While we all had a slight feeling this was coming, the Buffalo Bills made it official today and reached an agreement with free agent defensive end Jerry Hughes on a new five-year deal.
Hughes will receive over $45 million over the five-year contract, with $22 million of that money guaranteed, a source told ESPN.
“It was our No. 1 wishlist,” Bills general manager Doug Whaley said Monday. “So we thought we need to keep the core together as long as possible. When you have a free agent come up that’s been as productive as he is — an integral part of our success on the defense — we just said, ‘Hey, let’s go all in on Jerry.’”
All in they did, as the Bills wanted to make sure they keep intact one of, if not the best, defensive line in all of football. As a unit, they helped the Bills lead the NFL in sacks last season with 54.
Hughes’s, who is just entering the prime of his career at age 26, has had 20 sacks since the start of the 2013 season, which is tied for ninth most in the NFL.
“I think the conversation I had with my agent — he was one of the first people to call me — I said, ‘Let’s make this work,’” Hughes said Monday. “I led with the whole, ‘We finished 9-7 and had the No. 2 defense.’ We have a lot to accomplish and I don’t want to leave this ship unmanaged.”
The cap hit of the deal isn’t in yet and it will be interesting to see how the contract is laid out. I expect it to be similar to the one that LeSean McCoy reportedly agreed to, with a lot of the money coming in the form of a signing bonus that can be spread out over the entire deal to lessen the cap impact.
That way it will still give the Bills the flexibility to add a few more pieces this off-season, as they continue to go all-out in adding talent to try to end the longest playoff drought in the NFL.
“The sky is the limit,” said Hughes. “You know <new head coach Rex> Rex’s rapport and the defensive guru that he is. For us to get out here and get into a playbook like that in the offseason it’s going to be a lot of fun. Especially with the chemistry that we have, oh man I’m excited. You don’t understand how many text messages I’ve been getting from the guys about how excited they are about the hiring of Rex. We’re ready, we’re pumped up and I know we’re all going to come back in tip top shape ready to roll.”
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