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Buffalo Bills need bodies at 3-tech defensive tackle this offseason

Buffalo has no depth here behind Ed Oliver

There are several positions on the Buffalo Bills’ roster where they can promote from within if they lose a player to free agency. The 3-tech defensive tackle position is not one of them.

Last offseason, the team negotiated a contract restructure with Vernon Butler that made him a free agent at the end of 2021 and they released Quinton Jefferson when he wouldn’t take a pay cut. That meant both wouldn’t be on the team in 2022. With Justin Zimmer also on a one-year deal, the Bills knew they would be limited at 3-tech in the future, but they plugged their other holes and soldiered on in 2021. Now the bill must be paid.

Ed Oliver played 58% of the snaps at 3-tech and started every game, Butler played 26.4%, Zimmer at 14.9% before his season-ending injury sidelined him. A handful of the 3-tech snaps went to defensive ends kicking inside, as well. In short, Ed Oliver was the man at 3-tech defensive tackle, playing more than twice as many defensive tackle snaps than either of his backups.

But now all those backups aren’t on the team. Oliver needs a running mate, but not necessarily a guy built for a 50-50 split. Zimmer may not be fully recovered from his surgery until the season starts and Butler is as good as gone. Buffalo needs to look outside their own building.

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