In 2019, Jerry Hughes was entering the final year of his contract with the Bills. As of Tuesday that is no longer the case. Buffalo signed Hughes to a two-year contract extension, ensuring the team’s top pass rusher will be on the roster beyond the 2019 campaign.
"I'm super excited," said Hughes after officially signing Tuesday afternoon. "First and foremost, I've got to thank the Pegulas, Beane, coach McDermott for knocking this deal out really believing in me. I'm excited to get to work. God is good so I mean with that being said, I'm happy to get my mind focused back on football get back to where we can you know take over this AFC East and make another playoff run."
Hughes, who will turn 31 at training camp this summer, was the team’s most effective pass rusher across the board last season.
According to Pro Football Focus, Hughes led all NFL edge defenders in 2018 in pass rushing productivity with a rating of 10.9. The only defensive player in the league with a higher rating was L.A. Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
Hughes had seven sacks last season, but in his effort to adjust to the new rules against driving quarterbacks into the ground, Hughes likely missed out on a handful of other QB takedowns.
“He had a ton of (quarterback) hurries. His sack numbers could’ve easily been double digits. He might’ve missed four or five with the consistent pressure that he got,” said Lorenzo Alexander.
By season’s end, Hughes led the team in sacks (7), quarterback hurries (18), tackles for loss (13) and forced fumbles (3). His seven sacks were the most he’s had in the last four seasons. Hughes had back-to-back 10-sack seasons in 2013 and 2014.
Now with a premier penetrating defensive tackle in top draft pick Ed Oliver, Shaq Lawson and a healthy Trent Murphy as a tandem on the other edge and Lorenzo Alexander as a pass rush specialist, Hughes should figure to see fewer double teams in 2019.
And that should lead to even more production going forward for Hughes and the Bills.