In breaking news late Saturday afternoon, ESPN Senior NFL Insider Adam Schefter tweeted that the Buffalo Bills and defensive tackle Ed Oliver “reached agreement on a four-year, $68 million extension, including $45 million guaranteed, per source.”
Former ninth overall pick DT Ed Oliver and the Buffalo Bills reached agreement on a four-year, $68 million extension, including $45 million guaranteed, per source. Oliver had one year left on deal and is now tied to Buffalo for next five seasons.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 3, 2023
Extending Oliver, who was drafted ninth overall by the Bills during Round 1 of the 2019 NFL Draft, prevents him from hitting free agency at the end of the 2023 NFL season. Alaina Getzenberg of ESPN notes that Oliver’s “$45 million guaranteed is sixth most among active defensive tackle contracts, per ESPN Stats & Information research.”
Prior to today’s news, One Bills Drive had their eyes collectively focused on a defensive tackle group void of anyone under contract beyond the coming season.
Further compounding issues, general manager Brandon Beane and the front office didn’t draft a defensive tackle during last month’s NFL Draft, leading many to question what the future held for the position in Buffalo.
The Bills did make a series of one-year moves this offseason in bringing back veteran defensive tackles Jordan Phillips and Tim Settle, while also adding free-agent defensive tackle Poona Ford following the draft. Additionally, defensive tackle DaQuan Jones is in the last year of the two-year deal he signed with Buffalo as a free agent last offseason.
Oliver has often been a lightning rod of controversy, with most referencing his lofty draft status in tandem with his career stats. During the 2022 NFL season, Oliver’s play was trending in the right direction — especially while edge rusher Von Miller was healthy and on the field. But Oliver himself endured injury, missing time last season, and his play seemed to trail off at the end of the year after his return to the field.
But as a 3-tech defensive tackle, Oliver brings a unique skill set as a somewhat undersized DT with pass-rushing ability. Perhaps unfairly to Oliver, pre-draft his name was often mentioned in the same breath as defensive tackle Aaron Donald. While Oliver has yet to even sniff the greatness that Donald brings to the gridiron, his talent and relative youth would have certainly been coveted by the rest of the NFL in free agency.
In four seasons with the Buffalo Bills, Ed Oliver has started 53 games, making 151 tackles, 30 tackles for loss, 42 quarterback hits, one safety, 14.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, with 11 passes defended.
With head coach Sean McDermott now adding defensive coordinator to his job profile in Orchard Park NY, it will be interesting to see if he utilizes Oliver differently than in any of his prior four seasons with the team under the direction of assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.