The Buffalo Bills spent a boatload, both in terms of actual money and draft capital, to upgrade their pass rush heading into the 2020 season. In 2019, the Bills were 12th in the league in sacks, notching 44 on the season. In 2020, the Bills fell to 16th overall, totaling just 38 sacks on the season.
The Bills have once again devoted significant resources to their defensive line, selecting defensive ends with their first two draft picks in 2021 and signing a free-agent pass rush specialist in Efe Obada. One of last year’s top free-agent signings, an interior rush specialist, has already been released.
After signing on as a boost to the pass rush, the person who comes in at number eight on our list of the Bills’ worst 2020 salary cap values underperformed and then was released within the course of a year.
DL Quinton Jefferson
2020 Salary Cap Figure: $7 million (3.17 percent of Buffalo’s cap)
2020 Stats: 23 tackles, three tackles for loss, three sacks, six quarterback hits, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble, one pass breakup
After two solid, if unspectacular, seasons with the Seattle Seahawks where Jefferson was a disruptive force in the offensive backfield, he did not live up to those expectations in his one season in Buffalo. Jefferson had 23 quarterback pressures in 558 defensive snaps in 2018, then he had 16 pressures in 589 snaps in 2019. With the Bills in 2020, Jefferson played on 534 defensive snaps and managed just nine pressures on the year. Sure, some of that could have been scheme, with the Bills often asking their defensive tackles to eat space rather than attack; however, Jefferson was brought in for his ability to disrupt quarterbacks. He fell short in that area last season but was the 12th-highest cap hit on Buffalo’s entire roster. Even though he played fewer snaps than he did in the previous two seasons with Seattle, it’s not as if it was a significant number. On a per-game basis, it amounts to three fewer snaps per game in 2020 than in 2019—and he played more snaps than any defensive tackle on Buffalo’s roster other than Ed Oliver. Jefferson may be the first defensive lineman to appear on this list, but he isn’t going to be the only one.