With the last of their 2015 NFL Draft picks signed, the vast majority of the Buffalo Bills' offseason personnel moves are now complete. In their first spring as owners, Kim and Terry Pegula have brought excitement and energy to the Bills and their fan base; Buffalo's little franchise is spending on players and coaches like one of the NFL's big fish.
But, like other perennial big spenders in the NFL, the Bills and their fans will now be forced to maintain a constant eye on the salary cap and the Bills' proximity to its upper limits - especially as they now turn their attention toward potential huge-money contract extensions for some of their better young players.
From my calculations (using contract information from Spotrac.com), the Bills are presently around $6.5 million under the salary cap based on their top-51 player contracts, which are the only ones counted under the salary cap. The $6.5 million number is an inflated accounting compared to what the actual number is, considering cap expenditures that the Bills are now making, or will have to make once the season starts.
NFL teams require players to attend their offseason workouts, and the players require compensation outside of their yearly reported salary for attending. This amount has continually increased each year, per the CBA, and varies team-by-team depending on how many players receive separate contractual "offseason" bonuses - but a team-wide estimate of around $500,000 is most likely appropriate.
Additionally, the Bills will maintain a practice squad throughout the season, and each of those players makes around $100,000 a year, adding another $1.1 million that has to be accounted for. With those subtractions, the Bills should presently sit around $4.9 million under the current NFL salary cap of $143,280,000.
As the Bills presently have 90 players under contract, obviously this number will fluctuate somewhat (and considering the young players the team needs to sign, it will ideally rise noticeably when some veterans are cut) based on who actually makes the final roster following training camp. While my number varies somewhat from Spotrac's, their league-wide calculations place the Bills with the eighth-lowest available cap space figure in the league.