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Buffalo Bills restructure Stefon Diggs’s contract, create 2021 cap space

The Buffalo Bills made a bold salary cap move on Tuesday, converting a large portion of Stefon Diggs’s 2021 salary to a “signing bonus” in order to spread out the cap hit over multiple seasons. The news comes from ESPN’s Field Yates.

In NFL contracts, signing bonus money is pro-rated over the life of the deal. In this context, the Bills gave Diggs money that was originally supposed to be salary as a new signing bonus, so it pro-rates over each of the three years remaining on his deal.

Yates reports that the Bills took $11,718,333 of the base salary and converted it to signing bonus, creating $7,812,222 in 2021 cap space. The move gives Buffalo roughly $11 million in cap space to work with over the coming months as the season approaches. They could add a cornerback or even pull off a trade for a big-name player.

The move adds a bunch of dead cap money if the Bills were to release or trade Diggs (obviously, that’s unlikely right now), but Buffalo had close to zero in dead cap for Diggs prior to this because he had been traded to the Bills.

Here are the old numbers for Diggs, who hit salary escalators in 2021 with his season over 100 receptions and 1375 yards. He gained another $1.35 million above the numbers listed on the old contract below just by hitting those milestones in 2020.

Old contract

2021
Workout bonus: $100,000
Salary: $11.4 million ($3.3 million fully guarantees on the 3rd league day of 2021)
Per-game roster bonus: $500,000 ($31,250 per game)

Cap hit: $12 million

2022
Workout bonus: $100,000
Salary: $11.4 million
Per-game roster bonus: $500,000 ($31,250 per game)

Cap hit: $12 million

2023
Workout bonus: $100,000
Salary: $11.4 million
Per-game roster bonus: $500,000 ($31,250 per game)
Cap hit: $12 million

New contract

2021
Roster bonus: $750,000
New signing bonus: $4,356,111
Workout bonus: $50,000
Salary: $990,000
Per-game roster bonus: $250,000 ($14,705 per game)

Cap hit: $6,396,111

2022
Roster bonus: $650,000
New signing bonus: $4,356,111
Workout bonus: $100,000
Salary: $11.775 million
Per-game roster bonus: $250,000 ($14,705 per game)

Cap hit: $17,131,111

2023
Roster bonus: $650,000
New signing bonus: $4,356,111
Workout bonus: $100,000
Salary: $11.85 million
Per-game roster bonus: $250,000 ($14,705 per game)

Cap hit: $17,206,111