Former Bills DE, Longest-Tenured Player Could Land With Browns

Jerry Hughes

Getty Jerry Hughes reacts to a play in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The longest-tenured player on the Buffalo Bills could be moving a little further down Lake Erie for next season.

Jerry Hughes, one of a handful of Bills players remaining in free agency, is reportedly getting interest from the Cleveland Browns. The 34-year-old Hughes had been with the Bills since coming in a 2013 trade with the Indianapolis Colts, becoming one of the team’s all-time leaders in sacks and helping lead them back to the playoffs in 2017, ending a 17-year playoff drought.

Though there had been some speculation that he may decide to retire, Hughes could have one more stop in him.

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Hughes Getting Interest

As Nick Wojton of USA Today’s Bills Wire noted, the Browns have considered signing Hughes, who could stand to replace Jadeveon Clowney.

“The Browns have former top-overall pick Myles Garrett on the edge. Cleveland had another No.1 selection in Jadeveon Clowney across from Garrett in 2021,” Wojton wrote.

“Clowney, like Hughes, is still a free agent. The idea for Cleveland might be Clowney out and Hughes in.”

Wojton noted that Hughes had 51 pressures over the last two seasons, despite only having 6.5 sacks during that time. The Browns were 10th in the league with 43 sacks last season, while finishing fifth in total yards allowed.

Other Options for Hughes

There could be other options for Hughes beyond Cleveland. Pro Football Focus predicted in a February 21 story that Hughes could land with the Cincinnati Bengals to provide depth to their defensive line. The outlet ranked Hughes No. 39 on the list of the top 50 available free agents.

“The Bengals have a pretty solid pass rush with Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard, but they lack depth behind them,” PFF wrote. “Hughes has recorded 50-plus pressures in nine straight years and can be a force if used correctly in Cincinnati.”

Hughes has also expressed a desire to return to Buffalo for the chance to win a Super Bowl after falling short of the big game in each of the last two seasons.

“I want some hardware,” Hughes said via video conference on January 12. “We were close to getting that last year. So now we know what it takes to get back to that stage. And if this is my last opportunity being a Buffalo Bill, I want to go out on top.”

The Bills already watched another one of their former defensive ends find a new home this week. Mario Addison reportedly signed a two-year deal with the Houston Texans, where he has the chance to play an important role on a rebuilding defense. As Anthony Wood of’s Fan Nation noted, the Texans have brought an influx of young defensive linemen and Addison now has the chance to take on a leadership role.

“Having Addison available to step in at a moment’s notice, or even start off the bat, takes the pressure off of the young additions,” Wood wrote. “This should allow them to develop behind the scenes and not be rushed in – a common theme among [Texans general manager Nick] Caserio’s first rookie class last year as well. ”

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