Tremaine Edmunds is as well-regarded around the NFL as he is in Buffalo.
ESPN recently starting publishing its annual lists that rank the top-50 players at each position. This week, the linebackers were given their chance to shine, and Edmunds is slotted inside of the top-10.
ESPN polled more than 50 executives, coaches, scouts and players for its rankings.
The most interesting part of Edmunds’ ranking is the array of opinions on the two-time Pro Bowler. One person ranked Edwards as the league’s No. 1 middle linebacker, while another respondent didn’t rank him in the top-15 at all. After calculating the averages, Edmunds lands at No. 8.
This is actually a slight drop for Edmunds, who was placed at No. 7 last year. That’s a little peculiar, considering Edmunds was (slightly) more productive in 2020 than the previous season. He recorded 119 tackles and two sacks — up from 115 sacks and 1.5 sacks in 2019. Overall, Edmunds has never accumulated less than 115 tackles in a season.
With that resume in mind, it isn’t surprising to see Edmunds as the only linebacker from the AFC East in these rankings. The only other linebacker from the AFC is Darius Leonard of the Indianapolis Colts, who comes in at No. 4.
"This guy is tough — very rangy against the pass, good instincts,” said an NFC coach of Edmunds. “Tough for us to deal with.”
The Bills picked up Edmunds’ fifth-year option earlier this offseason, which will keep him in Buffalo through 2022. He’s set to earn $12.7 million.
Much like Josh Allen, who’s fifth-year option was also picked up, Edmunds’ deal is viewed as a placeholder. Brandon Beane said the goal is to sign him long-term, despite Buffalo’s upcoming cap dilemma.
“Josh's number is in the 20s because of a Pro Bowl. Tremaine has made a couple Pro Bowls, he's pushing 13,” he said, per NFL Media. “You can't really be flexible with those cap numbers, so we got to make sure if we pick them both up that we're going to have close to 35 million space in next year's cap. It's not an ideal scenario from that to pick them both up and not extend them, so we just got to figure out how to make that work in our system.”