ESPN's Mike Rodak has reported on the contract details of the recently re-negotiated Corey Graham contract this morning, and as it turns out, the Buffalo Bills made a rather curious decision to not save very much money against the 2016 salary cap.
It had been assumed by many that Graham had agreed to a reduced salary, but that is not, evidently, the case. Instead, the Bills converted a $500,000 roster bonus and a $700,000 likely-to-be-earned (LTBE) incentive into a signing bonus. They'll pay him $1.2 million now, then split the accounting of that cost over the final two years of his contract, meaning that the team saved just $600,000 in cap space with the maneuver.
Graham's 2016 cap figure drops from $5.375 million to $4.775 million, while his 2016 cap figure rises from $5.025 million to $5.65 million. You can see a full breakdown of the contract re-structure in Rodak's report.
Graham will turn 31 this July, right around the time that 2016 Bills training camp is kicking off. The most curious aspect of this re-structure is the decision by the Bills to convert the $700,000 LTBE (read: non-guaranteed) incentive into a fully guaranteed bonus payment. A $600,000 cap savings is not a lot, particularly when you're opening yourself up to some risk by guaranteeing a non-guaranteed payment in excess of that figure.
As of Thursday, Rodak had calculated that the Bills had $9.072 million in cap space. Add in the $600,000 from the Graham re-structure, plus the $3.9 million savings after cutting Leodis McKelvin, and that figure balloons to $13.572 million. Considering that Cordy Glenn signed a franchise tender worth $13.7 million, the Bills might still have to work more deals to be under the cap by the start of the new league year at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 9.