Buffalo Bills: Could 2020 be last year with franchise for Jerry Hughes?
Is the 2020 season the last one for the longest tenured Buffalo Bills player?
The Buffalo Bills have gone through almost an entire roster overhaul under Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane however one player that has remained is defensive end Jerry Hughes. He has actually played for four different head coaches since the Bills traded linebacker Kelvin Sheppard for him in 2013.
However, now entering his eighth year with the Bills the question is how much time he has with the franchise. According to a recent article on Bleacher Report, this could be the final season for Jerry Hughes.
The article by Kristopher Knox looked at nine players who could be changing teams in 2021, which included Hughes. At this point in his career, Hughes is not the pass rusher he was when he first arrived with the franchise.
This past season was one of his worst with the Bills after finishing with only 4.5 sacks. However, he looked great in the team’s playoff game against the Houston Texans, a game he finished with three sacks.
It is important to note that Hughes was playing with multiple injuries over the course of the past season and had groin and wrist surgery this offseason.
In addition to the drop in performance, the Bills could cut Hughes after this season and only incur $2.1 million in dead cap. They also drafted defensive end A.J. Epenesa in the second round and he is expected to be a starter for this defense in the near future.
For all the reasons to cut Jerry Hughes after this season, there is plenty of reasons to let him play out his contract, which ends after the 2021 season. The first is that while it would be minimal in dead cap space, his cap hit in 2021 is only $9.45 million. The Bills would be unlikely to find a pass rusher in free agency for a lower salary, especially when considering the team just signed Mario Addison to a three-year deal with an average salary of $10.15 million.
The other reason that it doesn’t make sense to cut Jerry Hughes before the end of his contract is that he is a leader in this locker room. He is the veteran voice that essentially replaced Kyle Williams when he retired. That is not something that is easily replaced and if he has a bounce back year this coming season, it doesn’t make sense for the Buffalo Bills to move on.