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2022 NFL Free Agency: Contract projection for Mario Addison

It’s not going to be cheap

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

If Mario Addison wants to keep playing at age 35, he’s going to need a new contract from somewhere. With how he played in 2021, it’s probably not going to be a little one, either.

Addison led the Buffalo Bills with seven sacks—three more than the next-highest player on the team. It wasn’t just that he was getting home, because he had 25 pressures, 17 hurries, and a combined 29 tackles. He was very efficient playing 45% of Buffalo’s snaps, his lowest percentage since 2015 with the Carolina Panthers.

Coming up with a comp for him is pretty challenging. He was very productive at age 34, but turns 35 in September. How many 35-year-old defensive ends are still notching seven sacks per season? The list is pretty short.

To compound matters, Addison had that solid year after a down year in 2020, which is why the Bills shortened his contract. They shaved a year off at roughly $10 million, so would he even consider signing a new deal with Buffalo after they forced him into a pay cut a year ago? I think that’s pretty darn unlikely.

Comparable Contracts

Mario Addison
Buffalo Bills 2020
Three years, $30.45 million

Honestly, Addison is a good comp for himself. He was 32 when he signed and 33 when he took his first snap in Buffalo. Now he’s two years older. His tackle numbers and pressures are similar. He had 9.5 sacks in 2019 with seven sacks in 2021. In 2019, he tallied just eight hurries but 17 this season. He might be able to snag a $10 million contract in this market, but that’s his ceiling and it’s a one-year deal. That’s probably a little rich for a rotational piece when it was signed for a starter.

Carlos Dunlap
Seattle Seahawks 2021
Two years, $13.6 million

Carlos Dunlap in 2020 played 15 games for the Cincinnati Bengals and Seahawks, finished with eight hurries, 26 QB pressures, six sacks, and 32 tackles while playing roughly 58% of his team’s snaps. Dunlap had just turned 32 when he signed the contract, but was also coming off years where he played 80% of his team’s snaps and was close to double-digit sacks for a few years. Addison was a part-timer in 2021, and will probably stay that way in 2022, but so was Dunlap.

Everson Griffen
Dallas Cowboys 2020
One year, $6 million

Griffen made the Pro Bowl at age 32 in 2019, tallying eight sacks and 41 tackles. He finished with 13 hurries and 35 pressures, which is ten more than Addison. Griffen opted out of his contract in the Minnesota Vikings, and ended up taking a pay cut down to $6 million. He made even less in 2021, signing a one-year contract for the veteran minimum to go back to the team he wanted, the Vikings.

Contract Projection

Addison had a good season, so it’s going to come down to fit somewhere. If he can find the right fit, he could stand to make a pretty penny. Lots of teams need pass-rush help, including the Bills, but I’m not sure if he would come back to Buffalo after what they did last season.

One year, $6 million
$3 million guaranteed

I think Addison will be able to turn his most recent solid season into a one-year deal somewhere, though I doubt it’s going to be with the Bills. Teams need pass rushers who can consistently win battles to get into the backfield and Addison has proven he can still do that. His ability to finish will make him a bit more, too. Especially for a team looking to turn around a culture like the New York Jets, he makes a lot of sense as a veteran presence.

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