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Bills to sign defensive linemen Quinton Jefferson, Vernon Butler

The Bills continue to beef up their defensive line.

Buffalo is signing Panthers defensive tackle Vernon Butler and Seahawks defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson to two-year contracts, a league source confirmed, bolstering a unit that will lose defensive end Shaq Lawson and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips in free agency. The NFL Network first reported the deals.

Teams can officially begin to sign players at 4 p.m. Wednesday, though a league memo Tuesday night said teams will not be allowed to announce deals if physicals are pending, only if the contract is signed, according to the NFL Network. Players are not allowed to enter team facilities until March 31 because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Butler, who turns 26 in June, is a former first-round draft pick, the 30th overall selection out of Louisiana Tech in 2016. The 6-foot-4, 330-pound lineman has played in 52 career games. He started nine of 14 games last season, when he recorded 32 tackles, seven for loss, and six sacks and played 40 percent of the defensive snaps.

He will sign a two-year contract worth approximately $16 million with $9.3 million guaranteed, according to the report. The total value of the deal could climb to $18 million.

Jefferson is signing a two-year contract worth $13.5 million, according to ESPN.

Jefferson, who turns 28 this month and is listed at 6-foot-4 and 291 pounds, has played both end and tackle for the Seahawks since being drafted out of Maryland with a fifth-round pick in 2016.

He has started 24 of 30 games the last two seasons while recording 59 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss, and 7.5 sacks. He played 55 percent of the defensive snaps last season.

Jefferson’s versatility seems to appeal to the Bills, who frequently rotate along the defensive line.

"It’s been real Seattle! Nothing but love," Jefferson tweeted. 

Butler and Jefferson become the second and third defensive linemen to agree to sign with Buffalo since the start of the legal tampering period Monday, when the Bills agreed to terms with former Panthers defensive end Mario Addison, who plans to sign a three-year deal.

The Bills’ new defensive line coach, Eric Washington, had the same role on Carolina’s staff last season, giving him first-hand experience working with Butler and Addison.

The additions give the Bills a group of 12 on the defensive line in ends: Jerry Hughes, Trent Murphy, Addison, Mike Love, Darryl Johnson, Jonathan Woodard and tackles Ed Oliver, Star Lotulelei, Harrison Phillips, Jefferson, Butler, and Vincent Taylor.

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