The Buffalo Bills have until May 3 to decide whether to pick up the fifth-year options on the contracts for quarterback Josh Allen and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. While it’s obvious that the team wants both players to stay in Orchard Park for the long haul, general manager Brandon Beane noted that the salary cap crunch that comes with such contract decisions isn’t ideal.
When asked about whether the Bills would be exercising the options on two of their foundational players, Beane was clear and succinct in his response.
“The short answer is, we’re going to wait until after the draft to figure that out,” Beane said. “We’ve had some discussions, but really, that’ll be front and center as soon as the draft is done.”
The Bills made two choices in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Beane’s first as a general manager. They selected Allen at No. 7 overall to anchor the offense and Edmunds at No. 16 overall to anchor the defense. Allen made his first Pro Bowl last year, driving the salary on his fifth-year option to $23 million, according to Spotrac. Edmunds has made two Pro Bowls (one on the first ballot, which is the indicator for the option) in his career, so Spotrac lists his fifth-year option number at $12.7 million.
Picking up both options without a contract extension would put the Bills in a bind against the 2022 salary cap; however, not exercising the options puts them at risk of losing two franchise cornerstones while they’re still incredibly young. It’s a foregone conclusion that the Bills will at least use the fifth-year option on Allen, but it’s a little murkier with Edmunds. As for contract extensions for each, it seems as if we’ll need to wait until after the draft for that to happen, too.