BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips preferred re-signing with the Buffalo Bills as payback for providing him a fresh start over the opportunity to test the free agent market next week.
“Buffalo resurrected my career, and I feel like they should reap the benefits from it,” Phillips said during a conference call Tuesday shortly after signing a one-year, $4.5 million contract.
The Bills announced the signing, while a person with direct knowledge of the contract provided The Associated Press with its value. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the value of the contract was not revealed.
For Phillips, the contract’s worth and length were secondary to the chance to return to the Bills, who claimed the 2015 second-round draft pick off waivers after he was released by Miami in early October.
“I felt like this was the best opportunity for me,” he said. “The money can be made up another time. If you fit somewhere, you need to stay, so that’s just how I felt.”
Phillips found a fit in Buffalo over the final three months of the season after having difficulty playing to expectations and gaining a reputation for being an underachiever during his first three-plus seasons with the Dolphins.
The last straw came when the Dolphins cut Phillips two days after he had an angry outburst on the sideline during a 38-7 loss to New England on Sept 30.
In Buffalo, he established himself as a dependable backup behind starters Kyle Williams and Star Lotulelei. Phillips had a fumble recovery and was credited with two tackles for losses in 12 games on a Bills defense that finished second in the NFL.
Another advantage to staying in Buffalo is Phillips already being familiar with the defensive scheme and players. He also has a chance to gain more playing time after Williams retired after last season.
Phillips immediately showed how much he enjoyed his new home by drawing cheers from the stands while jumping up and down and waving his arms during his first game with Buffalo. And he didn’t hide the hard feelings he still bore toward the Dolphins.
“Most people that leave Miami, that’s really when their career gets started,” Phillips said, before facing his former team for the first time on Dec. 2.
Now, he’s using the new contract as a chance to put behind what happened in Miami.
“Buffalo feels like home,” Phillips said. “I felt like a lot of negative things that were talked about me came to light that weren’t true.”
Overall, he has 5½ sacks and 14 tackles for losses in 60 games, including 26 starts.