This offseason as part of our continual looks at Buffalo Bills free agents, we’ve projected contract numbers for each of the players on expiring deals. We use historical data on stats and recent contracts to compare to give you some sense of what that player is actually worth on the open market.
As we approach the beginning of free agency, here is a collection of all those numbers along with brief excerpts of each article. Click the links to read the whole thing. (We’re listing them in order from highest average value to lowest.)
Three years, $25.5 million contract
$10 million guaranteed
An $8.5 million per-year average puts him 22nd in the NFL among cornerbacks. Wallace might compare numerically to the first two guys listed, but his body type and playing style aren’t as sexy and he certainly doesn’t have their pedigree. He’s a solid contributor, makes good decisions, is a good tackler, and he’s not afraid to do the little things. He’s a guy you want on your team, but he probably fits better on a team with more cap space trying to establish a culture.
One year, $6.1 million
$6 million guaranteed
One year, $3 million
$3 million in playing time and receptions incentives
Ultimately, I don’t think the marriage makes financial sense in 2022. Sanders will want guaranteed money and the Bills should be looking at Davis to be a cost-controlled option instead. Unless he takes a well-below-market deal, it looks like a one-year relationship. Both of these options could pay him $6 million, but he’s a proven NFL receiver and will likely want the guarantees instead of the incentives.
Three years, $18 million contract
$6.6 million guaranteed
When the Bills wanted a building-block player in 2021, they signed four-year deals. For players they merely liked, it was a three-year deal with all the guaranteed money in the first season. I’m guessing the Bills want to do a three-year deal with Phillips.
One year, $6 million
$4.75 million guaranteed
Lots on incentives
Not with the Bills... Note that this article was written before the NFL Combine, where the Trubisky hype skyrocketed. The Draft class is not a good group of quarterbacks, so perhaps Trubisky will sign on the higher side of the recent deals at closer to $10 million for one year.
One year, $6 million
$3 million guaranteed
I think Addison will be able to turn his most recent solid season into a one-year deal somewhere, though I doubt it’s going to be with the Bills. Teams need pass rushers who can consistently win battles to get into the backfield and Addison has proven he can still do that.
One year, $4 million
$3.5 million guaranteed
The reality is that Buffalo is cap-strapped and has invested considerable draft capital in the position. It’s unclear what type of hometown discount Hughes is willing to give, but it seems unlikely he’s going to get up to a two-year deal with substantial guaranteed money at his age and production level.
Neal signed a deal for three years and $9 million earlier this offseason. Here’s the full contract breakdown. He received $2.9 million fully guaranteed.
One year, $3 million
$2 million guaranteed
I didn’t do a full projection article on Butler because I don’t think there is any way the Bills bring him back in 2022. He was a healthy scratch for a large chunk of the year after taking a pay cut last offseason. If you’re making me, I’ll give him a deal similar to the one Quinton Jefferson signed last offseason after he was cut by the Bills.
One year, $2.5 million
$1.5 million guaranteed
Boettger tore his Achilles and won’t be ready to return to action until the preseason, so we didn’t cover him. His play is worth more than the veteran minimum but the timing of his return makes it problematic to project a contract for him. If he was healthy, I think he’s worth $3 million a season as a guard. With the injury, I knocked it down $500k. This would still be a raise for him after playing 2021 on the RFA tender.
One year, $2.433 million RFA tender
During the 2020 season, Ike Boettger started seven games (plus the playoffs) for the Buffalo Bills at guard and solidified himself as a bona fide contender for the starting job heading into the 2021 season. During the 2021 season, Ryan Bates started four games (plus the playoffs) and solidified himself as a bona fide contender for the starting job heading into the 2022 season.
One year, $2 million
$1 million guaranteed
We didn’t run a full projection on Obada, but I think he’ll make a little bit more than he did in 2021 when he signed for $1.5 million and $800,000 guaranteed. He had 5.5 sacks in 2020 and 3.5 sacks in 2021 playing a third of the snaps in each season. His pressures and hurries were down in 2021 compared to the previous year, as well.
One year, $1.85 million
It’s literally the same contract he signed last offseason with a $100k pay bump. He’s going to turn 34 before the season starts.
Kumerow just re-signed with the Bills this week. All of his previous contracts were for the league minimum. We will see what the numbers bear out, but I doubt it’s significantly more than league minimum, if at all.
One year, $1,172,500
I just don’t see the market for McKenzie to make medium money after one game of explosiveness. His season-long numbers weren’t great and his 2020 numbers were manufactured with the jet-sweep motion. He’s quick, he’s good with the ball in his hands, he can put pressure on a defense, but I think what he brings to the table isn’t going to ensure a pay day. He was benched on returns down the stretch, too, so he loses that value. In fact, I think it’s pretty likely he ends up on the New York Giants to help out Brian Daboll when they slightly outbid the Bills. We don’t know what new offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey wants to do with jet sweeps, and Buffalo has Marquez Stevenson to do that job.
We didn’t do a full projection on Zimmer because of his knee surgery. We don’t know what the timetable in on his return, but he’s not a signing that’s likely to happen in the next few weeks because of that injury. He’s a Restricted Free Agent but Buffalo shouldn’t tender him as he’s not worth the $2.433 million, in my opinion. I think he’s destined to sign a one-year deal for the veteran minimum and hope he can show out enough to earn a new contract when healthy. Unfortunate timing for him.
Bryan Cox, Jr.
These three players are all in line to make league minimum again in 2022.
As an Exclusive Rights Free Agent, all the Bills had to do was tender Dodson at league minimum to secure his services. They signed him in February to a deal worth $895,000 if he makes the team. No guaranteed money.