The Buffalo Bills have some room to make moves in free agency after a pair of big-ticket contract moves.
The team cleared close to $30 million in cap space ahead of the start of free agency by restructuring the contracts of quarterback Josh Allen and edge rusher Von Miller, ESPN’s Field Yates reported. Though some contract restructures were expected as the Bills built the flexibility into both contracts and needed to dig out from a roughly $20 million cap deficit, combined the two big moves have sparked speculation that the Bills could be more active buyers in free agency.
Bills Hinted at Cap-Saving Moves
Bills general manager Brandon Beane said earlier in the offseason that the team would be reworking some contracts in order to create space, and got the work started last week with a new deal for defensive lineman Tim Settle and an extension for running back Nyheim Hines.
Many expected the Bills to restructure Allen’s contract, which was built with the flexibility to convert a significant portion into a signing bonus in order to spread out the cap hit.
As Sal Maiorana of the Democrat & Chronicle noted, Beane had hinted that it would still be a tight offseason for the Bills.
“It gets tighter and tighter. We are tight on the cap this year and we’re gonna be tight next year looking at it from a forecasting standpoint,” Beane said. “We got a couple of tough years coming up to do that. We will strategically push some money forward with some restructures coming up to get under the cap and then give us the opportunity to operate and fill some holes on both sides of the ball.”
Bills Have Already Lost Key Free Agent
Despite the increased flexibility that came through restructuring the contracts of Allen and Miller, the Bills have already lost out on one key free agent. Pro-Bowl linebacker Tremaine Edmunds agreed to a four-year, $72 million deal with the Chicago Bears that will become official at the start of the new NFL year on Wednesday.
As NFL.com’s Eric Edholm reported, the deal included $50 million in guaranteed money and came as the Bears went on a spending spree to improve their league-worst team.
“Edmunds is the latest piece of a flurry of moves for the Bears on the first day of the free agency negotiating window,” Edholm reported, adding that the Bears entered the offseason with the most cap space in the league.
The Bills could also lose another top member of the defense, with indications that All-Pro safety Jordan Poyer could also find a new team. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on March 13 that there was mutual interest between Poyer and the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Bills have some other key players headed to free agency, including running back Devin Singletary.
Despite the departure of Edmunds and the possibility that Poyer could leave as well, the Bills have also brought back some key players on new deals. The team announced a contract extension for linebacker Matt Milano and new contracts for punter Sam Martin and special teams ace Tyler Matakevich.