The Bills signed defensive end Jerry Hughes to a two-year extension on Tuesday and both he and head coach Sean McDermott discussed the agreement during press conferences later in the day.
Hughes said he was excited to “get back to focusing on football and focusing on winning games” now that the contract situation has been squared away. The signing comes at a moment when the Bills don’t have a lot of long-term commitments to edge players and McDermott cited continuity as part of the reason why they wanted to get a deal done at this point.
“There’s two things that work there. It’s the continuity and it’s also rewarding a young man who has done things right,” McDermott said at a press conference. “[General Manager] Brandon [Beane] has done a nice job of balancing the checkbook over the last couple of years. It’s been hard, but it’s necessary so that we can — when we feel like it’s right — target our own and bring them back. Jerry is a good football player, we’re not big fans of letting good football players walk out of our room and our building.”
Hughes had seven sacks last season, which didn’t rank at the top of the NFL’s leaderboard but McDermott noted that sacks aren’t the only way to assess a pass rusher’s productivity. Hughes ranked higher in terms of quarterback pressures and McDermott said “affecting [a quarterback’s] vision, affecting the way the trajectory of the ball is and his arm” is a significant part of the assessment.
The Bills feel Hughes does all of those things well and he’ll get a couple more years as a key part of the Buffalo defense as a result.