Buffalo Bills guard Richie Incognito is entering the final year of a three-year deal he signed as free agency got under way in 2016. In the three seasons of his second go-round in Buffalo, he’s made the Pro Bowl every year and done it on a discount, mainly due to off-field concerns. But if the Bills wanted to save some cap space by releasing Incognito, there is some salary cap to be saved.
Incognito’s cap hit was set up to balloon in 2018 with a substantial increase in base salary. His compensation jumps from just under $3.7 million in salary and a roster bonus in 2017 to $6.325 million in 2018. His cap hit moves from just under $5 million to nearly $7.6 million. In short, it’s a lot more expensive for Incognito to be on the field in 2018 than it was in 2017.
Buffalo could re-work his deal and turn a portion of that hefty salary into a signing bonus while extending him for an additional year or two to spread out the cap hit. He’s continued to play at a high level despite getting longer in the tooth. It would lower his cap number in 2018 while providing the Bills some stability in the wake of Eric Wood’s sudden retirement.
Releasing Incognito at this point would save Buffalo more than $6 million in cap space but create another gaping hole in the middle of the offensive line and because his play hasn’t declined, it would be a purely cap-related move (depending on your take of his extra-curricular jawing with opposing players). So if the Bills really need the money, Incognito is a place to look for a lot of cap relief.
2018 cap hit: $7.575 million
Salary due: $6.325 million
Dead money: $1.15 million
Cap savings if released: $6.425 million
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