Buffalo Bills: Is Tremaine Edmunds heading for a big payday?

Tremaine Edmunds, Buffalo Bills (Syndication: Democrat and Chronicle)
Tremaine Edmunds, Buffalo Bills (Syndication: Democrat and Chronicle) /

The 2018 NFL Draft will be remembered as the one that the Buffalo Bills drafted Josh Allen and for good reason. The franchise had spent over two decades searching for their next franchise quarterback since Jim Kelly retired and they finally found that in Allen.

However, that draft the Bills had a second first round pick and selected linebacker Tremaine Edmunds out of Virginia Tech. Since that selection Edmunds has been the starting middle linebacker for the Bills, starting 61 games with 463 career tackles and earning two Pro Bowl nominations in 2019 and 2020.

Even with the success that he has had on this defense, Edmunds is one of the most debated players among the fanbase. There are concerns about whether or not he can become that top tier linebacker and those with concerns will point to the lack of impact plays with only 5.5 career sacks, four career interceptions, and two forced fumbles (which both came in his rookie season).

Are the Buffalo Bills going to break the bank for Tremaine Edmunds?

The challenge for the Buffalo Bills front office is that they are going to have to make a decision over the next year about whether or not to make Edmunds one of the highest paid players at his position.

Recently, Alex Kay at Bleacher Report put together an article of players set to be free agents next season that could break the bank. He listed Tremaine Edmunds as one of the six that could earn big contracts in free agency alongside players like Lamar Jackson and Deebo Samuels.

"Unfortunately for the Bills, it will likely cost the club heavily to retain Edmunds even if he doesn’t have a true breakout season in 2022.He’s already going to cost nearly $13 million for the upcoming campaign after the organization picked up his fifth-year option, making him one of the higher-paid linebackers in football, and another promising showing could push the value of his next contract into the upper stratosphere for the position."

As Kay notes, the Bills did pick up the fifth-year option so he has a cap hit of $12,716,000, which is the fifth-highest among inside linebackers this coming season.

The challenge for Beane lies in that final point by Kay about whether or not Buffalo believes he can take that next step this coming season or if he has shown the best of what he can do. If he has a breakout year by adding those impact plays, he will likely be out of reach for the Buffalo Bills to bring back.

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However, if they agree to a contract extension this offseason it could end up looking like a bargain even a year later as some of the other big contract extensions the Bills have worked out have like with Tre’Davious White, Dion Dawkins, and Josh Allen.