The Buffalo Bills did not receive much return on investment as it relates to their defensive line last season. General manager Brandon Beane, for all of his successes, doled out some hefty contracts to defensive linemen over the last few seasons. None of those big contracts have been particularly successful, as the majority of those dips into the free-agent pool have resulted in large payments going to players who, at best, have been marginally productive.
While the Bills spent some big bucks in the leadup to the 2020 season, that wasn’t the first time that Beane had spent big on pass rushers. In his first full offseason, Beane signed a pass rusher who was coming off both a knee injury and a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. That player was expected to boost Buffalo’s pass rush, but that boost never materialized.
What did Beane get for his $22.5 million? 79 tackles, 11 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, 24 quarterback hits, four pass breakups, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and an interception over the course of 39 regular season games is the whole of it. That level of production wouldn’t be terrible from someone making less money, but when you’re one of the team’s highest-paid players overall? That’s not a great value.
Coming in at number one on our list of the Bills’ worst salary cap values from 2020 is a guy who is still a free agent at the time of this writing.
DE Trent Murphy
2020 Salary Cap Figure: $9.775 million (4.43 percent of Buffalo salary cap)
2020 Stats: 10 games, 9 starts, 19 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 tackles for loss, six quarterback hits
Murphy began the year as one of Buffalo’s starting defensive ends, just as he had been the previous two seasons. By the end of the season, he was repeatedly a healthy scratch, as he had been surpassed on the depth chart even by rookie A.J. Epenesa. Murphy was inactive for five of Buffalo’s final six regular-season games, playing only in the regular-season finale against the Miami Dolphins. He was inactive in two of Buffalo’s three playoff games, seeing time only against the Baltimore Ravens. In that playoff contest, Murphy did make one tackle for loss—a four-yard stop against Lamar Jackson in the second quarter. He also had a pressure in that game. However, neither of those singular plays changes the fact that Murphy was Buffalo’s worst overall value last season. To be the fifth-highest paid player on the roster and be a healthy scratch multiple times is not good. Murphy did not make much impact in his time with the Bills and, in 2020, he was their worst salary cap value overall.