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How much money will the Buffalo Bills save by cutting Tyrod Taylor?

Cap space and cash are up in the air.

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills head into the 2018 offseason approximately $31.6 million in salary cap space according to Spotrac. By releasing their starting quarterback, they can save a bunch of money but there is some nuance to the conversation.

Taylor is due a $6 million roster bonus on the third day of the league year. It’s a clause written into the contract by Taylor’s agent to force the Bills’ hand; release him so he can sign with another team early enough to make a difference and some cash or pay him $6 million to wait around. It won’t allow Buffalo to sit back and see if they get the guy they want in the draft, but they may be able to get in under the wire with another free agent quarterback.

So let’s assume that the Bills want to move on from Taylor so badly they release him before giving him that roster bonus. They save $16 million in real dollars over the remaining length of his contract; six million dollars of roster bonus money and $10 million in 2018 salary. They are on the hook for an $8.64 million cap hit, so they would save $9.44 million in a straight release. They could choose to spread that money into the 2019 season by making him a post-June 1 cut, his dead money hit drops to just over $3 million, increasing the saving to $15 million but kicking the can down the road.

If they do pay his roster bonus as a means of security against missing their guy in the draft or even with the option to trade him later, that would be applied to the 2018 cap hit, lowering the savings considerably but making him more attractive as a trade chip. (Team’s might be more willing to hand over compensation when he only costs $10 million as opposed to $16 million.)

One more note: the numbers on Spotrac and Over The Cap include guaranteed money for Taylor in 2018. With $1 million in guaranteed money remaining in his contract, Buffalo would have to pay him that if he doesn’t make that much money somewhere else. We know he will. He’s going to be paid at least $1 million somewhere in 2018, so that $1 million in cap money will be offset by another team.

Tyrod Taylor

If they release him before paying his bonus
2018 cap hit: $18.08 million
Roster bonus due: $6 million
Salary due: $10 million
Dead Money: $8.64 million
Guaranteed offset: $1 million
Cap Savings: $10.44 million ($16 million post-June 1)

If they pay his roster bonus before trading/releasing him
2018 cap hit: $18.08 million
Roster bonus paid: $6 million
Salary due: $10 million
Dead Money: $14.64 million
Guaranteed offset: $1 million
Cap savings: $4.44 million ($10 million post-June 1)

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