The 2021 NFL trade deadline is 20 days away. After a monumental Week 5 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, the Buffalo Bills sit at 4-1 and tied atop the AFC standings with the Los Angeles Chargers and Baltimore Ravens, who play each other in Week 6.
With few, if any flaws, some members of Bills Mafia may hope the team stands pat between now and November 2. With a league-best 172 points scored, league-low 64 points allowed and NFL-best point-differential of +108 that isn’t even close to any other team, those fans may have a valid argument.
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With loads of nasty injuries occurring every week though, reinforcements and lineup tinkering are always needed. While the Bills may not be the neediest team right now, there are other groups that would surely like to get their hands on some Buffalo players, specifically where the team is particularly well-stocked with talent.
One area that Bills opponents may target leading up to the trade deadline is the defensive line.
Bills ‘Expected to Get Calls’ on ‘Deep Defensive Line’
On Tuesday, October 12, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler noted that while the deadline is still nearly three weeks away, teams have already been active. Fowler pointed specifically to the Carolina Panthers’ recent acquisitions of All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore and former top-10 draft pick CJ Henderson as evidence that moves could be made at any time.
When it comes to the Bills, Fowler said it’s likely that the team will be fielding some offers in the near future, if they aren’t already.
“The Bills are expected to get calls on their deep defensive line,” Fowler wrote. “The team has used draft capital on promising edge players Greg Rousseau, AJ Epenesa and Boogie Basham in recent years, which could make their veterans attractive at the deadline.”
The Bills’ 30th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, Rousseau has had an excellent start to his professional career and is coming off arguably his best game yet. In the win over the Chiefs, the 21-year-old filled the stat sheet with one interception, one sack, one pass defended, one quarterback hit and four tackles, including one for a loss.
The effort resulted in Rousseau being named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
Addison, Hughes & Obada on the Move?
With Rousseau leading the possible youth movement on the Bills’ defensive line, Fowler sees a trio of veterans who may be on the block.
“Jerry Hughes is an interesting case because of his salary ($6.1 million), age (33) and production (0.5 sacks). Those aren’t very enticing numbers,” Fowler wrote. “But he has been solid, and Buffalo plays him a lot (54 snaps in the Week 5 win over Kansas City). Perhaps the Bills hold on to the experienced rusher for the late-season stretch.”
Hughes is in his ninth season calling Western New York home, after spending the first three years of his NFL career with the Indianapolis Colts. Nearing a decade with the same franchise and the organization finally on the cusp of Super Bowl contention, it’d be mutually tough for Hughes and the Bills to part ways.
“Mario Addison, meanwhile, is owed $4.075 million this year. He has one sack and two quarterback hits through the season’s first month,” Fowler wrote. “Efe Obada is a cheaper rotational guy at $1 million.”
Addison is in his 11th season in the league and second with Buffalo, which is the fifth team he’s played for. Obada is in his fourth NFL season and first with the Bills, after suiting up for the Panthers each of the last three years.
Even if the Bills don’t make any blockbuster moves prior to November 2, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see general manager Brandon Beane make a couple of smaller trades in the coming weeks.