With the news that unrestricted free agent Jairus Byrd rejected the Buffalo Bills’ contract offer that would have reportedly made him the highest paid safety in the National Football League for a portion of the deal, while paying him roughly $30 million over the first three seasons, the team will have quite a bit of money to play with this offseason.
The Bills rolled over $17.8 million in available cap space from 2013 into 2014, and the NFL set the cap number at $133 million for 2014, giving the Bills a total of $150.8 million in available money. As of March 2, 2014, the Bills have $113,064,380.00 committed to the 2014 salary cap, with an additional $12,045,446.00 in dead money, which means they will have an estimated $25,690,174 in cap space.
Where Are The Bills Spending Money?
Thanks to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the implemented rookie wage scale has allowed the Bills to select a quarterback in the first round, without being restricted by a big contract. Kevin Kolb’s status for the 2014 season is uncertain, and it’s highly likely that he retires or is released, which would save the team $3.1 million.
Projected 2014 Spending. $3.746 million
C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson will earn roughly $9.1 million combined in 2014, hybrid fullback/H-Back Evan Rodriguez raising that number to a manageable $9.67 million. With C.J. Spiller set to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason and Fred Jackson aging, the Bills will likely select a running back somewhere in the middle to the end of the draft, with a projected 2014 cap hit in the $500,000 range. Ronnie Wingo and Anthony Allen are likely nothing more than camp bodies.
Projected 2014 Spending: $10.1 million
The Bills currently have 10 wide receivers under contract for the 2014 season, however, only Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin and Marcus Easley are locks to make the roster. With the team expected to add another wideout in the first or second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the battle for the No. 6 receiver spot will likely come down to a training camp battle between T.J. Graham, Kevin Elliott and Ramses Barden.
Projected 2014 Spending: $12.5 million
The Bills brought in veteran tight end Tony Moeaki at the end of the season, giving him a two-year contract that will pay him $1.35 million in 2014. While tight end is viewed by many fans as a position in need of a significant upgrade, it’s been reported that the team is very pleased with the group. Assuming they really are content with Moeaki, Lee Smith and Chris Gragg, we’ll assume that they use no higher than a third round pick at the position, which will pay in the area of $515,000.
Projected 2014 Spending: $3.06 million
The Buffalo Bills rewarded Kraig Urbik with a multi-year extension last offseason, and re-signed Eric Wood prior to the 2013 season. Doug Legursky and Erik Pears are potential salary cap casualties, as their abilities do not match their 2014 cap numbers. Releasing both would save the Bills $3.9 million in cap space. The Bills are likely to select an offensive lineman with one of their first two selections in the 2014 NFL Draft, and probably one in the 4th-7th round range, at cap hits around $1 million and $485,000.
Projected 2014 Spending: $14.291 million
The Buffalo Bills have one of the best defensive lines in the National Football League, with a dominating trio of Mario Williams, Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus. Jerry Hughes and Alan Branch had productive 2013 seasons, but their role in Jim Schwartz’ defensive scheme is uncertain. The Bills will likely bring in a defensive end for depth ($2-3 million per year) or a mid-to-late draft pick ($500,000).
Projected 2014 Spending: $40 million
The Bills continue their decade-long trend of not having quality linebacker depth, as the team’s top three linebackers: Kiko Alonso, Manny Lawson and Nigel Bradham- are men without clear-cut positions in Jim Schwartz’ defense. Expect the Bills to bring in a free agent ($4-$6 million per year) as well as a mid-round draft pick.
Projected 2014 Spending: $10.25 million
Like the linebacker position, aside from the team’s top three starters- Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin, Nickell Robey, the team has a significant need for depth. Injuries plagued the position last year, and it’s very likely the team looks to prevent that from happening again with the addition of a free agent ($2-3 million per year) and a late draft pick ($485,000).
Projected 2014 Spending: $11.52 million
With Jairus Byrd likely departing via free agency, the Bills will likely start Duke Williams and Aaron Williams at free and strong safety. The Bills don’t need to make free safety a huge priority, but they’ll probably bring in a free agent ($750,000) or a late round pick ($485,000) as insurance for depth purposes.
Projected 2014 Spending: $5.08 million
Free agent kicker Dan Carpenter had an incredible season in place of rookie sixth-round pick, Dustin Hopkins, who suffered an injury in training camp. While the team has stated that they’d like to bring him back, there’s absolutely no reason to keep two kickers on a roster. Hopkins was a draft pick, and is the cheaper option.
Projected 2014 Spending: $1.09 million
Total Projected Spending (on roster): $111.637 million