FanPost

An entirely-too-early BROP

As a starting point, the top 51 salary cap for the Bills is projected to be $242,500,000 according to Spotrac. The Bills are starting at about $51 million over the cap, so the first step is to see how far down the Bills can get that number without digging themselves into an inescapable future hole. Let’s see what we can do. I’m going to keep a running total of cap total/space in double brackets.

Void Years:

Total: $11,635,084 [[11,635,084]]

Leonard Floyd: 4,376,250

Micah Hyde: 3,408,000

DaQuan Jones: 1,833,334

Tim Settle: 1,350,000

Tyler Matakevich: 667,500

Dead Cap:

$574,960 [[12,210,044]]

Cuts: While the Bills aren’t in a great cap position going into 2024, they at least have a lot of solid players under contract and not a lot of cuts to make.

Bates: Released Post June-1. Bates is decent, but he’s not 5.4 million this season and next season decent. Releasing Bates post 6/1 leaves 1.439 mil in dead cap and saves 4 million. I also don’t see him as the future for the center position. He’d be passable as a high-end backup/low-end starter, but a fairly expensive downgrade from Morse isn’t what the Bills need in 2025. [[13,649,044]]

Harty: Let’s get this out of the way first: I like Harty. And he had a huge play for the Bills. But he is on the books for over $5.5 million this year and that’s just too much. Also, Hines is on the books for $5.48 million this year, and the Bills just can’t pay both at this point for a fairly redundant skillset despite different positions. $4.195 million saved and $1.375 million dead. [[15,024,044]]

Current Contracts:

Josh Allen: $29,156,281: Restructured, saving 17.9 million. [[I’m not going to do this for each individual player]]

Stefon Diggs: $14,631,500: Restructured, saving 13.2 million. There have been discussions of moving on from Diggs and that his season was somewhat disappointing. And, while down the stretch he wasn’t playing every snap and had some disappointing plays, he still was an elite NFL receiver this year. This is entirely a guess, but I expect to eventually hear that Diggs’ foot injury was worse than people knew and that he got some sort or treatment in the offseason and will be back to normal next year. But, more concretely, I’m always going to take a receiver whose "disappointing season" ended with finishing 7th in receptions (tied with Nacua for 6th/7th in targets), 13th in yards, tied for 8th in TDs, and 10th in receptions for a first down. He and Allen are real competitors and I’ll take him over an unknown at wide receiver every time.

Von Miller: $23,784,000. I’m not touching this deal so there’s a potential out after this season if he doesn’t improve, but I’m hoping that having more time pass since his injury means he’ll be more effective.

Dion Dawkins: $8,158,000: Extended. He’s probably coming off his best season individually, and the OL’s best season as a whole, so an extension here makes sense. He isn’t a top 5 LT and is going to be 30 in April, so I’m not expecting this to reset the LT market, but he’s a tenured veteran who seems to have a floor of "better than a quality backup-level LT" and a ceiling of probably 5th-8th best LT. He also seems to be the heart of the OL, have a real passion for football and Buffalo, and you could do a lot worse for a team captain. From the LT contracts last year, Tunsil signed for $25/yr over 3 years and Orlando Brown, Jr. signed for $16/yr over 4 years. I’d say Dawkins’ deal falls close to Brown’s, so to be safe I’m going to be generous here with $19.1/yr. This way I can use Derwin James’s contract as a guide for the numbers and that makes life easier. James’s hit in 2022 was 8.158 million, saving $8.45 million for the Bills.

Tre White: 16,443,737. I’m not going to play with this contract until there’s more clarity on what White will/can do. Does he end up retiring, moving to safety, trying to stay at CB? It’s anybody’s guess at this point. I’m hoping for a move to safety, but who knows, and leaving the contract as it is makes it a bit easier to get out of after the season.

Dawson Knox: $11,536,667: Restructured, saving 2.75 million.

Matt Milano: $10,312,000: Restructured, saving 2.125 million.

Taron Johnson: $6,000,000: Extended. Johnson is tough since he’s a slot corner which is a generally less valuable position, but he’s extremely valuable for this scheme. So, instead of basing the extension on where he’d fall in relation to other corners, I’m working off the deal he signed in 2021. Keeping the three years, I’m extending him at 13 mil per year (significantly up from the 8 of his last contract). That matches the contracts that Jamel Dean (though his is 4 years) and Adoree Jackson are on. I think the Bills can easily get the 2024 cap hit down to 6 million with the extension, saving 6.4 million.

Mitch Morse: $11,470,000: I’m leaving Morse’s contract so it’s off the books next year.

Ed Oliver: $8,481,250: Restructured, it saves a little money.

Rasul Douglas: $6,000,000: Extended. I don’t think he’s as good of an outside corner as Taron Johnson is in the slot, but I’ll give him the same deal as Taron so that the math is easy. The 6 mil cap hit saves 3 million this year.

Connor McGovern: $5,562,500: Restructured, saves $2.3 million.

Jordan Poyer: $7,470,000.

Nyheim Hines: $2,800,000: Extension/Renegotiation: Hines currently costs just under $5.5 million for next year, but can be cut with only $500k dead. I think the Bills get him to either extend (with low guarantees) or renegotiate his contract for the year so he’s making more than he would if cut. It’s doubtful he’d make much more than the minimum with the RB market this year and his injury, so $2.8 mil with some incentives should be a good deal for him.

Tyler Bass: $3,111,250: Restructured: saves $1.3 million. [[179,941,229]]

The rest I’m not changing:

Kaiir Elam: $3,733,857; Greg Rousseau: $3,693,518; Siran Neal: $3,413,333; Dalton Kincaid: $3,051,596; Reggie Gilliam: $2,232,334; Sam Martin: $2,050,000; James Cook: $1,590,562; Spencer Brown: $1,511,736; O’Cyrus Torrence: $1,413,859; Terrel Bernard: $1,399,872; Dorian Williams: $1,253,365; Reid Ferguson: $1,212,500; Tommy Doyle: $1,133,931; Damar Hamlin: $1,095,119; Khalil Shakir: $1,071,787; Tre McKitty: $1,059,000; Darrynton Evans: $1,055,000; KJ Hamler: $1,055,000; Christian Benford: $1,033,569; Shane Buechele: $1,025,000; Baylon Spector: $1,010,931; Justin Shorter: $995,987; Kyron Brown: $994,000; Andy Isabella: $993,000; Eli Ankou: $992,500; Kingsley Jonathan: $986,750; Kameron Cline: $919,500; Ryan Van Denmark: $919,500; Alec Anderson: $919,250; Ja’Marcus Ingram: $918,750; Zach Davidson: $799,500; Richard Gouraige: $799,500; Kevin Jarvis: $799,500; Tyrell Shavers: $799,500; Bryan Thompson: $795,000; Kendall Williamson: $795,000. [[229,464,335]]

Now that we have the existing contracts, it’s time to look at the positions to figure out needs:

QB: Allen, Buechele

RB: Cook, Hines, Gilliam, Evans

WR: Diggs, Shakir, Hamler, Shorter, Isabella, Shavers

TE: Knox, Kincaid, McKitty, Davidson, Thompson

OT: Dawkins, Brown, Doyle, Van Denmark, Anderson, Gouraige

IOL: Morse, McGovern, Torrence, Jarvis

DT: Oliver, Ankou, Cline

DE: Miller, Rousseau, Jonathan

LB: Milano, Bernard, Williams, Spector

CB: White, Douglas, Johnson, Elam, Neal, Benford, Brown, Ingram

S: Poyer, Hamlin, Williamson

ST: Bass, Martin, Ferguson

This gives the Bills 51 players, $13,035,665 in cap space, and a handful of significant needs.

Offense:

-QB needs a backup

-RB needs a backup

-WR I think will be set through the draft. Shakir taking the Davis role isn’t an improvement, but is a fiscally responsible move.

-TE is set

-OT is set assuming some of those guys are good enough to be backups. I don’t know that since they haven’t really played, but if Doyle isn’t ready to be a backup LT now then he probably never will be.

-IOL I think will be set with a rookie to be the backup/future Morse replacement and maybe a vet min G if necessary

Defense:

-DT: Need probably 2 DTs

-DE: Need another 2 DEs

-LB: I’m ok with this as it is, but keeping Dodson would be good.

-CB: Douglas, Benford, Johnson as starters with Elam and Neal as backups is about as good as the Bills can hope for with their budget

-S: I’m moving White to safety to try and extend his career, but even with that I think an addition is necessary.

It’s tough to fit all the needs under the cap, but, luckily, with so many existing contracts there will be some money offset on most deals. Also, while there are only 51 players on the roster, there are 5 players with void years on the books as well. That gives the Bills 56 contracts on the roster currently, so removing the bottom 5 contracts (Matakevich’s void money, Williamson, Thompson, Shavers, and Jarvis) adds another $3,856,500 to their available cap space, leaving: [[$16,892,165 in available cap space]].

Bills FAs:

Leonard Floyd: I was hesitant to extend Floyd based on his age, but the Bills need another DE and, as much as I always want to add Clowney (who finally proved me right this year, but who also probably played his way into too much money), bringing Floyd back makes a lot of sense for the Bills. First, Spotrac only predicts a 2 year deal with an AAV of 8.1 million for him. And second, while Floyd has a void year cap hit of almost 4.4 million this year, according to OverTheCap*, almost 3 million of that will be saved if Floyd is extended. So, while I don’t know the intricacies of void years and extensions, this seems like the most reasonable way to add an effective defensive end. Using the Omenihu, two year/16mil contract, the first year cap hit for Floyd is $4,490,000 and there is a space-saving of $2,917,500 from Floyd’s void year. I’m not going to add him as a new name on the roster (thereby dropping the bottom contract) since I don’t know if the void year would still count or if that’d be added onto the extension. So, with these numbers, Floyd ends up only costing $1,572,500 in 2024. [[$15,319,665]]

Micah Hyde: Similar to Floyd, the Bills need a player in Hyde’s position and Hyde happens to have a void year cap hit that gets reduced if he’s extended. His void hit is $3,408,000, but if he’s extended the Bills save $2,272,000 of that money. The Bills aren’t getting younger at safety, unfortunately, but they can draft or sign a younger player that they like for the role (or try to convert White/Benford/Elam/whoever) and let that player either develop behind Hyde and Poyer or replace one of them and let the veteran serve as a top tier backup/3rd safety. The Bills were using three safeties fairly often last season, although that was probably the result of the inability to keep a linebacker healthy, but maybe Hyde, Poyer, and the Bills’ future starting safety can all see significant snaps. Spotrac says Hyde will get a 1 year, $3.8 million contract. Using that and taking out the $2,272,000 saved from the void year, the Bills can bring Hyde back for $1,528,000. [[$13,791,665]]

DaQuan Jones: Unfortunately there’s no savings on Jones’ void year, but he is a great fit next to Oliver and worth bringing back. As a 1 tech, I think Jones will age well so I’m giving him 3 years at $6.5 million per year (Spotrac says 1 year at 6.8 mil). Using Shy Tuttle’s contract, Jones has a hit of 2.86 million in 2024. Again, like Floyd and Hyde I don’t know if the void year is separate from the cap hit, so I’m not dropping a player from the roster. [[10,931,665]]

Jordan Phillips: Phillips had another injury and is a year older, so that’s going to lower the offer a bit. I’ll go one year at 2.5 million and, here, the lowest contract does come off the 51. That means that Gouraige’s $799,500 gets added back on. [[$9,231,165]]

Shaq Lawson: Shaq comes back at 1 year and 1.3 million and Davidson’s contract (799,500) falls off. [[$8,730,665]]

Latavius Murray: I’m getting Latavius Murray back for the same amount, 1.3 million, as Ingram’s 918,750 drops off. [[$8,349,415]]

These moves fill the needs at starting 1 tech DT, RB2, DE, and S. The Bills are also bringing back reliable depth at DE and unreliable depth at DT. The Bills are left with just over 8 million for picks and signings.

Outside FAs:

Carson Wentz: I personally prefer Wentz to Kyle Allen. Wentz has a bit of Josh Allen’s athleticism, arm strength, recklessness, ability to extend plays, and style to him; so the gameplan shouldn’t be changed all that much if Wentz has to play. For me, if you made Allen about 10-15% worse in each attribute, you’d have Wentz. He made $1,315,000 with the Rams, and Alec Anderson’s 919,250 contract comes off. [[$7,953,665]]

Noah Igbinoghene: If I can’t add Clowney, I’m going to get my other love: Igbinoghene. I’ve got the starting safeties and corners still on the team, but we don’t know what White can do anymore, how long Hyde and Poyer will last, or how Elam will work out. I think this offseason will involve a fair amount of experimenting at safety to see who fits best as a future safety. With all of the moving parts, I’m bringing in another name to try out at the spot. Since before he was violently overdrafted by the Dolphins in 2020, I’ve wanted Igbinoghene on the Bills so that they could convert him to safety, and now they get the chance. He’s 5’10", 200lbs (at the combine), ran a 4.48 40 and can hit. He was previously a receiver and I think he can hold up well as a safety that can play centerfield or in the box, making him versatile like Hyde and Poyer are. At worst, he’s a backup at corner and safety, giving the Bills emergency coverage at both spots. Spotrac says he’ll get 2 years for $7,609,874 total. I’ll use Samaje Perine’s contract giving Igbinoghene 2 years for 7.5 million and a cap hit in 2024 of $3 million. Kameron Cline’s contract also comes off the books. [[5,873,165]]

Chris Conley: I’m going to spend a little money to add another receiving threat. Conley is another guy who I always seem to sign in these things. He’s a 6’2", 215lb WR who ran a 4.35 40 at his combine (granted, he’ll be 32 during the 2024 season, so maybe he’s not a 4.35 receiver anymore). He also still has the highest vertical at the combine. I think he’d be a great addition, and he comes at basically the vet minimum. With younger receivers (rookie and Shakir) playing opposite Diggs, he could be a good, cheap mentor and backup. He made 1.165 million last year, so we’ll do that again and take Ryan Van Denmark’s contract off. [[$5,627,665]]

Nick Morrow: I’d prefer Dodson, but I think he will want a longer deal and/or to try and find a spot where he will get more playing time. Morrow had an underwhelming year with the Eagles and may be looking for a spot where linebackers can get developed. He’s 28, has played Mike and Will, is durable, and he is decent against the run. As a 3rd option at Mike and Will, he should be a solid backup for the price. He made $1,155,000 last year and didn’t earn a raise, and this takes Kingley Jonathan’s contract off. [[$5,459,415]]

Rashaad Penny: One last addition is another player for the RB room. Penny signed a 1.35 million dollar deal with the Eagles last year and ended up being a healthy scratch most games. I still think that he has the ability to be effective, the Eagles just never really gave him a chance since they traded for Swift soon after signing Penny. Hopefully, Penny will get in on the rotation for the Bills and can get back to what he was supposed to be when he was drafted 27th overall in 2018. He’s going for the same deal that Morrow got based on last season, and Eli Ankou’s contract is off the books. [[$5,291,165]]

Draft:

Using the ADPs from PFF’s simulator as a guide, hopefully the picks end up being somewhat realistic. I’m also only doing 1 pick per round (except two in the 6th and none in the 7th because it looks like the PFF ADPs don’t go up to 245) to try and account for a little movement in the draft and because 10 picks is a lot. According to OverTheCap, the Bills need $3,422,663 to sign the rookies.

Rd. 1 (28)- WR Adonai Mitchell (Texas; ADP 38.8): This replaces Davis alongside Diggs. I think Mitchell can be a true outside receiver and have enough size and speed to be a deep threat and blocking receiver.

Rd. 2 (60)- DT T’Vondre Sweat (Texas; ADP 60): This is aspirational since his ADP is exactly 60, but the fit is perfect and I don’t see a reason to ignore fate. Sweat is the future answer at 1 tech next to Oliver. This is one spot where moving up a bit, if Sweat lasts into the second, would be worth the later picks necessary to make the jump.

Rd. 3 (99)- IOL Zak Zinter (Michigan; ADP 112.2): I expect Zinter to go significantly higher, but his ADP is currently 112.2, and if I’m going to play by my rules for who I can’t take then I’m going to do the same for who I can. Zinter is a RG by trade, but ideally I’m training him at Center or LG and creating an elite pairing with Torrence. He suffered a broken tibia and fibula during the 2023 season and missed the rest of Michigan’s season, but he had surgery and hopefully will be fully recovered. If so, the Bills could be getting a future All-Pro guard at the end of the third round.

Rd. 4 (128)- CB Kris Abrams-Draine (Missouri; ADP 133.2): A former WR turned CB who is a little undersized/thin, but I’ve liked what I’ve seen of him. He’s got a bit of the "Asante Samuel-dive at peoples’ legs" tackling form, but I think he can develop into a good CB/S and would be great value if he’s there in the 4th.

Rd. 5 (158)- Brennan Jackson (Washington State; ADP 173.1): Jackson has decent size (6’4" 265 per draft network) and is a hard working DE who can hold up against the run. That just sounds like a Bills DE draft pick, and if he’s a rookie replacement for Shaq Lawson (6’2.5", 270lbs at combine), that alone has value. Hopefully he develops into more than that, but McDermott could find a use for him even if he just can hold up well against the run and has a high motor.

Rd. 6 (197)- C Tanor Bortolini (Wisconsin; ADP 230.5): I really like Bortolini as a developmental center, and with an ADP of 230 he could even be available a bit later. I think he, Zinter, and Torrence could play together and be a dominant interior offensive line.

Rd. 6 (205)- P Tory Taylor (Iowa; ADP 212.9): I don’t think that Taylor will last this long, but with an ADP of 212, I’ll take the Bills future punter who set records for Iowa.

Final roster:

QB: Allen, Wentz

RB: Cook, Murray, Hines, Penny, Gilliam

WR: Diggs, Shakir, Mitchell, Hamler, Conley, Shorter

TE: Knox, Kincaid

OT: Dawkins, Brown, Doyle, Van Denmark

IOL: Morse, McGovern, Torrence, Zinter, Bortolini

DT: Oliver, Jones, Phillips, Sweat, Ankou

DE: Miller, Rousseau, Floyd, Lawson, Jackson

LB: Milano, Bernard, Williams, Spector, Morrow

CB: Douglas, Johnson, Benford, Elam, Neal, Abrams-Draine

S: Poyer, Hyde, Igbinoghene, White, Hamlin

ST: Bass, Taylor, Ferguson

Practice Squad or Cut: Buechele (QB), Evans (RB), Isabella (WR), Shavers (WR), McKitty (TE), Davidson (TE), Thompson (TE), Anderson (OT), Gouraige (OT), Cline (DT), Jonathan (DE), Brown (CB), Ingram (CB), Williamson (S).

Cut: Martin, since Taylor was added.

The Bills had $1,868,502 after the draft, but with the late release of Martin, post June 1, the Bills save another 1.65 million and only have 400k dead in 2024 and 2025. That brings the cap space entering the season to [[$3,518,502]]. It’s a little closer than I’d hoped, but it’s better than nothing.

Summary:

As for the roster, the Bills are basically running it back and hoping for better injury luck. Adding some impact players would be great, but the Bills just don’t have the money. If I had more I’d probably try to get Clowney at DE and Mooney at WR, but looking at the lineup there’s not really an area of weakness if the Bills are healthy. The depth at DE and DT are a little depleted and WR2 is up in the air, but the Bills don’t need the depth for rotations as much. Lawson is solid against the run, and Rousseau, Von Miller, and Floyd can all rotate in opposite Lawson, and replace him on passing downs. At DT, the Bills don’t really rotate Oliver out that often. In games decided by less than 10 points (so discounting blowouts), Oliver player 70.4%, 80.7%, 87%, 51.5%, 64.3%, 73.3%, 90.9%, 78.8%, 75.7%, 67.9%, and 88.5% of defensive snaps. He rests in blowouts, but otherwise he pretty reliably plays over 70% of the snaps (the 51 and 64 games were the two games after he came back from injury). Having Phillips and Ankou there to play in blowouts and give Oliver a breather, while Jones and Sweat rotate at 1 tech, should be enough.

Also, the Bills have relatively cheap ways out from the Miller and White contracts while Morse, Hyde, and Poyer are just expiring contracts. That should open up some much needed space for the Bills next year when Morse, Hyde, and Poyer all retire to spend time with their 2024 Super Bowl rings. Also, the Bills are bringing in some high quality pieces who could be vital contributors while on their rookie deals. I think all of Mitchell, Zinter, Bortolini, and Sweat could be starters in 2025 without seeing any drop off in those positions. Also, Igbinoghene won’t turn 25 until the day before Thanksgiving, so if he works as a safety for McDermott that could be a long-term, reasonably-priced answer for the position.

The team isn’t significantly improved from last year, but it’s also not significantly weaker and it was a legitimate Super Bowl contender in 2023 even with the injuries. If there’s a little more luck with health, some production from players like Sweat and Penny, and improvement from White and Miller, I think that this Bills roster could win in 2024.

OverTheCap void year info:

https://overthecap.com/creating-cap-space-by-extending-players-with-void-years#:~:text=The%20NFL%20doesn't%20change,of%20the%20extension%20are%20known.


Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of BuffaloRumblings.com.