NFL Analyst Calls Bills Veteran Center ‘Worst Free Agent Signing’

Mitch Morse

Getty Mitch Morse #60 of the Buffalo Bills during a game against the New England Patriots on November 01, 2020.

The Buffalo Bills deserve applause for working salary cap magic in free agency, restructuring several veteran contracts in order to add depth to nearly every area of their roster. However, there’s one free agent that Buffalo re-signed which Bleacher Report’s Adam Kay calls a misstep.

In assessing the Bills’ roster heading into the 2022 NFL season thus far, Kay determined their “worst free-agent signing” was keeping center Mitch Morse. On March 14, the veteran signed to a two-year, $19.5 extension, which will keep him under contract through the 2024 NFL season.

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Morse’s initial cap for 2022 was $11.25 million, but under the restructured extension, that number is lowered to $9 million, as reported by The Athletic‘s Joe Buscaglia, which saves the Bills over $2 million in cap space this year. Per, Morse’s deal includes a $7.5 million signing bonus and $12 million guaranteed.

However, Kay wrote that Buffalo may grow to regret this signing due to the long-term financial ramifications, especially after inking eight-time Pro Bowler Von Miller to a monster six-year, $120 million contract.

“The Miller signing made the decision to retain center Mitch Morse on a two-year, $19.5 million contract extension look even more questionable,” Kay wrote. “While the move did lower Morse’s cap hit… it’s still a steep price to pay for a player that is coming off his worst season in years.

The Bills Could’ve Saved $8.5 Million By Releasing Morse

Bills general manager Brandon Beane made a lot of difficult decisions heading into the offseason, unloading veteran wide receiver Cole Beasley, right guard Daryl Williams, and center Jon Feliciano to create cap space. Beane, however, was unwilling to release Morse, which was baffling to Kay.

“Morse scored a middling 63.4 Pro Football Focus grade in 2021, his lowest mark since the 2017 campaign,” Kay wrote. “The 29-year-old has only two seasons graded above a 70.0 since entering the league in 2015, but the most recent those came back in 2018.

“The team should have also considered cutting ties with Morse. 
The move would have saved $8.5 million, per PFF, a significant chunk of change that could have been utilized to lure a more productive interior lineman or upgrade another position of need.”

Morse Said He Wants to Retire in Bills Uniform

While speaking to the media earlier this month, Morse mentioned that staying in Buffalo was his No.1 choice. “For me personally, I’d love to retire in a Buffalo Bills uniform,” Morse said. “And this gave me an opportunity to continue playing. I think both sides mutually came to a point where they were happy with the deal and then excited.”

The 6-foot-6 Missouri alum continued, “I always knew the fan base was rabid and there was a love for the sport. But the town, the organization, it’s been a beautiful blessing.”

As next season, Morse is looking to turn things up a notch. “I feel like last year I was able to take a step in the right direction with communication, dialogue with the quarterback, dialogue with the offense, just kind of being able to see stuff going on.”

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