The Buffalo Bills made some smart moves to clear up their salary cap space. Here’s a look into how it affects who they can sign before the NFL Draft.
In-between the start of free agency and the NFL Draft is a good time to look at how teams are managing their salary cap. Thanks to some roster moves, the Buffalo Bills have freed up some space heading into the next stage of the off-season — the NFL Draft.
The Public Salary Cap report updated daily by the NFLPA reports the Bills have $12.5 million in cap space. That number doesn’t include the recent signing of defensive end Scott Crichton, which didn’t go as planned. ESPN’s Mike Rodak estimated that Crichton would’ve cost $933,081 — if he makes the final roster. Of course, he failed his physical and was recently waived by the team.
That sounds like a decent chunk of change to make more low-cost signings, but there’s a catch. According to Spotrac the Bills have $6.3 million set aside for draft signings, which isn’t included yet in the cap calculations. Doing some simple math, that means they have about $6.2 million in cap space to acquire free agents.
The Buffalo Bills have made a flurry of low-cost signings the past few weeks, including Mike Tolbert, Andre Holmes, Jeremy Butler and Corey Washington. Sean McDermott and Doug Whaley deserve credit for finding cheap guys that can contribute at levels around their pay grade.
While wide receiver is still an issue, the spurt of small-scale additions (Holmes, Butler, Corey Brown) gives the team cheap depth. Any attempt to get a legitimate number two behind Sammy Watkins will probably happen in the draft, not free agency.
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The secondary is in a similar situation. Signing Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer and Leonard Johnson gives the defensive backfield an upgraded look for appropriate money. Cornerback still remains a problem, so it’s possible Buffalo gets a cheap free agent like Brandon Flowers or Leon Hall, while also adding depth through the draft.
So how could the rest of Buffalo’s off-season spending shake out? Free-agent linebacker Zach Brown has been linked to the Miami Dolphins and wants around $6 to 8 million. Matching that would eat up all of Buffalo’s remaining cap, so he likely won’t return.
Without Brown back, the Buffalo Bills are very thin at linebacker. It’s a list that only has Lorenzo Alexander, Reggie Ragland, Preston Brown and Ramon Huber on it. Buffalo should use their remaining cash to snap up a player like Erik Walden or the recently released Ray Maualuga.
Another position to imagine the Buffalo Bills adding to in free agency is quarterback. Tyrod Taylor is the man for 2017, but nobody knows who will back him up. It’s unknown if Cardale Jones is ready to be a number two.
Meanwhile, Jay Cutler or Colin Kaepernick might cost a bit too much for the Bills considering what they have. A veteran back-up like Case Keenum could be a good pick-up here.
$6.2 million doesn’t sound like a lot of money to spend for a football team. But if the Buffalo Bills make the right signings, those small investments could pay off with a playoff berth.
Who do YOU think the Buffalo Bills should use their remaining cap space on in free agency? Leave your comments below!