Bills’ Seldom-Used DT Named as NFL Trade Deadline ‘Candidate’

Vernon-Butler

Getty Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Vernon Butler chases down Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields during a preseason game in August.

T-minus six days until the 2021 NFL Trade Deadline, and for now, it’s all quiet on the western (New York) front.

With few, if any weaknesses on this season’s edition of the Buffalo Bills, many fans are expecting, if not hoping for, very little roster movement in the next week. Despite breakout tight end Dawson Knox currently being shelved with a broken bone in his hand, the coaching staff has deemed it not to be a long-term injury.

The rest of the offense has looked as good, and possibly better than advertised this summer, and the defense is one of the top units in the NFL. Add in a special teams group headed by second-year kicker Tyler Bass, and the Bills may just be the most well-rounded roster in the league.

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Still, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Buffalo make at least one or two minor transactions to move the needle just a bit, and Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic has one guy in mind who could be headed out of town in the near future.


Buscaglia: ‘Butler Is One Player to Keep an Eye On’

Vernon-Butler2

GettyBuffalo Bills defensive tackle Vernon Butler hugs Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke.

Buscaglia and other writers from The Athletic put together an article on Wednesday that analyzed one trade candidate for every team. For the Bills, it’s defensive tackle Vernon Butler.

“The Bills are all-in on chasing a championship, so it’s unlikely that they trade away a player without getting someone that makes them better in return. However, if they do, Butler is one player to keep an eye on,” Buscaglia wrote. “The 2016 first-round pick has been a healthy scratch over the past three games because the Bills have 11 defensive linemen. At the trade deadline, Butler would only carry a cap hit of $1.9 million for his new team.”

As Buscaglia mentioned, the Bills are well-stocked on the defensive line. Among the standouts through the first six games of the season have been rookie Greg Rousseau, who leads the team with three sacks and second-year player AJ Epenesa, who has a team-high five QB hits.


Panthers’ Former First-Round Pick Signed With Bills in 2020

Vernon-Butler-Derek-Carr

GettyBuffalo Bills defensive tackle Vernon Butler brings down Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.

Butler was selected 30th overall by the Carolina Panthers in the 2016 NFL draft and spent the first four seasons of his career with the NFC South group. Over his first three years in the NFL, Butler played in 38 games, but was never a starter.

In 2019, the 27-year-old played 14 games again, but earned nine starts, and posted career-highs in tackles (32), QB hits (eight), sacks (6.0) and forced fumbles (three) during his final campaign as a defensive end. Butler signed a two-year, $15 million deal with Buffalo in March 2020 and played in 17 total games (12 starts), including getting the starting nod in all three Bills’ playoff contests.

Butler played in the team’s first three games this season, appearing on 85 defensive snaps (46%) and recorded one tackle and one QB hit.

In their final game before the November 2nd trade deadline, the Bills will host the Miami Dolphins at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.

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