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Opinion: I’m as shocked as you are that the Buffalo Bills re-signed Matt Milano


Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

I done messed up. Back in early February, I wrote an opinion piece at Buffalo Rumblings titled “I’m as shocked as you are that the Buffalo Bills won’t re-sign Matt Milano.” I put forth my case and it all made sense. And then Milano and the Bills reached an agreement on Thursday.

I’m pleasantly shocked.

I don’t know what happened, but over the last week the two sides were both making a push to get the deal done, according to Sal Capaccio who broke the news. General manager Brandon Beane had said Milano had the right to test free agency. Now he won’t get the chance.

Once the final salary cap number was set this week and players began getting cut, it hit home. When Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David signed for two years and $25 million, setting the market at $12.5 million for off-ball linebackers, something shook loose in the negotiations, but Milano chose not to become the best LB on the market and didn’t get top dollar. There is also the very real COVID-19 salary cap restrictions hindering what teams can do in 2021.

If I’m guessing, this was the Bills’ best offer all along. Four years, $44 million is a hometown discount, in my opinion, when he could have made $13 million per season somewhere else. I also feel like he has a real chance of seeing the end of this deal in four years. There are no inflated cap years at the end to artificially bump up the annual average value.

In the end, Milano wanted to be in Buffalo, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN:

“Source says some with the Bills were pleasantly surprised that LB Matt Milano chose not to go to the market,” she tweeted. “They emphasized hearing how important the culture in Buffalo is to Milano, and his feeling that the team is so close to taking the next big step.”

The Bills’ brass has to love hearing that after spending so much time building that culture and now other players around the NFL are hearing it from guys like Milano, Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Tre’Davious White, Dion Dawkins, Josh Allen (who will get his piece of the pie this offseason), and Stefon Diggs.

I already self-reported myself to Old Takes Exposed and I will gladly take the L here.