The 2019 Buffalo Bills have a few holes but, overall, feel like a relatively complete team. As we near the trade deadline at the end of the month, major roster shakeups are starting to feel unlikely. It’s only natural, then, to begin thinking of how the team can get better next year. Let’s check in on the 2020 Buffalo Bills’ cap space to see what kind of money they’ll have to work with.
Data courtesy of Spotrac.com
The number above is the current amount of cap space Spotrac estimates that the Bills will have next year. This estimate is based on the projected 2020 NFL cap being increased $11 million to land at $199 million total for each team. The Bills are currently under the cap and are set to roll over nearly $27 million. This creates an actual cap ceiling of approximately $226 million for our favorite team next season.
With $89 million and change to play around with, it appears the Bills will have a lot of wiggle room to bring in some expensive contracts. If Spotrac’s projections hold up, the Bills will have the fifth-most amount of money to spend in the league. The Miami Dolphins currently lead the league with a projected cap space just over $117 million.
When the new year starts, the Buffalo Bills will have 42 players under contract, which begins our look at the ways in which that money unfortunately won’t go quite as far as we might hope. The Bills will look to roster 53 players for the regular season, as is tradition. Those additional 11 players will eat into the expansive cap space.
More significantly, 2020 free agency will likely create new holes that will need to be addressed, whether it’s a new player or extending a current player who isn’t currently in the calculations for 2020. Jordan Phillips is a prime example of this. Currently falling off the Bills’ contracts for next year, the Bills will either need to find a new defensive tackle or re-sign/extend Phillips. Regardless of their path that will put a sizable dent in the $89,000,000.
Other notable free agents include Lorenzo Alexander, Shaq Lawson, Quinton Spain, Kevin Johnson, and Frank Gore among others. Assuming these sorts of free-agency losses are solved at about the same cost as this year, it will be north of $20 million for replacements. If a player or two shows up big this year, the Bills may pay a premium to retain their own. Phillips and Lawson stand out as potential big expenditures next season.
Free-agent losses aren’t the only considerations either. The cap space does not include signing the 2020 rookies. Spotrac estimates the Bills needing about $8.5 million to sign their draftees, based on their assumption that Buffalo will be picking at the ninth spot in each round. Which is a really bizarre spot for the Super Bowl Champ to be picking, but I digress. Teams need to keep a pool of money aside for in-season injuries. Dead cap could be increased with a couple bad moves, etc.
Ultimately, the $89,000,000 probably won’t translate into a spending spree. The ability to develop talent and pay players accordingly, though, is incredibly valuable. The Buffalo Bills should have no trouble accomplishing that feat. Beyond that, there is still good flexibility to sign an impact player or two and/or shore up the back end of the roster.