Bills Cut $19.5 Million Starter in ‘Shocking’ Move Amid Roster Reset

Mitch Morse

Getty Bills center Mitch Morse #60 on August 12, 2023 in Orchard Park, New York.

The Buffalo Bills started cleaning house on Wednesday, March 6.

The Bills announced that they parted ways with Jordan Poyer, Siran Neal, Deonte Harty, and Nyheim Hines. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Buffalo is also parting ways with former first-rounder, Tre’Davious White.

Buffalo is also cutting starting center Mitch Morse. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo was the first to break the news of Morse’s release. The veteran, who’s played for Buffalo since 2019, was entering the final year of his $19.5 million contract.

“After five seasons in Buffalo, the 2022 Pro Bowl selection will be a free agent,” Garafolo noted. Spectrum News 1 Buffalo’s Jon Scott called Buffalo releasing Morse, the “most shocking move yet.”

Morse, who turns 32 in April, anchored the offensive line for Bills quarterback Josh Allen this past season. The Buffalo News’ Mark Gaughan wrote in late February, “Purely from a football perspective, Morse’s position as starting center should be as secure as ever as he heads into the last year of his contract.”

However, he “has a salary cap number for the 2024 season of $11.47 million, currently ninth largest on the team. If the Bills release Morse, he will count only $3 million against the cap. The team would save $8.47 million in cap space.”

After Buffalo traded offensive lineman Ryan Bates, who played backup center all season, it seemed Morse’s role was solidified in Buffalo.

After Morse’s cut was announced, WROC TV’s Thad Brown posted, “This one is an absolute stunner. Morse said he wanted to be back. Has taken less to stay in Buffalo before. He was still one of the #Bills top two OL last year. I won’t dismiss possibility he comes back anyway, but a straight release like this seems to indicate otherwise.”

The Bills entered the offseason $43.3 million over the $255.4 million cap limit. While they could cut that number in half simply by restructuring Allen’s contract, it seems Bills general manager Brandon Beane is ready for a reset.

Connor McGovern Will Take Over for Mitch Morse at Center

Connor McGovern, Mitch Morse

GettyBills offensive lineman Connor McGovern #66 and Mitch Morse at Gillette Stadium on October 22, 2023.

Without Bates and Morse, the Bills will look internally for a new starting center. The Athletic’s Tim Graham posted, “Connor McGovern will move to center with the Bills releasing Mitch Morse, source tells me. David Edwards will compete at guard.”

Earlier on Wednesday, the Bills moved to extend Edwards, 26. The 33rd Team’s Ari Meirov reported the Bills were signing Edwards “to a 2-year deal worth $6M with potential for more with incentives.”

Edwards, who has 45 career starts, gets to stay in Buffalo before becoming a free agent next week.” The 2019 fifth-round pick spent the first four seasons of his career with the Los Angeles Rams.

McGovern was one of the Bills’ biggest free agent signings last offseason. Buffalo inked the 27-year-old guard to a three-year, $27 million contract. The Bills restructured McGovern’s contract at the end of February, which cleared approximately $3.7 million in cap space for 2024.

The Bills Cleared Nearly $26 Million in Cap Space

By releasing Poyer, Morse, Neal, Harty, and Hines, the Bills created approximately $25.96 million in salary cap space, Schefter posted. Buffalo will clear another $10.2 milion with White’s gone, “but only after June 1st.”

WGR 550’s Sal Capaccio noted the Bills will take “dead cap hits of $6.2M in 2024 and $4.1M in 2025” with White’s release. The first-team All-Pro will become a free agent on March 13.

Much of Bills Mafia’s jaws were on the floor to see so many veteran players getting the axe. Both Neal and White have spent their entire NFL careers in Buffalo. Poyer has played for the Bills since 2017, Morse since 2019.

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