The Buffalo Bills available amount of salary cap space has fluctuated wildly over the last three days. Between players they signed, players they released, and Tyrod Taylor’s contract restructure, the needle has moved all over the place. Let’s reset where we are at as the NFL enters phase 2 of the free agency period.
Before the storm
A week ago, Buffalo had roughly $18.2 million in cap space according to Spotrac. That included Tyrod Taylor’s option and a $15.9 million cap hit for the quarterback. While Buffalo only had 45 players under contract, they could restructure contracts for Cordy Glenn and Marcell Dareus to get enough cap space to fill the roster with quality players if they wished.
Cap space: $18.2 million
March 6 releases
The first of the dominoes to fall was Buffalo’s purge on Monday, releasing five players in a mixture of performance and salary cap moves. They added about $6 million in cap space by releasing kicker Dan Carpenter ($2.4 million), cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman ($1.65 million), long snapper Garrison Sanborn ($950,000), tight end Gerald Christian ($540,000), and safety Phillip Thomas ($540,000).
Updated cap space: $24.2 million
Restricted Free Agents
Buffalo felt strongly enough about running back Mike Gillislee (link) and offensive lineman Ryan Groy (link) to give them restricted free agent tenders. Both received the original round tender, which means if another team signs them away, Buffalo would receive draft pick compensation equal to the round in which the player was originally drafted and it gives the Bills the right to match the offer. Both of the tenders are worth $1.79 million. Buffalo chose not to tender defensive end IK Enemkpali and punter Colton Schmidt, their other two potential restricted free agents.
Updated cap space: $22.6 million
Tyrod Taylor restructures contract
The Bills are keeping Tyrod Taylor but instead of his $15.9 million cap hit in 2017, it dropped to roughly $9.7 million. Buffalo is kicking the Tyrod Taylor contract down the road with a big jump coming in 2018 and potentially bigger one in 2019 if he plays well. Still, they saved $6.2 million in 2017.
Updated cap space: $28.8 million
Bills release more guys
On Wednesday and Thursday, Buffalo continued to re-shape their roster by releasing WR/ST Marcus Easley and S Aaron Williams. Easley’s release saves Buffalo $1 million in cap space and Williams’ release adds $1.775 million. You have to feel for both, who weren’t able to contribute due to horrific injuries.
Updated cap space: $31.6 million
Bills add free agents
Buffalo didn’t just add cap space this week, though. They spent a lot of it. Not on guys like Robert Woods or Stephon Gilmore, who departed for rich contracts elsewhere. Here are the guys they signed and their 2017 cap hits based on what we know.
- P Colton Schmidt (projected $690,000 cap hit)
- FB Patrick DiMarco (projected $2 million cap hit)
- FB Mike Tolbert ($1 million cap hit)
- OL Vlad Dicasse (projected $900,000 cap hit)
- K Steve Hasuchka (projected $2.5 million cap hit)
- S Micah Hyde ($4 million cap hit)
- DB Jordan Poyer (projected $1 million cap hit)
Projected free agent spending: $12.1 million
Updated projected cap space: $19.5 million
Moving forward, Buffalo could easily add up to $14.7 million more in salary cap space by restructuring contracts for Marcell Dareus and/or Cordy Glenn. That would bring their total over $34 million and they could sign any of the free agents they are targeting at this stage.