Alaina GetzenbergESPN3 minutes of reading
BUFFALO, NY — The Buffalo Bills finally have a defensive tackle under contract through the 2023 season. The Bills have agreed to terms with 2019 first-round pick Ed Oliver on a four-year, $68 million extension with $45 million guaranteed, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The deal keeps Oliver under contract through the 2027 season.
The $45 million guaranteed is the sixth-highest among active defensive tackle contracts, according to ESPN Stats and Information. Before reaching an agreement with the former ninth-overall pick on an extension, the Bills didn’t have a defensive tackle signed through the 2024 season or beyond.
“I want to finish the season and be at zero [defensive tackles under contract in 2024],” general manager Brandon Beane said during the team’s rookie minicamp. “That would be my hope. But it should make sense. If there’s anybody here, right now, it would make sense to extend to one of them, so we’ll see. You know me well, we’ve found a way to do a stretch or two sometimes in training camp, so we can look at it at that point, see where the guys are, who’s there. Who’s good and if there’s an opportunity to extend one, we’ll look to do that.”
The team has a lot of veteran players, but general manager Brandon Beane didn’t address that in the draft despite saying he hopes to do so. The team signed Poona Ford to a one-year, $2.25 million contract with $1.5 million guaranteed, days after the draft, and returned several players, including Daquan Jones, Jordan Phillips and Tim Settle.
Oliver, 25, was set to play his fifth-year option in 2023 for $10.753 million. He is coming off a mixed 2022 season that started with a right ankle injury in the season opener against the Los Angeles Rams. Oliver missed the next three games and slowly increased his participation after returning, describing it as “not automatic for a while” with Beane.
He finished the season with 2.5 sacks, nine tackles for loss and six pass breakups in 13 games. Oliver was second on the team with a 41.5% run stop success rate (behind Jones). His season-best performance came in a Thanksgiving win over the Detroit Lions. Oliver finished the game with one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one defense, six tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack.
“I think you have to weigh when you thought he was healthy? What was it like? How did he impact the whole team,” Beane said in evaluating Oliver in March. “And, you know, he certainly didn’t have the production he wanted, but how much of that was missing games or how much was affected by him playing at 85% versus 100%?”
Oliver has shown the ability to make splash plays in his four years in Buffalo, but coach Sean McDermott said he wants to see a “real good, consistent season” and they have confidence in him. Senior defensive assistant/defensive line coach Eric Washington noted that Oliver’s processing speed is an area they are working on.
“When you have the skill that Ed has, you have to understand situations and that can mean the difference between separating you from the enemy,” said Washington, who said he’s seen Oliver become more vocal and confident this season. “I can process very, very quickly, so I can hit one-on-ones, so I can play ahead of a play as opposed to playing with a certain sequence of plays. So, where Ed is, from an experience standpoint, he has to play with anticipation as opposed to playing with the tempo of the play.”
Oliver joins Dawson Knox, who received a four-year extension of his own in September, as the only member of the team’s 2019 class still on the roster.
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