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Incoming bonus, guarantees for Vernon Butler could hasten salary cap cut

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

The Buffalo Bills added Vernon Butler to their roster in 2020 as a way to continue revamping their defensive line. After another sub-par year from the group, Buffalo may make more changes starting with the release of Butler.

Hastening that split may be the $1 million roster bonus the Bills owe Butler on March 21. Also that day, $1.5 million of his 2021 salary fully guarantees. If the Bills aren’t sure about Butler, that could be a turning point even with offset language built into the deal.

Butler can earn $100,000 in workout bonuses this offseason and $250,000 in per-game active bonuses on top of his $5.5 million salary in 2021. By releasing Butler before that roster bonus is paid, they’ll be saving more than $6.8 million in actual cash and cap space, with only his $1 million pro-rated portion of signing bonus already paid but still left on the books.

Butler and his linemate Quinton Jefferson are two of the biggest dominos we’re tracking as free agency gets under way in the next week.

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