Per ESPN’s Field Yates, the Bills have restructured the contract of longtime center Eric Wood.
The Bills have restructured the contract of center Eric Wood, source tells ESPN NFL Insider Field Yates. He... https://t.co/5hQCwM3gMd— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) September 9, 2016
Following in the steps of some recent restructurings, a portion of Wood’s salary is being converted to a signing bonus. They also added a (voidable) season to the end of the contract, allowing them to keep Wood around through 2018 if they so choose. By doing that, they were able to subtract $2.5 million of his 2016 salary, although in doing so they increased his cap hit in both 2017 and 2018 by $1.25 million.
Obviously, any time the Bills make a move to lower their 2016 cap figure, the immediate thought is that it’ll have something to do with a Stephon Gilmore contract extension. The move gives the team about $6.5 million in cap space this season, although an extension would figure to lower Gilmore’s $11 million cap hit this year.
It’s already obvious that team values Gilmore highly and wants to keep him around. It also seems that Gilmore would be more than happy to stay, so long as he receives a contract that reflects the level at which he values himself. The obvious comparison is Josh Norman, whose contract has an $8 million cap hit this season but hits of at least $15 million over the next four seasons.
Gilmore’s contract should fall in line with that. Tom Mitchell’s projection of a five-year, $67 million contract still seems like a logical endpoint, although the move to increase their cap space in 2016 could give them room to front-load the deal a bit more than they otherwise would have.
Regardless of the Gilmore talks, the immediate result is that the Bills have more cap room to work with thanks to Wood, someone who has really shown himself to be a team-first guy over the years. Hopefully, he has enough left in the tank to remain a factor into 2018 and even beyond that year.
Staying on the topic of contract news for Bills centers, the team also extended recently signed backup Patrick Lewis.
The Bills have given reserve center Patrick Lewis a 1-year extension, per @FieldYates. Gets $200k to sign; $800k in '16 and $1.2M in '17.— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) September 9, 2016
This obviously gives some indication that Buffalo likes what they have in Lewis and might want to keep him around for more than just this season.