Roquan Smith’s Mega Deal Could Hurt Bills’ Offseason Plans: Insider

Tremaine Edmunds

Getty Tremaine Edmunds pressures the quarterback in a Buffalo Bills game.

If the Buffalo Bills had plans to re-sign Pro Bowl linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, those plans may have gotten more expensive.

The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia wrote that the Bills were expected to prioritize Edmunds among all of their pending free agents, aiming to bring back the 25-year-old who has become the centerpiece of one of the league’s best defenses. But Buscaglia added that the $100 million contract extension the Baltimore Ravens gave to their own Pro Bowl linebacker, Roquan Smith, may have skewed the market and made Buffalo’s offseason plans more difficult.

Tremain Edmunds May be Getting More Expensive for Bills

As Buscaglia noted, the Bills will be able to free up enough salary cap space to sign either Edmunds or All-Pro safety Jordan Poyer. He noted that Edmunds seems to be the “logical choice” of the two given that he has a bigger overall impact on the game and is still just 25 years old, while Poyer will soon be 32.

It still may not be so straightforward, Buscaglia wrote.

“[T]he seemingly logical decision had a new curveball thrown in when the Ravens re-signed linebacker Roquan Smith on what can be boiled down to a minimum three-year commitment with $60 million guaranteed,” he wrote.

“While the price on Edmunds probably wouldn’t go to those levels, it’s still likely increasing the admission price quite a bit for the Bills,” Buscaglia added. “But even with some extra dollars attached to a potential Edmunds deal, it’s a conversation worth their time because of how important the position is in their system and when you look just a little down the road.”

If Smith’s contract does push Edmunds’ market upward, it could impact Buffalo’s chances of filling other holes in free agency.

Edmunds Has Strong Value in Buffalo’s System

Buscaglia noted that Edmunds’ value to the Bills will likely win out, especially as the team doesn’t have a clear replacement should he leave. He noted that there was a clear dropoff whenever either Edmunds or Matt Milano was not on the field, and 2022 third-round pick Terrel Bernard struggled to the point that he was a healthy scratch in the divisional-round playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Bills head coach Sean McDermott also praised Edmunds for his contributions to the team, saying he grew as a player both on and off the field in the last season.

“I thought he had his best year,” McDermott said. “I really believe that I think you saw him grow from a leadership standpoint. You saw him grow from a performance standpoint. And I know he’s just got that attitude that he wants to continue to improve.”

But McDermott also made it clear that the Bills would face some difficult choices on where to put their limited resources in the coming offseason.

“It’s whoever we value,” the Bills head coach said when asked where the team will prioritize. “The positions that we value, because you can’t pay everyone and you can’t go get all elite players at every position. It’s unrealistic in the modern, salary-cap era. We have to place proper value on the positions that we feel will help us win the Super Bowl and then find those players at those positions.”