The Buffalo Bills had a bitter end to their season, falling flat against the Cincinnati Bengals in the divisional round and getting bounced out of the NFL playoffs.
Pro Bowl linebacker Tremaine Edmunds said he hopes it’s not his final chapter with the team.
Edmunds has been one of the most important players on defense, and now will be one of the team’s most important decisions of the offseason. He is set to become a free agent in March, but said after Sunday’s loss that he hopes to be able to re-sign with the team that moved up in the 2018 NFL Draft to land him.
Tremaine Edmunds Opens Up on His Future With the Bills
“Hopefully I’m here, I love it here, I love the brothers that I’ve created since I’ve been here, the coaching staff, the community has welcomed me so hopefully things will turn out to be in my favor as far as being here,” Edmunds said, via Heather Prusak of News 4 Buffalo.
Edmunds made 102 tackles last season, including six tackles for a loss and one sack. He also made one interception.
Tough Choices Ahead for Bills
It’s not clear if the Bills have plans to keep Edmunds. They locked down fellow linebacker Matt Milano with a four-year, $44-million extension in 2021 and are facing a salary cap crunch for the coming season. Quarterback Josh Allen’s cap hit will jump from $16.4 million in 2022 to nearly $40 million next season, while Von Miller’s cap hit jumps to $18.6 million.
With more limited resources, the Bills will need to make some difficult decisions about which players to keep, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Aside from Edmunds, safety Jordan Poyer will also be headed to free agency and had expressed a desire for a contract extension.
As Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox noted, the Bills may need to find ways to create cap space, including a potential split with a trade-deadline acquisition.
“The Bills are short on viable cap-cut candidates, so general manager Brandon Beane may have to look at restructuring a few contracts to clear space,” Knox wrote. “One cut candidate is running back and returner Nyheim Hines, who was acquired during the season in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts.
“Hines is under contract through 2024 and is set to carry a $4.8 million cap hit in 2023. However, he has no guarantees left on his deal, and the Bills could save the full $4.8 million by releasing him.”
Other free agents have already expressed a desire to stay in Buffalo. Wide receiver Cole Beasley, who came out of retirement to rejoin the Bills late this season, reportedly expressed a desire to come back for another season.
“Cole Beasley said he wants to play another season and would like to be back with the #Bills if they will have him,” Prusak tweeted. “He said his son last night after the game was already asking if they could be back in Buffalo next year.”