Even after losing Mike Pettine to the Browns a year ago, the Bills’ defense thrived again in 2014, led by a defensive line that featured three Pro Bowlers in Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus, and Kyle Williams. The one member of that defensive line that didn’t earn a Pro Bowl nod is eligible for free agency this offseason, and defensive end Jerry Hughes doesn’t anticipate taking a “hometown discount” to remain in Buffalo, writes Mike Rodak of ESPN.com.
“Yeah, I’ve never heard of that,” Hughes said, laughing. “I guess that’s a nice little deal, kind of throw that out there. But I’ve never heard of a hometown discount in the business world.”
While he may not have received Pro Bowl recognition like his fellow linemen, Hughes had another strong season for the Bills, recording 9.5 sacks in 2014 after racking up 10 in 2013. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Hughes’ overall play dropped off a little this year, from a +19.9 grade last season to +5.7 this time around. However, a significant chunk of that drop-off can be attributed to his trouble with penalties — he received a -9.1 mark in that category.
Justin Houston of the Chiefs is the best pass rusher eligible for free agency this offseason, but it’s unlikely he’ll hit the open market, with a long-term agreement or the franchise tag a more probable outcome. As such, Hughes could be among the top pass rushers available, along with Jason Pierre-Paul, Jason Worilds, and perhaps Greg Hardy, if his legal troubles are resolved.
Of course, despite Hughes’ apparent lack of interest in a team-friendly contract, the definition of a “hometown discount” differs from player to player. Last winter, Michael Bennett indicated he wouldn’t take a discount, while Golden Tate said he’d be open to the idea, but it was Bennett who signed with the Seahawks for less than expected, while Tate took a big-money offer from the Lions.