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2021 Worst Buffalo Bills values: No. 2—DT Vernon Butler

One of Beane’s misses.

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

The Buffalo Bills have consistently rebuilt their defensive line every offseason for the past several years as they’ve received ineffective play. Among general manager Brandon Beane’s biggest contract misses, several of his largest have come at defensive tackle including the second-most overpaid player on the Bills in 2021—Vernon Butler.

In the past when we’ve done our listing, we used cap hit to reflect value, but with the cap shenanigans employed by general manager Brandon Beane recently and the improvement of the databases, we’ve switched to yearly cash payments as our metric.

Butler made more than $4.7 million in cash in 2022, putting him 19th on the Bills. He was the 29th defensive tackle in the NFL, so you’d expect him to play like a top-half DT. He was second on the Bills among tackles, coming in $200 grand or so behind Star Lotulelei, who also appeared on our countdown. 4

He started only one game, played in 10, and was a healthy scratch in several contests down the stretch. He recorded just 11 tackles on the season with no other stats. In all, he played in just 26.44% of the team’s defensive snaps (285) and only 29 special teams snaps. No player above him on the team’s cash rankings played few snaps, including Tre’Davious White who missed six games due to an ACL tear. He only topped 50% of the snaps in one game—the blowout loss to the Indianapolis Colts, who ran it down the Bills’ throats.

Last offseason, the Bills restructured his contract to lower his cap hit and in the process gave him a pay cut, so it could have been worse. They also lopped off the final year of his contract, making his a free agent after 2021. This offseason, he signed with the Raiders for $1.25 million. That’s a much better value for your healthy-scratch DT.

Buffalo Bills 2021 Worst Values

  1. Stay tuned
  2. DT Vernon Butler
  3. LB A.J. Klein
  4. DT Star Lotulelei
  5. OG Jon Feliciano
  6. DE Jerry Hughes
  7. OL Daryl Williams
  8. DE Greg Rousseau
  9. LB Tyler Matakevich
  10. DE Boogie Basham

Buffalo Bills 2021 Best Values

  1. QB Josh Allen
  2. LB Tremaine Edmunds
  3. TE Dawson Knox
  4. WR Gabe Davis
  5. CB Levi Wallace
  6. DT Ed Oliver
  7. DT Harrison Phillips
  8. S Jordan Poyer
  9. OT Spencer Brown
  10. RB Devin Singletary

Honorable Mentions