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.