Grading the Buffalo Bills re-signing defensive end A.J. Epenesa

New York Jets v Buffalo Bills
New York Jets v Buffalo Bills / Bryan Bennett/GettyImages

Entering the free agency period, the Buffalo Bills were unfortunately going to have to make a decision between Leonard Floyd and A.J. Epenesa. They didn't have the cap space to bring back both and the decision would have to come down to production (Floyd) and potential (Epenesa).

In the end, the team decided to go with Epenesa and was able to re-sign him to a two-year deal worth $12 million. Meanwhile, Floyd would sign with the 49ers on a two-year deal worth up to $20 million.

Epenesa was a second round pick by the Buffalo Bills in the 2020 NFL Draft and at the time of being selected the position looked very different. Entering the season, the Top 3 pass rushers was Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, and Trent Murphy.

It took Epenesa some time to make an impact and he had only 2.5 sacks and 13 QB hits over his first two seasons in the league. However, it has been a different story the past two years with 13 sacks and 20 QB hits as well an impressive 13 passes defended.

Free Agency Grade for Buffalo Bills re-signing A.J. Epenesa: A

The grade is reflective of a change in expectations for Epenesa and what role he can play moving forward. At the time of being drafted, especially being a second round pick, the hope was that he would be a starting defensive end.

However, Epenesa has settled in as that number three defensive end in the rotation and has thrived the past two seasons. While he only has three starts over the past two seasons, he has played close to 40% of the defensive snaps.

If Epenesa continues to produce like he did the past two seasons, this is a great deal. However, at only 25 years old there is the chance he continues to develop and get better. That will make this move even better.