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Buffalo Bills salary cap ramifications of Richie Incognito retirement

The Bills will free up some cap space.

Buffalo Bills guard Richie Incognito shocked fans on Tuesday when he announced his retirement via Twitter and with a statement to The Buffalo News. Incognito restructured his contract this offseason, virtually guaranteeing he’d be on the roster in the fall.

Financially speaking, the Bills will get some salary cap relief by taking Incognito off the books. In terms of dollars, Buffalo should recover $1.15 million of Incognito’s signing bonus money from his 2016 contract that was pro-rated to the final year of the contract. He will also have to surrender the $1 million he received as a bonus this offseason. That’s $2.15 million in actual dollars.

Specifically with the salary cap, that $2.15 million will come off as will his $3.65 million salary and $100,000 workout bonus. He won’t count against the cap at all if Buffalo gets back that bonus money. Add it all up, and it’s $5.9 million off their salary cap.

It could get messy, though. Under the league’s collective bargaining agreement, the Bills are entitled to demand repayment of signing and/or roster bonus money. If the player doesn’t pay it back, there are arbitration procedures in the CBA. It is unclear from the words of the CBA when any recouped amounts, if any, would be applied to the salary cap.