Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was the runner-up for the NFL’s 2020 MVP award, which rightly has fans wondering whether a contract extension could be in the works. Allen’s red-hot season was the third on the four-year rookie contract he signed—and while the Bills could reward him in the short term by activating his fifth-year option, Allen has to be thinking about the big-money deals signed by Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson last year.
We gained a little insight into the process for Bills general manager Brandon Beane, who appeared on The Collinsworth Podcast featuring Richard Sherman on Tuesday. After Beane shared a war story about orchestrating the trade that netted Allen in the draft, host Chris Collinsworth asked him about Allen’s contract:
“You’ve got a shortened cap. (You) probably only have $175 million to work with this year because of what happened with COVID this year. What’s your thought going into it this year with Josh?”
In Beane’s mind, the questions about Allen’s performance (and whether the Bills trust him as a franchise QB moving forward) seem to be answered.
“Josh is a guy we believe in and we would definitely take a look at him later this offseason,” he told Collinsworth, but noted the Bills want to work through their backlog. “Right now we’ll focus on our upcoming free agents plus anybody we want to add and then the draft. Generally what I’ve done here is look at guys to extend once we get through the draft, see what our money is like, see how we can structure it to fit not only this year but the years beyond.”
Rather than Allen, the biggest question on Beane’s mind is how the salary cap will play out—not just this year, but in the future. The 2021 salary cap, even though it was expected, was still a shock to the system.
“One of the things that I’m gonna want to look at is—what are things looking like for this year, say in May, does it look like we’re gonna have 75 percent (capacity filled with fans) in the stands, 100 percent in the stands,” said Beane, “and just try and see if we can predict what next year’s cap will look like based on a new TV deal [and] fans in the stands. Just to know how we would structure his new deal if we were to do something this year.”
If the timing isn’t right for a long-term extension, Beane has a plan for Allen.
“We have the fifth-year option,” he added. “If we can’t make it work or we don’t have good clarity on the cap, we’ll pick that up to protect us going into next season.”