How much will Terrel Bernard make in 2024 (and when can he sign an extension)?

New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills
New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills / Lauren Leigh Bacho/GettyImages

At this point last year, the Buffalo Bills had big questions at middle linebacker as their starter from the past five seasons, Tremaine Edmunds, had left in free agency and signed a monster contract with the Chicago Bears. The Bills were patient with their approach to the position, similar to wide receiver this year, and were prepared to enter training camp with an open competition.

One of those players was former third-round pick Terrel Bernard, who was pretty much an unknown as he didn't play much on defense during his rookie season. He would also miss most of the preseason due to an injury and entering Week 1 there was still plenty of concern at the position.

However, that concern quickly went away as Bernard began the season with four turnovers and two sacks in his first five games. He would finish the season with 143 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, three interceptions, and three fumble recoveries.

When can the Buffalo Bills sign Terrel Bernard to a contract extension?

This season, Bernard will be in the third year of his rookie contract and according to Spotrac has a cap hit of only $1.4 million. After the season Bernard had, the Buffalo Bills should feel confident that they have their starting middle linebacker of the future but are going to have to wait before they can sign an extension.

According to CBS Sports' Joel Curry, the Collective Bargaining Agreement doesn't allow players on their rookie contract to work out a new deal until after the final game of their third regular season. This means even if the Bills want to reach an extension with Terrel Bernard they are going to have to wait until after this season.

That could be good or bad news depending on how this season plays out. If Bernard has a similar performance that he did last season, the Bills should be confident in a long-term deal but it also means that Bernard could look to negotiate a bigger deal.