The Buffalo Bills will be looking for some cap space this offseason, and a new report suggests that a recently extended starter could be one of the casualties.
General manager Brandon Beane has made it clear that the team doesn’t have room for any big signings this offseason, but there is the potential to create some more space by releasing a few players who could give cap savings. Nick Wojton of USA Today’s Bills Wire broke down some of the players who could end up on the chopping block, noting that starting guard Jon Feliciano could be a top candidate.
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Feliciano’s Status in Peril
Feliciano became a key target for the 2021 offseason, with the Bills handing him a three-year contract extension that even Feliciano admitted was below what he could have gotten on the open market. Beane prioritized bringing back key players from the team that had just reached the AFC Championship game, which included linebacker Matt Milano and lineman Daryl Williams along with Feliciano.
At the time, Feliciano said he grew closer to head coach Sean McDermott while he was recovering from a torn pectoral muscle, which helped convince the lineman to stay in Buffalo.
“There were tough conversations. There were great conversations. He was just there throughout the whole thing,” Feliciano said, via the Buffalo News. “I believe our relationship just took off from there. That was one of the main reasons I wanted to come back, just knowing I have a guy that’s in my corner and a guy that, we both see the game the same way – both see winning the same way.”
But the relationship with Feliciano could now be ending just as quickly. Wojton noted that Feliciano appeared more dispensible after he missed time due to injury and COVID-19 and replacements Ike Boettger and Ryan Bates fill in well.
“Feliciano moving on via cut or trade seems likely,” Wojton wrote, noting it would bring a potential savings of $3.4 million.
More Tough Decisions
Even if the Bills decide to keep Feliciano, there will likely be at least a few other important players on the chopping block. Wojton noted that defensive lineman Star Lotulelei, who missed the 2020 season after opting out due to COVID-19 and missed more time last season with injuries and a COVID-19 infection, may have played his last down for the Bills.
Cutting Lotulelei wouldn’t be so clear-cut, however. Wojton noted that the opt-out pushed Lotulelei’s contract back a year, so the Bills would not be able to save the $6.3 million that would have originally been available for cutting the 33-year-old.
There could be other ways to save on cap space. The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia suggested that the Bills could ask wide receiver Cole Beasley to take a pay cut so that his salary better reflects his value to the team.
“Beasley is a good player, but he should not account for a nearly $8 million cap hit,” he wrote. “The Bills could offer Beasley a base salary reduction to get his cap hit down to the range of $4.5 million to $6 million and fully guarantee the salary. At his age, Beasley is unlikely to get more on the open market — in total money and guaranteed money — than what the Bills would offer.”