bills salary-cap values, we’re focusing on a depth player who came up huge.
DT Justin Zimmer
2020 Salary-Cap Figure: $485,298 (.22 percent of total cap)
2020 Stats: 21 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 7 quarterback hits, 1 forced fumble, 1 sack
Zimmer did not make the Bills’ roster out of camp last season, but instead began the year as a member of the team’s practice squad. He was called up to the active roster twice in the first six weeks—for the season opener against the New York Jets and the Bills’ Week 6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs—before being signed to the active roster on October 21. In those two games, Zimmer combined for ten tackles on just 48 snaps. For the year, Zimmer played on 275 defensive snaps to accrue the stats above.
Zimmer was fifth among all Buffalo defensive tackles in terms of snaps played, yet he had just two fewer tackles than Quinton Jefferson and 12 fewer tackles than Ed Oliver. He led all of Buffalo’s defensive tackles in quarterback hits, placing fifth on the team with seven. Zimmer also had a huge forced fumble against Cam Newton that sealed a 24-21 victory over the New England Patriots in Week 8.
Not a bad year for the guy who made the second-lowest amount of cash on the whole roster last season. Zimmer’s performance wasn’t flashy, but it was certainly worthy of being among the better salary-cap values for the 2020 Buffalo Bills.