Bills Sign Polarizing Former 1st-Rounder to $68 Million Extension: Report

Ed Oliver

Getty Bills defensive tackle Ed Oliver reacts to a play at Ford Field on November 24, 2022.

One of the biggest questions marks for the Buffalo Bills in 2024 was figuring out what they should do with Ed Oliver, their former No. 9 overall pick from the 2019 NFL Draft who hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations of a first-round pick.

While the Bills preemptively picked up Oliver’s fifth-year option last April, which locked the 25-year-old through the 2023 NFL season, nearly doubling his salary to $10.75 million, it was largely believed Buffalo would see how the defensive tackle performed in his contract year before deciding whether he’s worth a massive extension in 2024.

However, the Bills moved to lock down the 25-year-old for the foreseeable future on Saturday, June 3. ESPN‘s Adam Schefter was first to break the news that Buffalo “reached agreement on a four-year, $68 million extension, including $45 million guaranteed, per source. Oliver had one year left on deal and is now tied to Buffalo for next five seasons.”

SB Nation‘s Bruce Nolan tweeted, “I am legitimately surprised by this,” as was WGR 550’s Sal Capaccio. “Wow. I’m surprised this happened now,” Capaccio tweeted. “But a really interesting move for the Bills and now another young piece under contract for several more years, and we will see how it impacts cap this year and what that means for other possible moves and/or extensions.”

While the Bills were set at defensive tackle this season with Oliver, DaQuan Jones, Tim Settle, Jordan Phillips, Eli Ankou, and the recently added Poona Ford, they were all on expiring contracts. Now, they will have at least one defensive tackle through 2027.

Back in March, Oliver posted then deleted the following message on his Instagram Stories: “Show Me The Money or Ion Wanna Talk!!!” and it seems Buffalo was listening. If Oliver goes on to have the breakout season this year, the $68 million deal he agreed to may look like a steal. Only time will tell.

Bills Fans Had Strongly Mixed Reactions to Ed Oliver’s Monster Contract

Ed Oliver

GettyEd Oliver #91 of the Bills arrives prior to a game against the Bengals in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Highmark Stadium on January 22, 2023.

While some fans were excited to see the Bills continue to grow with Oliver, others couldn’t believe Buffalo shelled out so much money for such a consistently inconsistent player who missed three games last season due to an ankle injury.

During the 2022 NFL season, Oliver recorded 34 total tackles, 14 quarterback hits, 2.5 sacks, and one safety. While these are decent numbers, they’re a dip from his rookie year, during which he tallied 43 total tackles, 19 quarterback hits, and five sacks.

While he tallied a sack and two solo tackles again the Miami Dolphins in the playoffs, against the Cincinnati Bengals, when the Bills needed him to step up most, he recorded one tackle. Bills’ general manager Brandon Beane said during his end-of-season press conference that there’s still “meat on the bone” in terms of what Oliver can do, and he’s apparently willing to be $68 million on that hope.

One fan tweeted, “I like it. DTs are getting huge deals and I think Ed’s best is yet to come. Also shows he wants to stay,” while another fan wrote, “This is a BAD idea.”

One man tweeted, “I hate this. Let him have to perform at a high level in a contract year,” while another person commented, “What in the f***? Terrible move. He’s not good. He’s average at best.”

Bills Defensive Line Coach Detailed What Ed Oliver Needs to Do In Order to Step Up His Game

Ed Oliver

GettyBills defensive tackle Ed Oliver walks on the field at SoFi Stadium on September 08, 2022.

Bills defensive line coach Eric Washington didn’t hold back when asked by The Buffalo News‘ Ryan O’Halloran about what Oliver needed to do to in order to be a more consistent player.

While Washington noted that Oliver is “more vocal” and “has things he can add to the conversation,” his mental approach needs to match his physical talent.

Washington said, “[Oliver] just continue to play the game as much as possible from the neck up. When you have the kind of talent Ed has, you have to understand situations that could mean the difference between separating yourself from the opponent (and saying), ‘I have to able to process very, very quickly so I can win my one-on-one so I can play ahead of the play as opposed to playing with the sequence of that particular play.’

“With Ed, from an experience standpoint, we need him to play ahead as opposed to with the tempo of the play so (understanding) situations, certain nuances with certain calls and understanding where he can take advantage based on his position (is important).”

Reading between the lines, O’Halloran surmised, “Washington wants Oliver to do more video study and be more committed to during-the-week preparation in order to perform better in games – that was 100% my lean once I transcribed the quote… If his motive was sending Oliver a message through the media – after undoubtedly doing it behind the scenes – bravo to Washington. Some guys will heed the message only if delivered publicly. The Bills need Oliver to be one of those guys.”

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