Hughes was asked about the possibility of being franchised in the coming weeks, and while he said that he wouldn’t “necessarily be disappointed” by the move, he would still prefer to get a long-term contract in place.
“I wouldn’t necessarily be disappointed,” Hughes said. “I do want [a long-term deal], but the pay increase is also a huge added bonus. It’s kind of a mixed emotions between both.”
Whaley said previously that they have been in contact with this representatives and they are hoping to have him back for another season.
“We’ve been so consumed with this coaching search that I haven’t been able to talk to (Senior VP of Administration Jim Overdorf) to find out where we stand there and once Rex finishes his staff then we’ll turn our attention to that,” Whaley said, via BuffaloBills.com. “But I know Jim has been in touch with his representatives and started the process.
“We’re excited and we want him back,” said Whaley of Hughes. “He’s a great part of our defense and hopefully we can get it done sooner rather than later.”
Hughes stressed that he “absolutely” wants to be back in Buffalo, but there appears to be a decent chance that he could reach the open market this March.
For what it’s worth, the franchise tag would run the Bills around $13 million fully guaranteed for the 2015 season.
Hughes, 26, will be an unrestricted free agent in March, and he should be one of the most sought after defensive ends in this year’s free agent class.
In 2014, Hughes recorded 53 tackles, 9.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, one recovery and even scored a defensive touchdown for the Bills defense. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 14 defensive end in a 4-3 system out of 59 qualifying players.
We have Hughes currently listed as the No. 17 player in our Top 50 Free Agents list.