When the Buffalo Bills signed wide receiver Stefon Diggs to a contract extension, the question I got the most was “Where is Brandon Beane finding the money for this?” What folks are really asking about is cap space, because Buffalo was snuggly up against the cap prior to the move with some reports being as low as $300,000.
In reality, we knew all along that a Diggs extension was going to actually create cap space in 2022. Much in the same way a contract restructure can push base salary into a new signing bonus to pro-rate the deal over multiple years remaining in a contract, the Bills can do the same thing with a new signing bonus on a new deal for Diggs and that’s exactly what they did.
His 2022 cap hit now stands at $11,736,111 but it was set to be $17,881,111 after he earned a contract escalator in 2020. The move cleared $6.145 million in cap space for Buffalo.
Couple that with the contract restructure for Ryan Bates and Buffalo has roughly $8 million in available cap space right now. That’s enough for them to add their 2022 NFL Draft class and sign a veteran backup at offensive tackle or a veteran cornerback who can come in and play early season snaps while Tre’Davious White is still working back to being 100%. (I doubt they can do all three and still have the cushion that they want to be able to sign injury replacements later.)
Buffalo also has a couple more contract restructures they could do to push some more cap space in the future, but if I’m general manager Brandon Beane, I’m waiting on those for next offseason if at all possible so I can run it back again. A Jordan Poyer contract projection could push cap dollars into the future, as well.