Bills, DT Poona Ford Agree To Deal

MAY 5: Details on the pact are in, courtesy of the Buffalo News’ Ryan O’Halloran. Ford can earn up to $3.25MM this season, based on playing time and sack incentives. His guarantee amount checks in at $1.5MM, and his cap hit will be $2.25MM. Ford will look to provide the Bills with a relatively low-cost veteran along the interior, but a strong showing this season could earn him another multi-year contract, either from Buffalo or elsewhere next year.

MAY 2: With the Seahawks bringing in two new defensive tackle starters, Poona Ford will head elsewhere. The veteran interior defensive lineman agreed to terms with the Bills on Tuesday, Tom Pelissero of tweets. The Bills have since announced the signing.

Ford will sign a one-year contract to join the Bills, with Pelissero adding the sixth-year defender declined at least one more lucrative offer in order to land with the AFC East contender. The Bills did not allocate any draft resources to their interior D-line; Ford will join an experienced group in Buffalo. GM Brandon Beane said the team planned to draft a defensive tackle but noted the value never added up with the board.

The Bills re-signed Jordan Phillips this offseason and still roster former first-round pick Ed Oliver, ex-Washington inside rusher Tim Settle and veteran DaQuan Jones. Ford, who made 63 starts in Seattle from 2019-22, will commit to Buffalo hours after the NFL’s deadline for signings to affect the compensatory formula. Moves past 3pm CT Monday do not affect 2024 compensatory picks. With this date annually spurring a third wave of sorts in free agency, the Bills are taking advantage and beefing up their defensive front.

Ford, 27, re-signed with the Seahawks in March 2021, inking a two-year contract with that signed him as a UDFA back in 2018. Ford played out that two-year, $12.35MM pact last season, and the Seahawks have changed up their interior D-line once again. Seattle released both Shelby Harris, Quinton Jefferson and Al Woods, signing Dre’Mont Jones and reuniting with Jarran Reed. The team also used two Day 3 picks on D-linemen this year.

Pro Football Focus graded Ford as one of the NFL’s top run-defending D-tackles in 2020 and ’21, slotting him as a top-20 player at the position overall in each season. Last season, PFF was down on Ford’s performance and ranked him outside the top 75 at the position. Seattle, however, had switched from its longtime 4-3 alignment into more of a 3-4 look under DC Clint Hurtt. Ford, who finished with three sacks last year and combined for 25 tackles for loss from 2019-22, will return to a 4-3 setup in Buffalo.

ESPN’s run stop win rate included both Oliver and Jones in the top 10 among D-tackles, and the Bills finished last season fifth against the run. But the Bengals mashed the Bills’ front in a one-sided playoff matchup. Cincinnati’s 172-yard outing in the snow played a significant role in the Bills being ousted at home. And the team, which lost Harrison Phillips in 2022, still has many long-term questions at the position.

Oliver is entering his fifth-year option season. Ford will now join Settle, Jones and Phillips as Bills inside D-linemen unsigned beyond this season. For 2023, however, Buffalo boasts a deep contingent at this spot. Von Miller‘s ACL recovery overshadows the other components on this line, but the Ford pact stands to help the unit as the future Hall of Famer aims to return to form.

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