With Jordan Poyer recently asking the Buffalo Bills for a contract extension (publicly and privately), the next few players to want a contract from general manager Brandon Beane is coming into focus. With players arriving for offseason workouts, this is a time where deals can get done if they want things off their plate before the 2022 NFL Draft.
Here is a list of players entering the final year of their contracts that the Bills could look to extend. We put them in the order of likeliest to happen to least likely (which doesn’t necessarily reflect the order in which they will happen):
S Jordan Poyer
We’ve already established he wants a contract extension and we even projected a big number for the All-Pro. This feels like an inevitability, to be honest. The biggest question to me is how long it’s going to cover.
DT Ed Oliver
The Bills have Oliver under contract in 2022 and hold his rights for 2023 if they elect to use the fifth-year option for first-round draft picks. That would guarantee his 2023 salary anyway, so there is a possibility the two sides could work out a long-term extension this offseason. The deadline is May 2 for the fifth-year option (which is for 2023). If you count that as a contract extension it may be the next one we see, which is why it’s so high on the list. Buffalo hasn’t chosen to extend very many players with two years of team control still left.
TE Dawson Knox
A guy who QB Josh Allen loves to have around, Knox is a prime candidate for an extension. The Bills only have one tight end under contract past 2022 and, around the league, a lot of teams used their franchise tag on tight ends this year. Perhaps that is where the Bills want to go a year from now and they can hold off to see if Knox is ready to take the step into the upper tier during 2022. If an extension happens this offseason, I’d expect it to happen during training camp if he comes in looking ready to take that step.
FB Reggie Gilliam
I’d bet you didn’t expect to see his name on the list. Buffalo isn’t going to want to pay Gilliam as a Restricted Free Agent in 2023—that’s $2.6 million for right of first refusal and $4.3 million for a second-round tender. Instead, Buffalo could sign him this offseason to a multi-year contract and spread out the cap hit. The high end for true fullbacks is $3.75 million per season, but I wouldn’t expect Gilliam to be that high for how much he’s used. If they offer him a couple years for $2.5 million per season to be a special teamer and the fullback/tight end hybrid, I could see it happening for both sides similar to the deal for Siran Neal. That means it could be during the season or after, and for a little bit more money than we would have expected based on the special teams contributions. Gilliam played the second-most special teams snaps on the roster and was third among running backs in offensive snaps, outpacing Matt Breida.
LB Tremaine Edmunds
I actually think this contract extension is pretty unlikely unless Edmunds takes a hometown discount, but not because I don’t think he’s a good player. The Bills used the fifth-year option on Edmunds last offseason and Beane has talked up his linebacker this offseason, but Spotrac has him projected at $14-16 million per season. Buffalo went all the way to the 11th hour in free agency with Matt Milano at just over $10 million per season. I don’t think Beane is going to give him a market-level deal a year before he’s set to hit free agency.
RB Devin Singletary
I think both sides should want to wait on this deal. I am not a big fan of second contracts for running backs in general and Singletary hasn’t played well enough for me to commit money to him beyond his rookie deal. If he plays gangbusters, he can cash in next offseason in Buffalo or somewhere else.
Linebacker Tyler Matakevich could be in their plans for special teams going forward. Tight end Tommy Sweeney is a valuable depth piece but feels way more like a year-to-year contract guy than an extend early candidate. Safety Jaquan Johnson could be next in line to replace Poyer, so if we see a contract extension for him, it’s likely to be next offseason as he and Poyer are hitting free agency, not this offseason.
Both cornerbacks Cam Lewis and Dane Jackson are scheduled to be Restricted Free Agents in 2023. I don’t anticipate either of them getting a contract offer until the end of the season and I’d expect neither one of them would want to sign before then anyway. If Jackson wins the starting CB role in camp, maybe he gets an extension mid-season like Taron Johnson a year ago, but I doubt it. Buffalo could just tender him as an RFA and go from there like they did with Levi Wallace back in the day.
The rest of the guys entering the final year of their contract were either signed this offseason or are named Cody Ford and Andre Smith.
One more guy to discuss: WR Gabe Davis should wait to get one starting year under his belt before coming to the contract table even with his breakout performance in the AFC Divisional Round. Plus, as we already mentioned, the Bills don’t extend guys with two years left on their deal unless they are elite-elite (Josh Allen, Tre’Davious White, and Stefon Diggs).