Richie Incognito signed a three-year deal with the Buffalo Bills today.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the deal is worth roughly $15 million over three years. Incognito announced the signing himself on twitter.
In a recent article, we speculated that $5 million per season would be the magic number to get a deal done. It seems like we were correct as per the below tweet from Ian Rapoport. Before the deal got done, the tension between the Buffalo Bills front office, Incognito, and his agent had been spilling over into the public eye. Someone from the Bills side leaked out that Buffalo was “frustrated” with Incognito during negotiations.
In addition to that leak, the Buffalo Bills had a very public free agent visit from former New Orleans Saints guard Jahri Evans. Evans posted about the visit to Buffalo on twitter. The team was not shy in flaunting this visit for all to see in a move that was likely meant to put pressure on Incognito to agree to terms.
Sal Capaccio reports that Incognito said he took a discount to stay with the team. It’s possible that he felt the pressure of the Bills public flirtation with Jahri Evans and that’s why Richie chose to take less money than other teams were offering to stay in Buffalo.
Maybe it was the Bills who were motivated to get a deal done when they saw the massive contract that fellow guard Kelechi Osemele will receive from the Raiders tomorrow once he is able to sign. His contract will be for $60 million over five years. The Raiders might intend to play him at tackle and that could be why he was offered such a large contract.
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If Osemele does get paid $12 million per year to play guard that would be remarkable because it would be more than all but two teams have allocated to all of their players at the guard position in 2016 according to Spotrac.com.
Giving Incognito a three-year deal is a bit of a risk because he will turn 33 before the start of the season. However, he had one of, if not the best season of his career last year, and the time he spent out of the NFL prevented his body from having the usual wear and tear of a 33-year-old NFL player. The Bills did not have any better options and bringing Incognito back was the right move.
With Incognito under contract, the Bills can now focus on other positions that they need to address in the draft and free agency. Most notably their safety, defensive end and linebacker spots need the most improvement.
Buffalo doesn’t have much money to spend unless they restructure more contracts or are able to sign Stephon Gilmore to a long-term deal that will reduce his cap hit in 2016 to less than the current amount of $11 million. Don’t expect the Bills to make any additional major signings in free agency as they fill out their roster without some crafty moves by Jim Overdorf (Sr. VP of Football Administration) their salary cap “guru”.
Details of Richie Incognito’s contract have emerged according to Spotrac.com.
Based on the way the contract is structured, the Bills will likely cut Incognito before the 2018 season when his cap hit becomes excessive. His base salary is only guaranteed for the 2016 season so releasing him before 2018 will only amount to $1.15 million in dead money.