Former Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Vernon Butler is heading the AFC West after signing a one-year contract with the Las Vegas Raiders on Tuesday, March 22, as first reported by NFL Network’s Mike Garafalo, and the fan reaction on Twitter was quite strong.
Unlike the outpouring of love shown to departing players such as Harrison Phillips, Mitch Trubisky, and even Cole Beasley, Bills Mafia seemed thrilled to no longer have to deal with Butler, who signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Buffalo in 2020.
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The former first-round pick from the 2016 NFL Draft spent the first four seasons of his career with the Carolina Panthers. Butler struggled early on, appearing in just 38 games throughout his first three years in Carolina, starting none, and totaling 45 tackles, two sacks, and 10 quarterback hits.
His career-best season came in 2019 when he recorded a total of six sacks, making nine starts during his 14 game appearances. He recorded 32 total tackles and eight quarterback hits. After the Panthers chose not to pick up his fifth-year option, Butler headed to Buffalo, where never came close to replicating his numbers from the 2019 season.
During the 2021 season, Butler was seldom-used, finishing with just 11 total tackles. Butler was a healthy scratch for eight games, including the playoffs. During his two years in Buffalo, the interior defensive linesman never recorded a sack.
“Lmfao terrible,” one person responded, while another fan wrote, “Sorry, he’s awful. I normally root for anyone who puts on a Bills uniform but this guy not only stunk, he consistently got out-hustled. Really not sure how he keeps finding jobs in the league.”
Butler was the 2nd Worst Interior Defensive Lineman During the 2021 NFL Season
While fans understandably have biased opinions, numbers don’t lie, and Butler’s stats leave much to be desired.
Associated Press reporter Josh Dubrow tweeted, “New #Raiders DT Vernon Butler ranked 131st out of 132 interior defensive linemen (min 20% of snaps) last season per PFF,” which obviously didn’t help ignite any excitement for Las Vegas fans.
Butler is still young at age 27, and due to his size, 6-foot-4 and 330 pounds, it seems there has to be some upside to the Raiders signing the Louisana Tech alum.
However, even Carolina fans joined the thread to say not to expect much from Butler . “Biggest bust in the past 10 years for panthers. Same level as Greg little,” one man tweeted, while another Panthers fan wrote, “Feel sorry for the Raiders 😂.”
Butler Is Not a Clear-Cut Starter in Las Vegas
Butler’s signing adds depth to the Raiders’ pool of defensive tackles, but he will have to fight for a starting role with Andrew Billings and Kendal Vickers, per Raiders Wire‘s Marcus Mosher.
“Butler has only started 19 games in his career,” Mosher noted. “However, he is a giant run-stopping defensive tackle and that was a need of the Raiders heading into the offseason.”