The Buffalo Bills have invested heavily into the defensive end position over the last two years. A bit of an under-the-radar signing, Efe Obada has quietly moved into roster position this offseason and during the beginning part of training camp.
Understand that until today, pads weren’t on players, but during the first five practice Obada has looked good according to multiple reporters. He’s passed former seventh-rounder Darryl Johnson on the team’s depth chart and is making a case to stick on the 53-man roster.
There are contractual things to look at, as well; $800,000 of Obada’s $1.5 million salary is guaranteed and they already paid him $300,000 of that in signing bonus. If there is offset language, they would only be on the hook for that signing bonus money but without offsets, more than half of his contract money is already guaranteed.
Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, A.J. Epenesa, Boogie Basham, and Greg Rousseau are going to make the team. Keeping six defensive ends seems like a luxury but with how many of these guys are position-versatile and can kick inside, I’m certainly not ruling it out.
Obada has a history with defensive line coach Eric Washington, who was his defensive coordinator with the Carolina Panthers. He plays special teams, logging 15%, 28%, and 17% of Carolina’s last three seasons, respectively. They desperately need to upgrade their pass rush and Obada finished with 5.5 sacks in 2020, a number that would have led the Bills.
Johnson has two career sacks despite significant snaps on defense. His saving grace has been as a core special teamer, where he has played 58% and 66% of the special teams snaps over the last two years.
It might simply come down to special teams. Coordinator Heath Farwell knows Obada well, coaching him in 2018 with the Panthers. He obviously coached Johnson last year. We’ll have to wait and see how it all shakes out and which one he prefers. If we’re going strictly off defensive production, Obada has the edge.