If the Buffalo Bills' off-season signings going quickly and as we outlined in Parts I and II of our series, the team may actually have done such a great job getting to the salary floor that they may be rapidly approaching either the team's spending cap or the NFL-imposed salary cap. Cutting loose a few players could provide the Bills with the capital to make the books balance quite nicely. Here are some of the players that could be on the bubble due to their salaries.
When the Bills extended McGee's contract in September of 2009, many thought it meant McGee would finish his career in Buffalo. But after playing in 11 games in 2009 and starting only three in 2010 due to injury, it's clear McGee is on the downslope of his career. After drafting Aaron Williams in the second round, if the Bills re-sign Drayton Florence as outlined in Part I, they may say goodbye to the career Bill. McGee is due $3.2M in base salary in 2011, and the signing bonus was relatively small. McGee's salary could offset a raise for Ryan Fitzpatrick or Demetrius Bell if the team chooses to extend one of them.
Martin scored the team's only touchdown from the tight end position a year ago. If the Bills decide to upgrade at the position by adding a Kevin Boss type as we discussed in Part I, the 32-year-old Martin becomes expendable, as does his $800,000 salary. For those of you thinking it, Shawn Nelson's contract would only net the Bills $480,000 if they were to terminate the former fourth-rounder.
Look, I don't think the Bills would do this unless he is flat-out awful in camp this season and isn't recovered from his previous injury. If that's the case, his $2.75M salary would then go back into the pool to give a nice extension to a different Bill.
While I think it's not a possibility, Lee Evans contract is worth $4.775M if the Bills were to release him before the 2011 season began. Someone will ask if I don't mention it. Freeing up the salaries listed above could help the Bills secure some of their long-term leaders by getting rid of aging and declining players.