During the Buffalo Bills‘ mandatory minicamp this week, tight end Dawson Knox opened up about his contract negotiations, as he’s entering the final year of his rookie contract, and is due for a major pay raise.
Knox’s base salary for the 2022 NFL season is $2.5 million, and if the Bills don’t sign him to an extension, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent in 2023. According to Spotrac.com, the 26-year-old is projected to earn a four-year, $50 million extension, which would bump his annual base salary to an average of $12.4 million.
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After Knox’s breakout year, he caught 49 receptions for 587 yards and nine touchdowns during the 2021 season, locking down the team’s former third-round pick from the 2019 NFL Draft seems to be a no-brainer. However, Knox is just one of many key players up for an extension this year, including Jordan Poyer, 31, Devin Singletary, 24, and Tremaine Edmunds, 23.
The Ole Miss alum broke his silence on possibly hitting free agency next year while speaking to the media on Wednesday, June 15. While Poyer is in the midst of a months-long public campaign for a new deal, Knox is hoping the work speaks for itself and remains focused on having another great season.
“I don’t think it’s any different than any other year,” Knox said, as reported by WKBW’s Adam Unger. “You start thinking about stuff like that, it’s just gonna distract you from how you’re playing on the field, so it’s just same old year, same old thing.”
It sounds like Knox is letting his agent, Rep 1 Sports Chase Callahan, take care of the business side, while he stays concentrated on upgrading his game.
Knox Opened Up About the Bills Signing TE O.J. Howard in Free Agency
During free agency, the Bills signed former Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard to a one-year, $3.5 million deal. During his five seasons in Tampa Bay, he tallied 119 receptions for 1,737 yards and 15 touchdowns. The former first-round pick of the 2017 NFL Draft is only 27 years old, and his presence adds heavy competition for the starting role in Buffalo.
Instead of feeling slighted by the addition of the 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end, Knox says he loves having another legit receiving weapon on the team.
“Just his size,” Knox said amid minicamp, per Bills Wire. “He makes you feel small. That dude is massive. He’s got a great catch radius, he runs good routes, and he’s strong too. A very well-rounded tight end and I think he’ll make a splash for us this year.”
Knox, who’s no small guy himself at 6-foot-4 and 254 pounds, said, “There’s gonna be so much versatility in this offense now. 12 and 13 personnel,” Knox said. “Bring us in, run the ball, spread us out, and get us good matchups. And he’s a great dude, too. So, he’s just kind of increasing the work ethic of the whole group. And anytime you can increase competition in the group it’s just gonna make the whole group better.”
The Bills Can’t Keep Every Player Due for an Extension
Bills general manager Brandon Beane has some tough decisions to make when it comes to deciding which players he’ll keep following the 2022 NFL season, especially since quarterback Josh Allen’s salary comes with a $39.7 million cap hit in 2023, per Spotrac.com, Stefon Diggs’ new extension comes with an approximately $20.3 million hit, and Von Miller’s deal depletes another $18.7 million.
Back on April 22, Beane discussed the difficult situation of having so many worth players due for an extension at the same time, as reported by The Athletic‘s Joe Buscaglia:
Yeah, I mean, it’s hard. There’s other guys here that want to be paid, too… I want to pay ’em all — the ones that deserve it and have earned it. There’s other guys here that I feel have earned it as well, and want to do it. There’s guys that have left here since I’ve been here that I’ve wanted to pay, or our organization has wanted to pay, but you can’t pay them all, to the point of your question. And that’s hard because I’m a people person. I love these guys and love ’em to death, but I also have a job to do and have rules to follow. From a cap standpoint and cash. Unfortunately, you have to say goodbye to some.