I broke this down in depth in an excel sheet and this is just a little bit of a recap of the excel sheet. If there's enough interest in the actual numbers, I'll transfer the excel sheet to microsoft one drive or google sheets so y'all can have a look. Also, sorry for the lengthiness of this, I tried to be more brief but also wanted to show that this isn't just a half-ass breakdown and that the numbers were properly taken into account behind it so no one can just shrug it off as not possible.
STEP ONE - 2020 OFF-SEASON OUTLINE
I took numbers from Spotrac and outlaid the Bills roster for the next 5 years until 2024. I used a projected salary cap of $199,000,000 in 2020, $206,000,000 in 2021 and increased by $6M per year every year following. This is likely lower than what the true salary cap will be, but I was conservative with it intentionally as too not overspend and keep it more realistic. I also went over rookie contracts for pick #20 in each round and found that the cap hit for all 7 rounds of rookies would be somewhere around $6M total. I took this number and rounded it up to $7.25M as too account for the fact that Beane has shown his willingness to trade up and trade dead weight players for late picks. After accounting for projected rookie contracts, current and future salaries and dead cap, this projects the Bills to have salary cap numbers of 2020 - $79.8M (including rollover), 2021 - $97.3M, 2022 - $161M, 2023 - $210.75M.
STEP TWO – “TRUE VIEW"
Beane has preached over and over again to reward his in house talent and stay out of cap hell. In order to take this into account, before starting to spend the money on current Bills free agents and UFA’s, I gave contracts out too six players that I see as cornerstones for this franchise if we were to find sustained success. The contracts are as follows:
2022: Josh Allen - 6 years, $190M (6th highest paid QB)
2021: Dion Dawkins - 5 years, $57.5M (14th highest paid T)
2022: Tremaine Edmunds - 5 years, $70M (4th highest paid MLB)
2021: Tre'Davious White - 5 years, $80M (highest paid CB)
2021: Jordan Poyer - 2 years, $17M (12th highest paid Safety)
2021: Matt Milano - 4 years, $32M (6th highest paid OLB)
I understand the numbers aren’t perfect, but they’re projections that at most are just a few million off. Come time, it would be easy to see Dawkins, Edmunds and Poyer possibly getting paid a little more. You could argue that Tre might get a 6 year contract instead of 5. However, again, these are just projections. The contracts should be accurate enough to get the point across.
With these projected resignings, this leaves cap space of 2020 - $79.8M, 2021 - $53.3M, 2022 - $71M, 2023 - $129.25M, 2024 - $135.25M.
STEP THREE – 2020 OFF-SEASON RESIGNINGS AND CUTS
Next up is who the Bills are going to resign and who they won’t resign and the value in these players. This part may become a little more controversial than the last step as too who people think we should and shouldn’t resign, and who we actually will and won’t resign.
2020 Off-Season Resignings
Senorise Perry - 1 year, $570k
LaAdrian Waddle - 1 year, $2M
Kevin Johnson - 1 year, $3.5M
Maurice Alexander - 1, $1M
Isaiah McKenzie - 1 year, $3.5M
Robert Foster - 1 year, $2.75M
Corey Liuget - 1 year, $2.5M
Dean Marlowe - 1 year, $1M
Shaq Lawson - 3 years, $22.5M
McBeane have placed an emphasis on special teams players, and therefore with the low values of Perry and Alexander and the contributions they should have to special teams, I believe they’ll be back. I like the depth that Waddle, Liuget and Marlowe offer at the prices they should be willing to resign for and thus suggest bringing them back. I’m not too well versed and the exclusive rights free agent clauses, and therefor don’t see Beane resigning Levi Wallace at what his market value will be and thus think it’s necessary to bring back Kevin Johnson. I have however seen that ERFA can be resigned at incredible value, so it may be possible we see Wallace brought back and Johnson walking.
Foster and McKenzie I had trouble making decisions on. With the emergence of Duke Williams and the guaranteed targeting of better receivers in the off-season, it’s possible that both Foster and McKenzie are let go. It’s also possible that McKenzie believes he has more value than $3.5M on the open market, so both of the receiver contracts could be off, but for now this is how I see it playing out.
As for Shaq, I thought he would be worth more money but after looking at past defensive end contracts with similar stats to Shaq, $7.5M/year may be his market value. The most comparable contract in the past 3 years was the 3yr/$27M contract that the Bills gave to Trent Murphy, and Murphy had had better stats at that point in his career. As for Jordan Phillips, I originally had the Bills resigning him at 1 year, $10M, but Beane had said this morning that Phillips earned his right to test his value on the open market and therefor I think he’s unfortunately a goner.
2020 Players Leaving
Levi Wallace - Bad value
Frank Gore - Retired
Lorenzo Alexander - Retired
Jason Croom - Not needed
Quinton Spain - Bad value
Julian Stanford - Draft/FA replacement
Kurt Coleman - Not needed
Jordan Phillips – Test the Market
Most of these don’t call for an explanation. Quinton Spain is going to ask for much more money than he’s worth. Probably upwards of 3 years at $8+ per year, and I think Beane proved his ability to find offensive lineman at value this past off-season. Wallace and Phillips were explained above.
Trent Murphy - $1.75M dead cap, $7.2M savings
Matt Barkley - $200k dead cap, $1.8M savings
Tyler Kroft - $1.6M dead cap, $4.8M savings in 2020, $6.85M savings in 2021
All three of these guys in my opinion just simply aren’t worth the money that can be had back with such little dead cap.
These moves leave us with the following cap figures 2020 - $69.3M, 2021 - $52.7M, 2022 - $63.5M, 2023 - $129.25M, 2024 - $135.25M
STEP FOUR – 2020 FREE AGENT SIGNINGS
2020 Free Agent Signings
Devin Funchess - 1 year, $9.5M
Case Keenum - 2 years, $8M
Eric Ebron - 2 years, $16M
Demar Dotson - 1 year, $7.5M
De'Vondre Campbell - 2 years, $11M
Morris Claiborne - 2 years, $9M
I may be underestimating the amount of money that Eric Ebron and De’Vondre Campbell are going to demand. However, the moves presented here eliminate any true “needs” in the draft and give the Bills the flexibility to truly draft best player available. This would leave us only truly needing to draft another running back. While following these signings I would still expect a first round pick or a trade to be spent on a receiver, it improves the offense enough that they would be able to suffice next year. Anything extra is just cream on the crop. This also replaces LoRax and Levi Wallace on the defensive side.
As for the cap space, there’s still a lot of moves that can be made, however cautiously. 2020 - $29.3M, 2021 - $30.7M, 2022 - $63.5M, 2023 - $129.25M, 2024 - $135.2M.
While a lot of people will pound the table for Ngakuoe or an offensive lineman such as Scherff at this point, I say pump the brakes. Ngakuoe is likely to get $15M+ per year, and then suddenly we’d be a bit against the cap in 2021 with less than $15M to take care of the small but still valuable pieces like Jon Feliciano. The cap space is there to make the big move without ruining the ability to sign our young core, but that just comes down to a roster building philosophy. Do you want to be able to have depth behind the young core? Or do you want to pair the young core with a big splash and eliminate the depth, relying on your stars and starters?
ROSTER PRIOR TO THE DRAFT
QUARTERBACK: Josh Allen, Case Keenum
RUNNING BACK: Devin Singletary, TJ Yeldon, Senorise Perry, Pat DiMarco
WIDE RECEIVER: John Brown, Cole Beasley, Devin Funchess, Isaiah McKenzie, Robert Foster, Duke Williams, Andre Roberts
TIGHT END: Eric Ebron, Dawson Knox, Tommy Sweeney, Lee Smith
OFFENSIVE TACKLE: Dion Dawkins, Demar Dotson, Ty Nsehke, Ryan Bates, LaAdrian Waddle
OFFENSIVE GUARD: Jon Feliciano, Cody Ford, Spencer Long, Ike Boettger,
CENTER: Mitch Morse
DEFENSIVE END: Jerry Hughes, Shaq Lawson, Darryl Johnson, Mike Love
DEFENSIVE TACKLE: Ed Oliver, Star Lotulelei, Harrison Phillips, Corey Liuget, Vincent Taylor
OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS: Matt Milano, De’Vondre Campbell, Vosean Joseph, Maurice Alexander
INSIDE LINEBACKERS: Tremaine Edmunds, Corey Thompson
CORNERBACKS: Tre White, Taron Johnson, Kevon Johnson, Morris Claiborne
SAFETY: Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Dean Marlowe, Siran Neal, Jaquan Johnson
SPECIALISTS: Steven Hauschka, Corey Bojorquez, Reid Ferguson.
I haven’t started my scouting yet, but I would say target a WR on day one, RB/O-line/DE/CB on day 2, LB/CB/O-Line/QB on day 3. Keep in mind, the Beane has 6 picks between the 5th and 6th round to trade around with. I could see the Ebron signing being a stretch, and in the scenario that something along those lines don't happen, I would LOVE to add a tight end on day 2.
Also, some people with love it, some people will hate it, but I'm personally keeping my eye on Odell Beckham this off-season. I think all of his "character issues" come solely from losing and that he would be a great addition to this offense if the Browns were willing to trade him.
You may not agree with the moves I suggested or the exact amount of money I suggested making them for, the points stands true. This team has PLENTY of money to not only retain their own, but improve the roster with outsiders as well. This off-season should be a more than exciting time as a Bills fan.