With the first two days of 2016 NFL free agency in the books, the Buffalo Bills predictably stood on the sidelines. Despite that, some of the moves other teams have made should (and most likely will) affect Bills players and their respective contract negotiations.
Players at the same positions where the Bills have key players under one-year contracts all signed massive contracts; the Bills may very well have cost themselves millions of dollars by failing to sign contract extensions with key players prior to yesterday's spending spree.
Osweiler vs. Taylor
At the most important position in sports, the Bills may have suffered a financial blow on Wednesday, when new Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler signed a four-year, $72 million contract following a mediocre eight starts for the Denver Broncos in 2015. That means that Tyrod Taylor should be a very rich man (whether via the Pegula family or someone else) in the near future. Taylor's 2015 season was better than Osweiler's in every statistical metric except for wins, and the Broncos' defense may have had something to do with that.
Additionally, although playing behind poor offensive line play, Osweiler played with a better supporting cast of receivers. Taylor is a year older than Osweiler and does not possess the prototypical size that Osweiler does, but it is very difficult to see a team not reaching (or exceeding) Osweiler's enormous $18 million average per year contract if Taylor is allowed to hit the open market following the 2016 season, assuming roughly the same level of play from Taylor. This would serve as considerably more than our five-year, $83 million contract we projected back in December.
Jenkins vs. Gilmore
Janoris Jenkins' new five-year, $62.5 million contract with the New York Giants will serve as an obvious baseline for a new contract for Stephon Gilmore. Jenkins has been a solid player for four seasons with the Los Angeles Rams, but does not seem to possess the upside or consistency that Gilmore does.
When we projected a Gilmore contract extension a few weeks back, we came in right near what Jenkins signed for, just under $12.5 million per year over a five-year extension. Gilmore is most likely viewed as a better player than Jenkins, and is almost two full years younger (Jenkins will turn 28 in October, while Gilmore will turn 26 in September). With Jenkins helping to drive up the next tier of cornerback contracts, an extension for Gilmore will most likely need to target a $13 million per-year average.
Osemele vs. Glenn
Unlike Taylor and Gilmore, franchise-tagged left tackle Cordy Glenn may not have seen his value change much thus far. The Oakland Raiders' signing of former Baltimore Ravens guard Kelechi Osemele, presumably to serve as their new left tackle, to a five-year, $58.5 million contract is slightly higher than our projection of five years and $55 million for Glenn. Players entering free agency generally receive a premium over players who sign extensions with their former team, but Glenn has also spent his entire career at tackle, as well.
While it's irresponsible to ignore that Taylor and Gilmore have agents that were most likely aware that yesterday's cash spree was going to occur, it is possible that the Bills may have been able to land extensions for less last week than they will cost this week, and in the weeks and months to come.