clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Most Buffalo Bills signings have been for minimum contracts

Lots of tiny contracts.

The Buffalo Bills have signed fifteen free agents so far this offseason and eight of them are making the veteran minimum or another salary at or below $1.1 million in the first year. General manager Doug Whaley has shown a propensity for inking these short, small deals for veterans and the trend continues in 2017.

The numbers used here are a combination of media reports. Those are the links you see in the paragraph bodies. If it’s not linked, the numbers come from

Guard Vlad Ducasse

Ducasse expects to have a backup role at guard but some are saying he could compete for the right tackle job. The contract he signed is less than Ryan Groy’s, so that’s where he will probably slot. He signed a three-year, $3.5 million contract.

Signing bonus: $250,000
Salary: $850,000
Cap hit: $933,333

Salary: $1.1 million
Cap hit: $1,183,333

Salary: $1.3 million
Cap hit: $1,383,333

Defensive end Ryan Davis

The deal Davis signed places him near the top of the defensive line rotation at a position the Bills are thin. He is ahead of Jerel Worthy and Leger Douzable, who both saw rotational time a year ago. In addition to the numbers listed below, Davis can earn a $500,000 incentive by tallying an undisclosed number of sacks annually.

Signing bonus: $100,000
Salary: $775,000
Cap hit: $925,000

Salary: $1.125 million
Cap hit: $1.275 million

Fullback Mike Tolbert

Tolbert qualifies for the veteran minimum benefit. While Buffalo is paying him $900,000 in salary, he only counts $615,000 against the salary cap plus his signing bonus.

This benefit was added to the Collective Bargaining Agreement to keep veteran players in the league. Because the CBA mandates minimum salaries increasing as a player accrues more seasons, they are necessarily more expensive than younger players. In order to give them an even playing field, veterans who sign one-year, vet minimum contracts only count against the salary cap what a minimum player in his second year would cost. It’s a system Buffalo has used often in the past.

Signing Bonus: $80,000
Salary $900,000
Cap hit: $695,000

Wide receiver Brandon Tate

Tate was re-signed after having a very good year returning punts and kickoffs for Buffalo. He was forced into receiver duty, too, where he did not perform particularly well. This is a good special teams contract if nothing else and qualifies for the veteran minimum deduction.

Salary: $900,000
Cap hit: $615,000

Cornerback Leonard Johnson

Johnson played under Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier in his last stint at Tampa Bay. He’s also under the veteran minimum benefit but has fewer accrued seasons so his salary is lower.

Salary: $775,000
Cap hit: $615,000

Wide receiver Corey Brown

Brown played under Bills head coach Sean McDermott in Carolina last year. He is making a minimum salary as an untendered restricted free agent.

Salary and cap hit: $690,000

Wide receiver Jeremy Butler

Butler is on a minimum contract and received a $10,000 workout bonus. It’s important to note that the default language in contracts pays players nothing for offseason workouts.

Workout bonus: $10,000
Salary: $615,000
Cap hit: $625,000

Running back Joe Banyard

Banyard’s contract numbers haven’t been reported, but as an untendered restricted free agent with his pedigree, you can expect it’s for the minimum.

Estimated salary: $775,000
Estimated cap hit: $615,000