If you follow the Buffalo Bills and the NFL predominantly through Twitter, then you may have been alarmed by a couple of tweets sent out by Albert Breer of NFL Network on Tuesday morning. He's talking about franchise tags in the AFC East this morning, and naturally, Cordy Glenn and the Bills came up.
... All signs point to the Jets tagging Wilkerson. Cap issues in Buffalo could prevent Bills from tagging Glenn. Vernon could go either way.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 23, 2016
We know that the Bills are tight up against even the higher-than-projected 2016 salary cap, but let's more closely examine Breer's logic on this issue:
Bills entered the offseason with over $160M committed to 46 players. Cutting Mario Williams saves $12.9M. Tagging Glenn will cost > $13M.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 23, 2016
It takes only a cursory look at the rest of the Bills' roster to note that there are upwards of nine more moves the Bills could make to free up salary cap space before the 2016 league year begins if they need it for a franchise tag. This is not even remotely a one-for-one proposition.
Long story short: the Bills would prefer to lock up Glenn long-term from a salary cap standpoint, because it will allow them to lower his 2016 salary cap figure to, in all likelihood, less than half of what it would be on the franchise tag. If they can't do that before the franchise tag deadline, however, they'll have multiple options at their disposal to free up the cap space to tag Glenn - which they absolutely should (and hopefully will) do to prevent Glenn from hitting the open market, and potentially leaving without compensation coming back to the team. Then, if they do tag Glenn, they can still try to negotiate a long-term deal after the fact that would lower his 2016 cap hit, anyway.
Breer did follow up later in the morning with this acknowledgement:
Spoke quickly on this on HQ. Clarity on point intended: Tagging Glenn tough cap-wise for Buffalo, but not impossible https://t.co/er6mmRzGuj— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 23, 2016