Bills swipe Star Lotulelei from Panthers

Sep 17 2017 Charlotte NC USA Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Star Lotulelei on the field in the 2cd quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 17 2017 Charlotte NC USA Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Star Lotulelei on the field in the 2cd quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills had hoped all along that their leader from the 2017 season, defensive tackle Kyle Williams, would return to them for at least one more season as they chased more than just a spot in the playoffs.

The team will sign former Panthers defensive tackle Star Lotulelei to a five-year contract when the new league year begins Wednesday, a league source confirmed to The Buffalo News. "At 6'2" and 315 pounds, however, the Utah product is a prototypical run-stuffer and space-eater in the middle of the line. But the run defense was ugly last season - they allowed a league-worst 18 rush TDs and a whopping 1,487 rush yards - after the team dealt away Marcell Dareus to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 8. Lotulelei will immediately fill that void for Buffalo.

Lotulelei's play has fallen off in recent years, but the familiarity with Bills head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane - who were in Carolina when they drafted Lotulelei - clearly carried a lot of weight.

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O'Leary caught a career-high 22 passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns last season in 15 games, including five starts.

A first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Lotulelei has been with the Carolina Panthers for the first five years of his career. He has been a starter for all 12 of his previous seasons.

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