WHAT'S NEXT: Buffalo Bills

WHAT'S NEXT: Buffalo Bills

The Bills approach March with more than $50M of cap to clear, & a half dozen of notable defensive players set to hit the open market. Factor in a mess of a contract situation with ED Von Miller, a rumored mess with WR Stefon Diggs, and Buffalo might be one of the more polarizing teams to follow in the coming weeks.

RELATED
2024 Buffalo Bills Salary Cap Table

2024 Pending Bills’ Free Agents

Cap Casualties ($17M saved)

Tre'Davious White (CB)

White won’t be healthy enough to pass a physical this March, so the most likely outcome here is that Buffalo releases him via a failed physical designation before his $1.5M March 18th roster bonus becomes due. The Bills could/should work out a renegotiated contract with White to retain his services in some capacity.
Potential March Savings: $6M

Ryan Bates (G/C)

Moving on from Bates would be risky, as he’s one of the better “6th-Men” in all of football. But if the plan is to keep Mitch Morse one more season (and all signs point to that being the case), Bates may simply be too expensive to remain in his depth role. There should be trade value here, so freeing up $1.4M of cap, and adding a draft pick or two could be win/win.
Potential March Savings: $1.43M

Deonte Harty (KR/WR)

Harty never fully materialized as an asset in the offensive gameplan, despite showing plenty of signs of that in New Orleans leading up to his signing with the Bills. His versatility is valuable, but a $4.24M salary & $5.5M cap figure likely makes him too rich to keep in this current setting.
Harty has a $500,000 roster bonus due March 18th, so Buffalo will need to make a decision prior to that date.
Potential March Savings: $4.1M

Nyheim Hines (KR/RB)

Hines missed all of 2023 due to a non-football injury. Like Harty (above), he’s probably a tad bit overpaid for his role (returner, running back), but it seems likely that Buffalo will hang on to one of the two for the 2024 season. Moving on from Hines before a March 18th roster bonus ($500,000) can open up $4.9M.
Potential March Savings: $4.9M

Damar Hamlin (S)

Hamlin’s role has been reduced to special teams almost exclusively. While Buffalo will be seeking depth in their secondary, taking the $1M of space by moving off of this contract likely makes sense early on.
Potential March Savings: $1.055M

Cap Conversions ($42.8M saved)

Process a full base salary plus $6M roster bonus conversion on QB Josh Allen, freeing up $22.7M of cap. Allen has 5 years remaining on his current contract.

Process a full base salary plus $1M roster bonus conversion on OL Mitch Morse, freeing up $5.3M of cap space when factoring in 4 void years. Morse is almost 32 years old, so an extension probably doesn’t make sense here.

Process a $5M roster bonus conversion on TE Dawson Knox, freeing up $4M of cap when factoring in 2 void years. Knox is a fringe roster bubble candidate, but $8.58M of his 2024 compensation is already fully guaranteed. Assuming the Bills move on after 2024, the contract will carry an $11.8M dead cap hit after this conversion (still saving $3.6M).

Process a $10M salary conversion on ED Von Miller. This one is a true numbers game. By March 18th, all $17.145M of Miller’s 2024 salary will become fully guaranteed. A full base salary conversion would open up over $12.7M of space, but would increase his 2025 dead cap hit north of his current $23.8M cap figure next season. Pushing out $8M of cap as projected here keeps the Bills on the right side of the dead cap spectrum in 2025 (when they will almost certainly move on).

Process a full base salary conversion on S Jordan Poyer, tacking on 4 void years. At nearly 33-years-old, it stands to reason that 2024 could be Poyer’s last. Buffalo can open up $2.8M of much needed space this season by utilizing this void year strategy.

Extensions ($12.9M saved)

Dion Dawkins (LT)

The nearly 30-year-old had his best season to date in 2023, solidifying his role on Josh Allen’s blindside for the foreseeable future. Dawkins is entering the final season of a 5 year, $59M deal in Buffalo, set to earn $10.3M cash in 2024. We’re projecting a 3 year, $57M extension, including $36.5M fully guaranteed at signing, and $50M across the next 3 seasons. The deal would lower his current 2024 by $5.3M.

Taron Johnson (CB)

Johnson’s worth and value was on full display both when he was making plays on the field - and maybe more importantly, when he was noticeably absent due to injury. The 27-year-old enters a contract year in 2024, set to earn $7.7M against a $12.4M cap hit. We’re projecting a 3 year, $42M extension for Johnson that includes $21.1M fully guaranteed at signing, through 2025. Our projection also lowers his 2024 cap hit by $3.6M.

Rasul Douglas (CB)

Douglas was the one of the better trade deadline acquisitions across the league last October, and he enters a contract year in Buffalo, set to earn $9M against a $9M cap hit. We’re projecting a 2 year, $28M tack on extension here, including $13M in 2024, $20.5M fully guaranteed through 2025, and a $4M reduction of his 2024 cap hit.

But What Abouts

Stefon Diggs (WR)

Despite the rumors, Diggs’ contract says he’s going nowhere in 2024, at least for now. If a few things fall Buffalo’s way in the coming months, a Post June 1st trade could certainly be an option - but generally speaking that’s a very low possibility in this league. The Bills hold $31M of bonus proration dead cap on Diggs right now. Next season, those numbers are already $22.2M dead against $27.3M active cap. So while Buffalo would like to do something about his $27.8M cap figure this season, processing any type of salary conversion would further impact their ability to move on after 2024 - a likely scenario based on many factors. All $18.5M of Diggs’ 2024 salary will become fully guaranteed on March 17th.

Matt Milano (LB)

Milano was extended last March to a 2 year, $28M contract that included an $11.8M signing bonus in 2023, and a $10M option bonus for 2024. In this regard his “conversion” was already baked into the cake. Buffalo will have an opportunity to push some cap down the road next season, when he carries a $16.1M cap hit for 2025, though his dead cap figure is already north of his active cap figure.

Ed Oliver (DT)

Oliver signed his massive sophomore extension last June, including a $14.75M signing bonus for 2023, & a $12.5M option bonus in March of 2024. This structure kept his cap figure at bay for the upcoming season ($9.725M). Buffalo will look to address his contract again in 2025, when Oliver’s cap hit spikes to $20.75M.