Of all the bad moments from the down years, the Buffalo Bills at least did something right by acquiring Jerry Hughes in 2013
In less than a decade, Hughes went from a salvage project — one abandoned by the Indianapolis Colts — to a beloved Bills player alongside quarterback Josh Allen.
As the Buffalo Bills prepare for a second consecutive playoff berth, Hughes deserves recognition for helping turn the team around.
Jerry Hughes never panned out in Indianapolis
Things never worked out between Jerry Hughes and the Indianapolis Colts.
A dynamic pass-rusher who had 28.5 sacks, 39 tackles for loss, and seven forced fumbles at TCU from 2006-09, Hughes played his way into the first round of the 2010 NFL draft.
While at TCU, Hughes earned consensus All-American honors twice and won both the Ted Hendricks Award (best defensive end) and Lott Trophy (most impactful defensive player on and off the field).
Indianapolis, fresh off a Super Bowl loss to Drew Brees and the Saints, used the 31st overall pick on Hughes. There were no instant rewards for either side, as Hughes only totaled one sack in his first two seasons.
At least, Hughes upped his sack numbers to four sacks in 2012 when he started a career-high six games.
However, Indianapolis had seen enough and traded Hughes to the Buffalo Bills in April 2013 for linebacker Kelvin Sheppard.
Hughes instantly broke out in Buffalo
Anyone who says they saw the marriage between Jerry Hughes and the Buffalo Bills turning out how it did is almost certainly lying.
Hughes racked up 10 sacks and forced two fumbles in 16 games, only one of which he started, for the Bills in 2013. He added nine tackles for loss.
Hughes not only had another 10-sack season in 2014, but forced three fumbles and even brought one back for an 18-yard touchdown.
Surprisingly, Hughes missed the Pro Bowl both years.
Indianapolis, by the way, cut Kelvin Sheppard in August 2014. Sheppard played in 15 games and started seven for the Colts in 2013.
Jerry Hughes has had a great stint in Buffalo
Although Jerry Hughes hasn’t had a double-digit sack season since 2014, he still has been one of the Buffalo Bills’ most important players in recent years.
Hughes enters the Bills’ Week 10 matchup against Arizona with 50.5 sacks, 72 tackles for loss, and 14 forced fumbles in a Bills uniform. The veteran pass-rusher had four sacks, an interception, and two forced fumbles in his first nine games this year.
Hughes is on pace for seven sacks, which would tie his most in one season since 2015.
According to Spotrac, Buffalo has paid Hughes just over $64 million. Buffalo only paid him $870,000 in 2013, however, meaning Hughes has received over $63 million since he revived his career.
Is Jerry Hughes going to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame? Unless he starts putting up Myles Garrett-like numbers, the answer is most likely no.
Still, Hughes has had a career worth remembering in Buffalo. At age 32 and with 55.5 sacks to his name, it isn’t unrealistic to think Hughes can sneak to 70 career sacks before he hangs up his cleats.
All contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.