Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley says that he is “highly optimistic” that his team will re-sign free agent pass rusher Jerry Hughes before the start of free agency. This decision will cost the team, but the Bills do not want to franchise Hughes, which would cost around $14 million. It is clear there will be a market for him with so few young, productive pass-rushers without rap sheets on the market, according to NBC Sports.
The Bills might not have a quarterback, but they are working hard to keep the part of the team they have hisorically counted on.
Several meetings with the agent for Jerry Hughes at the NFL Scouting Combine have happened, according to Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News, with more scheduled this weekend. There is no sign that a long-term deal for the free agent defensive end is close. Hughes would have to switch positions, and play outside linebacker in coach Rex Ryan’s 3-4 system. He’s had 10.0 sacks each of the last two seasons, after just 5.0 in his first three years with the Colts.
“We’re trying to avoid that [the tag], because we’re trying to get him long term for sure and keep everybody on the same page so Hughes and his representative felt like, ‘Hey, we got a good deal,’ and we say, as the Buffalo Bills, we got a good deal,” Whaley said.
Throughout the ongoing negotiation process, Whaley said that the team has felt comfortable that Hughes would like to return to Buffalo, which has helped the negotiations.
“Every indication we got when we talked to him in our exit interviews are that he likes the Buffalo Bills, he likes his situation, and he likes the defense,” Whaley said this morning. “And he likes who he’s playing with. He thinks his other line mates elevate his game.”