Heading into the offseason, Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane knew that he was going to have to get creative with the limited salary cap and it sounds like he is starting to take those steps.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Bills have reworked center Mitch Morse’s contract to cut his salary by nearly $2 million in order to keep the veteran in Buffalo.
A couple of players reworked their deals to stick for 2021:
— #Bills C Mitch Morse cut his salary by nearly $2M to stay in Buffalo, source said.
— #Packers WR Devin Funchess took a roughly $750K paycut to stick in Green Bay after opting out last year, source said.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2021
With a looming cap hit of $10.3 million this season, according to Spotrac.com, Morse was seen as a possible cap casualty for the Bills this season. Reworking his contract frees up money for the Bills in free agency and according to WGR550 reporter Sal Capaccio, Morse wanted to help his team.
“According to a league source, there was definitely no ultimatum for Mitch Morse to take a pay cut in order to stay with the Bills,” Capaccio tweeted out Tuesday morning. “He knew the team needed some cap space and wanted to help. Mutual agreement to lower 2021 base salary by $2M, some of which he has a chance to earn back.”
Morse missed two regular season games this past season after suffering a concussion against the New England Patriots in Week 8, but he’s been a consistent name on the offensive line since joining the Bills in 2019. He’s started in all 30 of the games he’s played in and has developed a unique relationship with everyone on the offensive line, as well as quarterback Josh Allen.
He also played in 81% of Buffalo’s offensive snaps this past season.
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The Bills Still Have Plenty of Questions to Answer
Although reworking Morse’s contract helps, the Bills still have plenty of questions to answer across the offensive line. Two of them are revolved around interior lineman Jon Feliciano and right tackle Daryl Williams.
Feliciano has already come out this offseason and stated that he sees himself as a Bill on Tim Graham and Friends.
“Honestly, I don’t see myself going anywhere,” Feliciano told The Athletic’s Tim Graham and Matthew Fairburn during his appearance on their podcast. “I love Buffalo and I know how they feel about me. I’m going to stay optimistic and I don’t like change. Honestly, when I think of next season, I see myself as a Bill. We’ll see what happens, but I think both sides want the same thing so it’s just a matter of time, I think.”
Williams might be a little more difficult. He’s coming off one of the better seasons in his career and is entering free agency as one of the top 50 free agents, according to Pro Football Focus. But, Williams talent comes at a price and according to Spotrac.com he has a calculated market value of $7.8 million. So, if the Bills want to bring back one of their better offensive linemen from this past season, Beane might have to work a little more of his magic.
Morse Could Be The First Player to Rework His Contract
With the lower salary cap this season, which ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported will be around $180 million, there are plenty of Bills players who could be cap casualties. But, after their run this past season, and how close they came to winning a Super Bowl, there could be a few more players willing to rework their contract to help the team.
Wide receiver John Brown might be one of them. Entering the final year of his contract, he’s set to have a $9.5 million cap hit, according to Spotrac.com, after a year that was riddled by injuries and he only played in nine games.
Defensive end Jerry Hughes is also another. As one of the leaders of the team, don’t expect him to go anywhere and he’d probably be one of the first to help the team out. He’s set to have a $9.45 million cap hit this season, according to Spotrac.com.
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