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Salary cap: Restructure, not release, is most likely for Daryl Williams

The financials here make a ton of sense

The Buffalo Bills are over the 2022 NFL salary cap, so in order to re-sign free agents and sign new players, they will need to create some space. One player who is significantly overpaid for his position and play is right guard Daryl Williams, but I don’t think that means he’ll be off the team come September.

Instead of releasing him, which would save more than $6 million on the salary cap but also create another hole, I think both sides would benefit from taking a look at a reduced contract. The deal Williams signed was to play right tackle. Since that point Williams’s play illustrates a lost step on the outside, forcing him inside to guard—a much less lucrative position. If Buffalo releases Williams, he’s not going to sign for $8 million to play right tackle for someone else.

A pay cut to stay, offset by guaranteeing all of his 2022 salary, would make sense for both sides. Williams is likely to get $4.5 million in guaranteed money on the open market as Jon Feliciano did a year ago, so if Buffalo lowers his salary from $7.725 million to a fully guaranteed $5.225 million it’s more than a fair price for him at guard. Plus he has $300k in per-game active bonuses and $100k in a workout bonus he can earn.

Another factor in keeping it at or above $5 million; $4.3 million of his salary fully guarantees at the end of March. He doesn’t have much of an incentive to take an amount lower than $5 million.

To offset the pay cut, I’d offer him an incentive for the percentage of right tackle snaps he takes. If you play right tackle, you get right tackle pay. That seems fair. $500,000 back to him if he hits 20% of the RT snaps and another $500k for every 20% above that. He can earn the entire $2.5 million pay cut back if he plays all the snaps at right tackle. It’s a very palatable hedge for the Bills.

It solves multiple problems for the Bills and keeps Williams whole and happy. Seems like this one is just a matter of time. It’s unclear what they would want to do with the final year of his deal in 2023. Do they address it now, keep it as is, or void it making him a free agent after the season? In the past, Bills GM Brandon Beane has done it two ways; he kept Mitch Morses’s remaining years the same but voided the final year of Mario Addison and Vernon Butler’s deals.

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