Buffalo Bills 2021 Offseason Position Preview: Linebacker

The one decision the Buffalo Bills have to make that will have a significant impact on the rest of their offseason plan is what do to do with Matt Milano. The starting linebacker will be one of the top free agents this year and if the Bills want to bring him back, it will certainly be with a big contract.

However, this isn’t the only decision the Buffalo Bills will have to make at the position this offseason. Let’s take a look at the linebackers under contract and who is a free agent entering this offseason.

Under Contract in 2021

Tremaine Edmunds

A.J. Klein

Tyrel Dodson

Tyler Matakevich

The Buffalo Bills have four linebackers under contract for next season, starting with Tremaine Edmunds. He was one of the Bills first round picks in 2018 and has been the team’s starting middle linebacker for the past three years.

He is entering the final year of his rookie contract but the Bills do have the option to pick up a fifth-year option this offseason. While not a guarantee, this is something that is likely to happen.

After Edmunds is A.J. Klein who had a slow start to the year but played very well down the stretch in place of the injured Matt Milano. He should return as a veteran option, either as a backup or potentially the starter.

Tyrel Dodson got a chance to see his first regular season action and actually started two games earlier in the year. He showed potential and could be another potential replacement for Matt Milano if he were to leave.

As for Tyler Matakevich, he is primarily a special teams player but is one of the best in the league at what he does. However, he could be cut this offseason to free up over $3 million in cap space for the Buffalo Bills.

Free Agents

Matt Milano – Unrestricted Free Agent

Del’Shawn Phillips – Unrestricted Free Agent

Andre Smith – Restricted Free Agent

As mentioned previously, Matt Milano is one of the best free agents available this offseason. He is likely to have a good market and the question will be if the Buffalo Bills want to try to match or beat any offer for Milano.

The two other linebackers, Del’Shawn Phillips and Andre Smith, are more depth players and special team contributors. If the Bills only bring back one of these players it would likely be Smith as they did trade for him last offseason and he is a restricted free agent, which helps the Bills in negotiations.