On Tuesday, the Buffalo Bills found out that starting defensive tackle, Star Lotulelei, has reportedly elected to opt-out of the 2020 season.
Last week, one part of the agreement between the NFL and NFLPA was guidelines for players who wanted to opt-out of the upcoming season due to the pandemic. On Tuesday, the Buffalo Bills had their first player reportedly elect to use and starting defensive tackle Star Lotulelei informed the team that he would not be playing this season, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
Star Lotulelei is a former first round pick by the Carolina Panthers in 2013 and had Sean McDermott as his defensive coordinator his first few years in the league. Once McDermott joined the Buffalo Bills, Lotulelei followed shortly after and joined the Bills during the 2018 offseason. This was the first big free agent contract the Bills gave out under McDermott and Brandon Beane as the two sides agreed to a five-year, $50 million contract.
While Lotulelei doesn’t fill up the box score, he has 36 total tackles and two sacks in two seasons with the team, he is a big body defensive tackle that clogs running lanes. A player like Lotulelei helps other defensive linemen and linebackers to get to ball carriers as he will try to engage with more than one offensive linemen.
This offseason, the Buffalo Bills restructured that initial contract and two sides agreed to a three-year, $18 million deal. However, with Lotulelei opting-out it pushes the new deal back one year and will start in 2021. Since this opt-out was voluntary, Lotulelei will receive a salary advance of $150,000.
The absence of Lotulelei is certainly going to test the depth at the position. However, general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott have a number of pieces that they can use to replace the absence of Lotulelei this coming season.