After the Buffalo Bills' 2020 AFC championship loss against the Kansas City Chiefs, the coaching staff wanted to bring in a pass rush which is exactly what they lacked against Patrick Mahomes in that game. In the 2021 NFL draft, the Bills selected University of Miami defensive end Greg Rousseau to bring in a hopeful pass rusher of the future. Rousseau had a lot of upsides and had one great season in college (15.5 sacks only behind Chase Young), before sitting out the 2020 season during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rousseau is coming off a 5-sack season, being quiet in the second half of the season and being outshined by teammate A.J. Epenesa, who was drafted the year before Rousseau. In 3 seasons with Buffalo, Rousseau has racked up 17 sacks and 129 combined tackles. While he has not put up all-star numbers, he has been consistent for the Bills throughout the last three seasons. With veteran teammates like Von Miller and Leonard Floyd, Rousseau could grow his game, but his ceiling has not yet been reached.
His best game of this season came in Week 4 against the Miami Dolphins, sacking Tua Tagovailoa twice and batting down a pass at the line of scrimmage. He also added 3 total tackles to his stat sheet. Since that week, Rousseau's stock went down because of the lack of production. Even his ability to create pressure became less each week as the season progressed.
Will the Bills pick up Rousseau's fifth-year option?
With three seasons underneath his belt as a first round pick three years ago, the time has come for Brandon Beane to decide on whether or not Rousseau could be part of the Bills' long-term plans. While Rousseau has shown flashes to be great, he has not been the wrecking type of player that the Bills have been waiting for. He has not been a disappointment but has not consistently met the expectations either.
Going into this offseason, it will be important to monitor defensive ends that are on the market now or next year and determine if they are better than Rousseau. As of right now, Rousseau has not earned himself a big contract extension with the Bills. Buffalo may want to consider declining his fifth-year option which would put Rousseau on a true contract year in 2024. Players who are playing for a payday tend to have career years, so that is what it may take for Rousseau to earn a second contract in Buffalo.