clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Buffalo Bills roster bonuses, guaranteed salaries part of the start of new league year

New, comments

Lots of money has exchanged hands for Bills veterans.

The start of the new league year always brings a flurry of free-agent activity, but it’s also a decision point for many NFL teams regarding veterans. Many vets and their agents build in action points at the beginning of the league year in the form of roster bonuses. This makes the team make a choice on a veteran early in the process so they can be released and find a new job when teams still have cap room and flexibility, instead of during training camp or at the end of the summer.

Most of these roster bonuses are due within the first seven days of the start of the league year. Here are the bonuses the Buffalo Bills were scheduled to make this year. Since they haven’t released the players named or announced contract restructures, we can assume they were paid out.

Note: We’re only discussing the roster bonuses for players on old contracts, as opposed to new contracts signed this offseason

C Mitch Morse
$2 million due on 3/22/2020

Morse, the team’s center, signed a hefty deal last offseason to be the anchor of Buffalo’s revamped offensive line. The remaining $4.775 million of his $6.775 million 2020 salary also fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the league year.

TE Tyler Kroft
$750,000 due on 3/22/2020

Kroft was set to make $750,000 in a roster bonus and have $2 million of his salary fully guarantee. Instead, the Bills renegotiated his contract a week before free agency opened. Now his $3.4 million salary is guaranteed but he doesn’t receive the roster bonus. They also dropped the final year of his deal slated for 2021.

WR Stefon Diggs
$500,000 due on 3/20/2020

The Minnesota Vikings maximized their trade value and got out of paying Diggs’s roster bonus by trading the receiver early in free agency. His $10.9 million salary also fully guaranteed that day. Why is the date different than the others? His contract was signed by a different organization.

DE Jerry Hughes
$500,000 due on 3/20/2020

Hughes was already sitting pretty in 2020 with a fully guaranteed $6.65 million salary from the contract he signed last offseason.

DT Star Lotulelei
$500,000 due on 3/22/2020

Lotulelei just restructured his contract in order to stick around in 2020. It’s an example of the roster bonus being a decision point, as the two teams worked out the deal in February in advance of the new league year. Originally set to make $6.25 million in non-guaranteed base salary in 2020, his salary drops by $1.75 million to a now-guaranteed $4.5 million.

WR Cole Beasley
$500,000 due on 3/22/2020

In addition to the cash, Beasley now has $3.7 million of his 2020 salary fully guaranteed. If Buffalo wanted to part with him, they would need to be willing to still pay most if not all of that figure.

WR John Brown
$500,000 due on 3/22/2020

Like Morse and Beasley, Brown doesn’t just have a $500,000 check this week, he also is guaranteed $1.5 million of his $7.05 million salary in 2020. With offset language, it won’t mean a whole lot for his roster status because he would definitely sign for more than $1.5 million on the open market.

TE Lee Smith
$500,000 due on 3/22/2020

In addition to his roster bonus, Smith had $1 million of his 2020 salary already fully guaranteed. He’d likely be able to sign for that on the open market, or he could simply retire if he doesn’t make the team and cash the check.

DE Trent Murphy
$500,000 due on 3/22/2020

Murphy, the team’s starting defensive end over the last two years, gets a lot of grief from Bills fans, but his roster bonus was presumably paid over the weekend. He’s still owed more than $7 million in 2020 so it doesn’t ensure he’s on the roster this season, but it’s insurance at the very least.

S Micah Hyde
$500,000 due on 3/22/2020

Hyde, the Bills’ exceptional safety, has two years left on his deal, and can make another $4.6 million this year via a workout bonus and base salary. If he makes the Pro Bowl, that’s another $400,000.

OT Ty Nsekhe
$500,000 due on 3/22/2020

Nsekhe’s roster bonus could be the last thing the Bills pay him. He’s due a $100,000 workout bonus and $3.1 million in base salary this year but he’s also 34 and they could be paving the way for Cody Ford to take over.

OG Jon Feliciano
$500,000 due on 3/22/2020

Feliciano has no more guaranteed money on his contract but at $2.65 million with position versatility, he’s likely carved out a role in 2020 even if he’s not the starting right guard as he was in 2019.

OL Spencer Long
$300,000 option bonus picked up

Long had a strange contract where the remainder of his contract would have voided had Buffalo not picked up his option. It’s the same function as a roster bonus.

K Stephen Hasuchka
$250,000 due on 3/22/2020

The Bills’ kicker is 35 and this was the first non-guaranteed portion of the contract extension he signed last offseason.

RB T.J. Yeldon
$150,000 due on 3/22/2020

A modest figure for Yeldon, it represents about 10% of his entire 2020 compensation.

KR Andre Roberts
$100,000 due on 3/22/2020

Roberts has the chance to make another $100,000 in workout bonus this offseason but has no more guaranteed money remaining on the deal.

QB Matt Barkley
$75,000 due on 3/22/2020

A no-brainer of a roster bonus for Buffalo to pick up, Barkley is set to earn $1.5 million in salary in 2020.

Note: QB Josh Allen’s $1,745,730 roster bonus isn’t paid until the start of training camp, but his entire contract is fully guaranteed as a former first-round pick.