BUFFALO, N.Y. — When it involves Buffalo Bills gamers who’re due for sizeable contract extensions within the close to future, a lot of the dialog (deservedly) surrounds quarterback Josh Allen, who stands to grow to be one of the very best paid gamers in NFL historical past.
Swept considerably beneath the rug, nonetheless, is 2-time Pro Bowl linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, who as the Bills’ 2018 first-spherical draft decide enters his fourth NFL season at 23 years outdated.
Buffalo picked up the fifth-yr possibility value $12.7 million on Edmunds’ rookie contract in May, after normal supervisor Brandon Beane advised that if the choice was picked up for Edmunds as properly as Allen, it would not make a lot sense to take action with out extending each gamers.
“You can’t really be flexible with those cap numbers, so we’ve got to make sure if we pick them both up, that we’re going to have to get close to $35 million space in next year’s cap,” Beane mentioned in April. “It’s not an ideal scenario for that to pick them both up and not extend them. We just got to kind of figure out how we can make that work in our system.”
Statistically, Edmunds turned in a solid 2020 season with 119 tackles, including 4 for a loss in 15 games — but something seemed off. He missed Buffalo’s Week 2 win at the Miami Dolphins with a shoulder injury before returning to play in his team’s remaining 14 games, but he seemed slow to react on certain plays or hesitant to initiate contact.
Both critiques can be attributed to Edmunds’ lack of chemistry with A.J. Klein, who filled in for usual starting linebacker Matt Milano for six games while the latter was injured, and his shoulder keeping him from playing at 100%.
But the two-time Pro Bowler was also better than the Internet might lead one to believe. Edmunds’ 4.91-second average time to tackle ranked 22nd among qualified linebackers (at least 700 snaps played), and his 0.86 second get-off ranked ninth. Translation: Despite the chemistry issues and injury woes, Edmunds was processing the game quickly.
Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier commended the young linebacker for his role on the field and off it.
“Tremaine would say the identical factor, that he actually grew this season. He’s grown in his first couple seasons right here collectively, and I’m enthusiastic about what the longer term holds for his growth,” Frazier said. “I believe greater than something, the realm I noticed him develop essentially the most in was simply his impression as a frontrunner, his impression in phrases of his character popping out somewhat bit extra on our protection and his depth.
“Tremaine worked through a couple challenges early in the season with an injury or two, and I thought that that would be a good learning experience for him, as well. So these are all growing opportunities for our young linebacker.”
Edmunds mentioned he wish to be extra constant in his fourth skilled season, which started by attending Buffalo’s organized group actions and minicamp practices in full, alongside the recently extended Milano.
The Virginia Tech product mentioned the offseason cohesion has put the Bills’ protection ahead of the place it was at this level final season. Edmunds mentioned this yr’s model of the group is “on a mission” after last year’s loss in the AFC Championship Game, which he additionally mentioned taught them how a lot additional they should push to achieve a Super Bowl.
They’ll additionally want Edmunds so as to take action; luckily for the Bills, he believes his best football remains to be ahead of him. Spotrac estimates Edmunds’ market worth at $13.5 million a yr over 5 seasons — contemplating he could be 28 on the finish of that deal, Buffalo might reap the advantages of Edmunds’ growth for the following decade or so.
“I know my mindset and I know my ability in what I could do,” Edmunds mentioned. “I’m a guy that I always want to get better. So I’m never going to think that I’m in my full potential. There’s always some room to grow. And I take that approach in everything that I do, so whatever I do, my mindset is to get better.”