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2022 NFL Free Agency: Tavon Austin’s deal with Bills includes no guaranteed money

The Bills are only giving him a shot at making the roster

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills signed returner Tavon Austin to a one-year deal two weeks ago and the contract details are out, courtesy of Spotrac.

For starters, Austin didn’t receive any type of signing bonus and none of his compensation is guaranteed. If he doesn’t make the team, the only thing he’ll be paid is the per-diems for offseason workouts and camps.

The 32-year-old Austin will make $1.12 million in base salary this season if he makes the roster. That is the veteran minimum for players with seven or more years of service. His cap hit is only $895,000, though, equal to that of a second-year player.

To achieve this lower cap hit, Buffalo is utilizing the veteran salary benefit, formerly called the minimum salary benefit or the veteran minimum benefit, which allows older players to play at a reduced salary-cap hit in order to make it more likely for them to stick on a roster as opposed to the team going for a younger player merely for the cap savings.

The benefit also allows a player to make an additional $152,500 in signing or roster bonus, but Buffalo did not add that to Austin’s contract.

Jake Kumerow, Eli Ankou, and a few other Bills players were signed this offseason using the benefit.

Signing bonus: $0
Workout bonus: $0
Base salary: $1.12 million

Cap hit: $895,000 (Veteran salary benefit)
Dead cap if cut: $0