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The Buffalo Bills have some tough decisions to make this NFL offseason. Their time as a team with a QB on a rookie contract is over, which means the Bills’ salary cap situation is now a delicate balancing act. That’s why when the Bills extended linebacker Matt Milano, it likely signaled the end of Bills’ free agent Tremaine Edmunds’ time with the franchise.

The Bills finalized a Matt Milano contract extension

The Bills’ salary cap is in a tough spot heading into the 2023 NFL offseason. Just days before NFL free agency starts, the team had a $-17,131,398 balance. That’s the third-worst cap situation in the league.

However, the good news is that through restructuring and extensions, the Bills can free up a good deal of cap room so that they can operate this offseason. The first step is restructuring several veteran contracts. Here are the deals Buffalo needs to redo and how much they could save on the Bills’ salary cap:  

  • QB Josh Allen ($21.1M)
  • WR Stefon Diggs ($5.3M)
  • CB Tre’Davious White($5M)
  • OT Dion Dawkins ($3.8M)
  • CB Taron Johnson ($2.2M)
  • TE Dawson Knox ($656K)
  • RB Nyheim Hines ($1.6M)
  • ST Siran Neal ($430K)
  • OG Ryan Bates ($1.8M)

Total that up, and those moves can save over $42 million. Next, cutting C Mitch Morse saves another $5.3 million.

On Sunday, the Bills took the step of extending the Matt Milano contract. That saved the team a little over $6 million, which gets the Bills salary cap closer to positive, at $-13,381,398. If the franchise continues with the moves above, it will free up $34,275,185 in cap room.

That number will allow the Bills to sign their draft picks and bring in some free agents around the edges. What it also likely does is spell the end of Tremaine Edmunds’ Bills career.

Why Bills free agent Tremaine Edmunds is now out in Buffalo

Buffalo Bills, Bills salary cap, Matt Milano, Tremaine Edmunds, Bills free agent
Tremaine Edmunds (49) and Matt Milano (58) | Joshua Bessex/Getty Images)

As much as 2018 first-round draft pick Josh Allen has turned the Bills around in the last five seasons, so did the other 2018 first-round selection, linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.

Edmunds was the third-youngest player ever taken in Round 1, and despite his young age, he lived up to the hype in Buffalo. With 565 tackles, 31 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, five interceptions, and two Pro Bowl appearances, the former Virginia Tech Hokie is now one of the best middle linebackers in the league. And the Bills’ free agent is still just 24 years old.

Despite his age and production, Edmunds is likely done in Buffalo for two reasons. One is that he is going to command top 10 or even top five ILB money this offseason, and that means $10 to $15 million per season (in average annual value). And even with the savings and potential savings for the Bills’ salary cap, that’s too much for the team to pay for a non-premium position.

Secondly, giving out a Matt Milano contract extension shows the franchise is choosing him over Edmunds. While the Bills’ free agent is a great all-around LB who has led the team in tackles in four of his five years, Milano is the best coverage linebacker in the league, and in 2023, that’s simply more valuable.

With the number of suitors Edmunds will have and the Bills committing long-term to Milano, the Bills’ free agent will start the 2023 season somewhere other than Western New York.


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