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Bills salary cap: Jordan Poyer contract projection

It’s a big one

Jordan Poyer wants a new contract. He hired a new agent this offseason and Drew Rosenhaus has conveyed that request to the Buffalo Bills and the media. The Bills have the cap space to make it happen and allow Poyer to retire as a member of the Bills.

After he was named first-team All-Pro in 2021, the contract is not going to be cheap and further complicating the issue is Poyer’s age (he turns 31 this month) and his running mate Micah Hyde, who signed a two-year deal last offseason. Hyde’s deal was equal to Poyer’s when he signed it a year ago, but now with an All-Pro Team on his resume, Poyer is in line for a raise, leaving Hyde behind.

I don’t anticipate any of the complications turning the deal sour, though, and it seems like they could work something out before training camp. The timeline could be as early as this week, when Bills players report for offseason workouts.

Let’s dive into some comparable contracts. I’m not looking at any players in their mid-20s on their first big contract. Let’s just look at guys over the age of 30.

Micah Hyde
Buffalo Bills (2021)
Two years, $19.25 million

Hyde’s deal from a year ago is the lower than the floor for Poyer, who signed a two-year, $19.5 million deal two offseasons ago. He made that much before he was an All-Pro. He’s going to get a raise and has earned it.

Harrison Smith
Minnesota Vikings (2021)
Four years, $64 million

The new money on the deal averaged $16 million per season, which would be a huge jump for Poyer. In reality, the cash payouts are backloaded. He earned $14 million in the first year of the deal, $11.5 million in the second, and will earn $15 million in 2023 if he gets that far. From 2023 to 2025, they are essentially team options for $15 million, $15 million, and $18 million with nothing guaranteed past this season. He’s also got big per-game bonuses built in. So while the numbers look big, it’s not exactly a certainty he’s going to see more than one year of the new contract.

Quandre Diggs
Seattle Seahawks (2022)
Three years, $39 million

Only the first-year salary is fully guaranteed, making it another one of those “one year and we will see” deals. He’s pretty likely to see the end, though. The average payout actually goes $14 million, $14 million, then $11 million.

Contract Projection

The biggest question for me isn’t the average value of the deal, it’s how long it’s going to be. Bills general manager Brandon Beane has only signed one deal in the last few years that I can specifically point to and say “There’s no way the guy is going to see the end of the deal.” Von Miller aside, the other big contracts he’s given out are mostly in shorter terms of two to four years and without bloated numbers on the back end.

Practically speaking, the Bills have been giving Hyde and Poyer two-year extensions. Poyer signed for four years in 2017, then two more years added on in 2020. Hyde signed for five years in 2017 and added two more years in 2021. The two free-agent contracts we looked at were longer, and Poyer might want a longer deal here as he has stated his intentions are to retire with the Bills. With a new agent, it’s also a wild card.

With Poyer turning 31 this month, he still has one year left on his deal, and the reasons I just stated, I’m sticking with two years in my projection to make three total years. I added a few void years to the back end to spread out the cap hit.

Because I kept the contract short, I’m going to need to get the compensation up. Smith’s overall compensation numbers complicate the deal with extra dollars on the back end, much like Tyreek Hill’s did with the receiver market. Beane was able to get Diggs to agree to the practical dollar figures, not the bloated ones. Despite the $16 million per season in new money, over the whole five years it’s under $15 million, and if you take out the final year it’s just north of $14 million per season. That’s going to put the average annual value between $14 million and $15 million for me. With his All-Pro nod, I’ll chose the high end.

Two years, $30 million

Poyer was already paid a $500,000 roster bonus in March at the start of the league year and he was set to earn $5.6 million in base salary plus up to $400,000 in per-game active bonuses. He also has a $200,000 workout bonus. All of that needs to be factored in. I chose to spread out the cap hit over five full seasons.

When all is said and done, we have $37 million to account for over the three seasons.

The $10 million signing bonus allows for $8 million of his 2022 cap hit to be spread out over five seasons. The other guaranteed money is $2 million in 2022 salary plus a roster bonus in 2023. If Beane wants to, they could turn that into an option bonus and continue spreading out cap hits, but I’d rather not do that for a 32-year-old Poyer.

Poyer’s current cap hit in 2022 is just under $10.8 million. This contract would lower than number by about $2 million.

Here are examples of the yearly breakdowns:

Old signing bonus: $1 million
Old restructure: $2.6 million
Old roster bonus: $500,000 (already paid)
New signing bonus: $2 million
Workout bonus: $200,000
Per-game roster bonus: $23,529 per game ($376,464 LTBE)
Base salary: $2 million (fully guaranteed)

Cap hit: $8.676 million
Cash: $13.1 million

Signing bonus: $2 million
Roster bonus: $5 million (fully guaranteed)
Workout bonus: $200,000
Per-game roster bonus: $510,000 ($30,000 per game)
Base salary: $5.79 million

Cap hit: $13.5 million
Cash: $11.5 million

Signing bonus: $2 million
Roster bonus: $1 million
Workout bonus: $200,000
Per-game roster bonus: $510,000 ($30,000 per game)
Base salary: $11.19 million

Cap hit: $14.9 million
Cash: $12.9 million

2025 (Void year)

Signing bonus: $2 million
Dead cap if not re-signed: $4 million

2026 (Void year)

Signing bonus: $2 million
Dead cap if not re-signed: $2 million