Salary Cap Situation
Heading into this offseason, the Buffalo Bills are projected to be around $51 million in the hole. Now, the NFL salary cap for next season is not set yet, so that number is likely to drop a little as the NFL’s new television deals hit. So, it will be less than that, but regardless, the Bills likely have to clear $40-plus million, just to be cap-compliant. Luckily for the Bills and those fans panicking, the general manager is Brandon Beane, who has been a numbers wizard since taking over in Buffalo.
The most popular option teams use to clear money is restructuring. The Bills can clear almost half of their negative money by restructuring Josh Allen’s deal and saving around $23 million. Von Miller is a prime candidate to be restructured and would open up savings, however, he did not rebound well this season from injury and if you restructure him, you will lose the opt-out he has on his contract after the season. Same with Stefon Diggs; while he can be restructured, you will lose out on his opt-out after next season, and he’s heading into his 30s.
The Bills have several options to continue clearing space, but they could reward some of their players with contract extensions and work it to lower their cap hits for this upcoming season. As we know, Brandon Beane likes to backload his contracts because the salary cap goes up every year. Taron Johnson, who was an All-Pro nickel cornerback this year, has a $12 million cap hit this year and is entering the last year of his deal. Extending a player of his importance and lowering his cap hit massively is a no-brainer and something we should expect to see. Rasul Douglas was a phenomenal deadline acquisition by the team, and he carries a $9 million cap hit for next year. Another no-brainer extension candidate to lock up a player who fits the team seamlessly and opens up more money.
There are a couple of cut options as well that could clear decent amounts of cap. Cutting Deonte Harty would save nearly $4.2 million. Nyheim Hines being cut would save the team close to $5 million. Mitch Morse is a cut candidate as well, simply because the team would save a little over $8 million. However, Morse wants to be back, and I would expect something else to be done there, possibly an extension, to keep one of the best centers in the league and a top-notch leader in Buffalo.
The Bills are not backed up against a salary cap wall like the media keeps trying to hammer home, they have outs and will use them.