The Buffalo Bills re-signed defensive end Jerry Hughes to a five year contract just hours before he’d become eligible to be an NFL free agent.
While talks took both sides down to the wire, it looks like Jerry Hughes will remain in Buffalo for the long haul. The Buffalo Bills have agreed to a five-year contract with Hughes, per Vic Carucci at The Buffalo News. Carucci notes he has since been told the money may not be entirely set, but the five-year part appears firm and the contract will run in the ballpark of $45 million total value.
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Carucci writes, “Talks between the Bills’ chief negotiator, Jim Overdorf, and Hughes’ agents, Ben Dogra and Tracy Lartigue, began during last month’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and heated up last week.”
“The deal reportedly is worth $45 million,” Carucci added, “but a source close to the team said the amount wasn’t accurate.”
The guaranteed money is reportedly set to total around $20 million. In all, the contract is a huge coup for a player whose original team gave up on him and traded him to the Bills for linebacker Kelvin Sheppard.
In keeping Hughes, the Bills maintain the talent along one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. Hughes put ten sacks in both seasons as a pass rusher for the Bills and under the aggressive schemes of new head coach Rex Ryan, it’s expected that Hughes will only continue to flourish as he enters his prime at age 27.
Hughes meanwhile gets to play in a scheme in which he’s largely comfortable. He played very well under former defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who employed similar defensive formations and plays as his former boss, Rex Ryan, when the two worked together on the staff of the New York Jets.
This signing is also a win for the Buffalo Bills because this is a team that’s usually stood on the wrong end of free agency. The team has seen safety Jairus Byrd and guard Andy Levitre walk in the last two seasons and command top money at their position each time. Jerry Hughes would have done the same and Vic Carucci noted that the league interest was definitely there.
“He had become a hot commodity in the open market, an NFL source said, noting that six clubs expressed interest in signing Hughes.”
For six teams, this is the end of the road with Jerry Hughes. For the Buffalo Bills, this is just the beginning.
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