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COVID-19 salary cap hurt Bills more than most


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Every team in the NFL has been effected by the reduced salary cap brought on by the pandemic, but the timing of the cap cuts have clearly effected some teams more than others, and I think it's fair to say that the Bills were definitely one of the teams most effected.  The salary cap this year was projected to be $210 million before COVID.  It ended up at $185 million, a massive $25 million cap hit.

 

The Bills are now in their Super Bowl window and have a roster that is talented and deep, with their QB still on his rookie contract, but that I think is missing just a piece or two on defense to put them over the top.  Losing $25 million is cap space this year didn't allow Beane to go out and aggressively go after players like Shaquill Barrett, Adoree' Jackson, William Jackson, Leonard Williams, or Carl Lawson.  Any of these players could have been difference makers on the defensive side of the ball and elevated that unit. 

 

It's frustrating to finally be one of those teams that is "just a piece or two away" and to have the ability to go out and add those pieces yanked out from underneath them by a twist of fate beyond anyone's expectations or control.  I imagine it's even more frustrating for Beane who has worked hard to craft solid, cap friendly contracts that would put the Bills in a great position this year to go out and add those key pieces in free agency. 

 

Imagine re-signing our own free agents this season like we did, but also bringing in Carl Lawson or Shaquil Barrett opposite Jerry Hughes and Adoree' Jackson across from Tre White?  If COVID had not hit that could have been possible.  As it was, Beane did a great job just keeping the free agent talent that we had.

 

Beane has said that he is always thinking about long term success / stability, but I have to believe that he would have evaluated the situation the Bills are in right now and been aggressive in free agency.  Signing a difference maker or two on defense this year wouldn't have put the Bills in cap hell over the long term either with the cap expected to increase greatly over the next 5 years.  Beane could have afforded to bring those players in without busting the cap going forward.

 

It's so Billsy that we are stuck In a situation beyond anyone's control that didn't allow Beane to go out and add that missing piece or two that could help finally bring a Lombardi home to Buffalo this year.  Can the Bills still win it all?  Absolutely, and I think they have a great shot to do so with the roster as it stands, but it sure would have be nice to have an elite EDGE or CB2, or both, added to this defense to help make that push.  

 

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1 minute ago, Inigo Montoya said:

Can the Bills still win it all?  Absolutely, and I think they have a great shot to do so with the roster as it stands, but it sure would have be nice to have an elite EDGE or CB2, or both, added to this defense to help make that push.  


I agree it sucks but, in response to the quote above, Beane has clearly stated he’s not done this year yet. Something to consider. 

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2 minutes ago, TroutDog said:


I agree it sucks but, in response to the quote above, Beane has clearly stated he’s not done this year yet. Something to consider. 

That’s great, but he’s gotta go find some cap space.  We are pretty tapped out otherwise.  The Bills are sitting on $3.7M in space now per Spotrac.  Rookies will drop that to $2.5M.  Then after cut downs when full rosters and practice squad players have to be included, that number would go to $0 or less.  Plus then there is space for replacements for IRed players that has to be cleared.  I think a restructure of Dawkins gets us through this season with no additional spending of note, but anything else is going to require clearing some space. 

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3 minutes ago, Inigo Montoya said:

Every team in the NFL has been effected by the reduced salary cap brought on by the pandemic, but the timing of the cap cuts have clearly effected some teams more than others, and I think it's fair to say that the Bills were definitely one of the teams most effected.  The salary cap this year was projected to be $210 million before COVID.  It ended up at $185 million, a massive $25 million cap hit.

 

The Bills are now in their Super Bowl window and have a roster that is talented and deep, with their QB still on his rookie contract, but that I think is missing just a piece or two on defense to put them over the top.  Losing $25 million is cap space this year didn't allow Beane to go out and aggressively go after players like Shaquill Barrett, Adoree' Jackson, William Jackson, Leonard Williams, or Carl Lawson.  Any of these players could have been difference makers on the defensive side of the ball and elevated that unit. 

 

It's frustrating to finally be one of those teams that is "just a piece or two away" and to have the ability to go out and add those pieces yanked out from underneath them by a twist of fate beyond anyone's expectations or control.  I imagine it's even more frustrating for Beane who has worked hard to craft solid, cap friendly contracts that would put the Bills in a great position this year to go out and add those key pieces in free agency. 

 

Imagine re-signing our own free agents this season like we did, but also bringing in Carl Lawson or Shaquil Barrett opposite Jerry Hughes and Adoree' Jackson across from Tre White?  If COVID had not hit that could have been possible.  As it was, Beane did a great job just keeping the free agent talent that we had.

 

Beane has said that he is always thinking about long term success / stability, but I have to believe that he would have evaluated the situation the Bills are in right now and been aggressive in free agency.  Signing a difference maker or two on defense this year wouldn't have put the Bills in cap hell over the long term either with the cap expected to increase greatly over the next 5 years.  Beane could have afforded to bring those players in without busting the cap going forward.

 

It's so Billsy that we are stuck In a situation beyond anyone's control that didn't allow Beane to go out and add that missing piece or two that could help finally bring a Lombardi home to Buffalo this year.  Can the Bills still win it all?  Absolutely, and I think they have a great shot to do so with the roster as it stands, but it sure would have be nice to have an elite EDGE or CB2, or both, added to this defense to help make that push.  

 

 

 

2018 offseason cap maneuvering was the main culprit.    Terrible free agent signings and the most dead money buried in one season in the history of the NFL has put them in a position where they are less cap flexible than we'd like with a QB still in the middle of his rookie deal.

 

I like a lot of what Beane has done but he and McD came out the box with a lot of financial misfiring.   

 

In the context that useful NT's are getting paid minimum wage now.........eating Dareus' unamortized signing bonus when his base salaries were dwindling and guaranteed money was almost gone.........and then putting 5 years and $50M on Star Lotulelei was an atrocious decision.   Murphy was a significant bust too.    They had the highest paid DL in the NFL last year.......so they are still paying for those.

 

In full context,  Beane has done a lot more good than bad,  but initial mistakes have been $ costly and that the money burned on busts like Kelvin Benjamin and Murphy and Star is impacting them still today.    

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I saw a post on here a few days ago that said great teams don’t have a “window” per se... they build a winning culture where great players want to come play here, AND draft smartly, so even after our stars of today leave through retirement or free agency, we can easily fill in the holes through the pipeline.

 

I think that’s what Beane and Mcdermott are truly building here.

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1 hour ago, BarleyNY said:

That’s great, but he’s gotta go find some cap space.  We are pretty tapped out otherwise.  The Bills are sitting on $3.7M in space now per Spotrac.  Rookies will drop that to $2.5M.  Then after cut downs when full rosters and practice squad players have to be included, that number would go to $0 or less.  Plus then there is space for replacements for IRed players that has to be cleared.  I think a restructure of Dawkins gets us through this season with no additional spending of note, but anything else is going to require clearing some space. 

 

They have some players like Poyer and Diggs where they can convert some of their base salary into a signing bonus and free up enough money to get through the season. The cap in the NFL is more like a suggestion at times. 

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4 minutes ago, RiotAct said:

I saw a post on here a few days ago that said great teams don’t have a “window” per se... they build a winning culture where great players want to come play here, AND draft smartly, so even after our stars of today leave through retirement or free agency, we can easily fill in the holes through the pipeline.

 

I think that’s what Beane and Mcdermott are truly building here.

 

Agree 110%.  The future is bright and continuing to get brighter.....imho.

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We signed a lot of our own guys to home town discounts. I don't think it's fair to assume that identical deals are made if the salary cap went up this year. Regardless, we may still have been able to get one of those players that you mentioned.. but not sure what the math would look like and if it would have been possible.

 

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In some ways, I think it has helped us though.  1) Beane is very "fiscally responsible" w/ how he structures contracts, so we're not often left w/ large amounts of dead cap space or players we can't afford to cut. 2) We were able to retain almost all of our own FAs, I think in large part cuz there wasn't large amounts of $ elsewhere to attract them.  Were it not for that, I think a few of our retained players may well have cost $1m or more each per yr to keep.

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3 hours ago, Inigo Montoya said:

Every team in the NFL has been effected by the reduced salary cap brought on by the pandemic, but the timing of the cap cuts have clearly effected some teams more than others, and I think it's fair to say that the Bills were definitely one of the teams most effected.  The salary cap this year was projected to be $210 million before COVID.  It ended up at $185 million, a massive $25 million cap hit.

 

The Bills are now in their Super Bowl window and have a roster that is talented and deep, with their QB still on his rookie contract, but that I think is missing just a piece or two on defense to put them over the top.  Losing $25 million is cap space this year didn't allow Beane to go out and aggressively go after players like Shaquill Barrett, Adoree' Jackson, William Jackson, Leonard Williams, or Carl Lawson.  Any of these players could have been difference makers on the defensive side of the ball and elevated that unit. 

 

It's frustrating to finally be one of those teams that is "just a piece or two away" and to have the ability to go out and add those pieces yanked out from underneath them by a twist of fate beyond anyone's expectations or control.  I imagine it's even more frustrating for Beane who has worked hard to craft solid, cap friendly contracts that would put the Bills in a great position this year to go out and add those key pieces in free agency. 

 

Imagine re-signing our own free agents this season like we did, but also bringing in Carl Lawson or Shaquil Barrett opposite Jerry Hughes and Adoree' Jackson across from Tre White?  If COVID had not hit that could have been possible.  As it was, Beane did a great job just keeping the free agent talent that we had.

 

Beane has said that he is always thinking about long term success / stability, but I have to believe that he would have evaluated the situation the Bills are in right now and been aggressive in free agency.  Signing a difference maker or two on defense this year wouldn't have put the Bills in cap hell over the long term either with the cap expected to increase greatly over the next 5 years.  Beane could have afforded to bring those players in without busting the cap going forward.

 

It's so Billsy that we are stuck In a situation beyond anyone's control that didn't allow Beane to go out and add that missing piece or two that could help finally bring a Lombardi home to Buffalo this year.  Can the Bills still win it all?  Absolutely, and I think they have a great shot to do so with the roster as it stands, but it sure would have be nice to have an elite EDGE or CB2, or both, added to this defense to help make that push.  

 

 

Not sure we can really blame COVID.  Other teams in similar situations found ways to spend money this offseason.

Brandon Beane's mentality is just different than most GMs.

 

The recent trend around the NFL is for teams to go ALL-IN after hitting on a franchise quarterback.  The idea is to stack the roster like crazy before they are forced to pay said QB $30-40 million per year.  This allows for a 2-3 year window, and hopefully you can get a trophy before the entire structure collapses.  Then a rebuild becomes necessary.  We are seeing this right now with the Chiefs, who are already 1-2 seasons away from cap hell.  The Rams get maybe one more shot, before everything totally implodes.  The Eagles have already fallen apart. 

 

Beane has a different philosophy.  Instead of selling out for a brief window, he wants to keep the Bills competitive every season for the 10-15 years we (hopefully) have Josh Allen under center.  This is more the way teams like Green Bay, Pittsburgh and New England generally run their franchises.

 

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3 hours ago, BADOLBILZ said:

2018 offseason cap maneuvering was the main culprit.    Terrible free agent signings and the most dead money buried in one season in the history of the NFL has put them in a position where they are less cap flexible than we'd like with a QB still in the middle of his rookie deal.

 

I like a lot of what Beane has done but he and McD came out the box with a lot of financial misfiring.   

 

In the context that useful NT's are getting paid minimum wage now.........eating Dareus' unamortized signing bonus when his base salaries were dwindling and guaranteed money was almost gone.........and then putting 5 years and $50M on Star Lotulelei was an atrocious decision.   Murphy was a significant bust too.    They had the highest paid DL in the NFL last year.......so they are still paying for those.

 

In full context,  Beane has done a lot more good than bad,  but initial mistakes have been $ costly and that the money burned on busts like Kelvin Benjamin and Murphy and Star is impacting them still today.    

 

I'm not sure what our 2018 dead cap situation has to do with 2021.  It has been off the books for 3 offseasons now.  The idea behind taking on that dead cap at once, was to give us more flexibility in future years.  And it worked.  We suffered through a 6-10 during Allen's rookie season.  Then jumped to 10 wins.  Then to 13.

 

I agree that Star Lotulelei and Mario Addison are overpaid, based purely on production.  But sometimes you also need a veteran-bridge while rebuilding your roster.   You can't just fill a team with rookies and expect to succeed.  Part of the process has been keeping NFL-tenured leaders in the locker room and gradually replacing them with younger talent.  Both of these were guys Beane/McDermott knew and trusted from the Carolina organization.  And fans also tend to overexaggerate how "awful" they are, because both guys are still solid pieces to our rotation, even if they aren't huge impact players anymore. 

 

As guys like Lotulelei, Addison and Jerry Hughes begin to filter off the team, then guys like Ed Oliver and AJ Epenesa will hopefully be able to step into a leadership role on the D-Line.

 

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3 hours ago, Inigo Montoya said:

Every team in the NFL has been effected by the reduced salary cap brought on by the pandemic, but the timing of the cap cuts have clearly effected some teams more than others, and I think it's fair to say that the Bills were definitely one of the teams most effected.  The salary cap this year was projected to be $210 million before COVID.  It ended up at $185 million, a massive $25 million cap hit.

 

The Bills are now in their Super Bowl window and have a roster that is talented and deep, with their QB still on his rookie contract, but that I think is missing just a piece or two on defense to put them over the top.  Losing $25 million is cap space this year didn't allow Beane to go out and aggressively go after players like Shaquill Barrett, Adoree' Jackson, William Jackson, Leonard Williams, or Carl Lawson.  Any of these players could have been difference makers on the defensive side of the ball and elevated that unit. 

 

It's frustrating to finally be one of those teams that is "just a piece or two away" and to have the ability to go out and add those pieces yanked out from underneath them by a twist of fate beyond anyone's expectations or control.  I imagine it's even more frustrating for Beane who has worked hard to craft solid, cap friendly contracts that would put the Bills in a great position this year to go out and add those key pieces in free agency. 

 

Imagine re-signing our own free agents this season like we did, but also bringing in Carl Lawson or Shaquil Barrett opposite Jerry Hughes and Adoree' Jackson across from Tre White?  If COVID had not hit that could have been possible.  As it was, Beane did a great job just keeping the free agent talent that we had.

 

Beane has said that he is always thinking about long term success / stability, but I have to believe that he would have evaluated the situation the Bills are in right now and been aggressive in free agency.  Signing a difference maker or two on defense this year wouldn't have put the Bills in cap hell over the long term either with the cap expected to increase greatly over the next 5 years.  Beane could have afforded to bring those players in without busting the cap going forward.

 

It's so Billsy that we are stuck In a situation beyond anyone's control that didn't allow Beane to go out and add that missing piece or two that could help finally bring a Lombardi home to Buffalo this year.  Can the Bills still win it all?  Absolutely, and I think they have a great shot to do so with the roster as it stands, but it sure would have be nice to have an elite EDGE or CB2, or both, added to this defense to help make that push.  

 


why couldn’t we do that when someone else could?

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3 hours ago, BADOLBILZ said:

2018 offseason cap maneuvering was the main culprit.    Terrible free agent signings and the most dead money buried in one season in the history of the NFL has put them in a position where they are less cap flexible than we'd like with a QB still in the middle of his rookie deal.

How does biting the bullet for 1 year in 2018 to free up money in future seasons put the Bills in a worse cap situation in future seasons?

 

I’m not sure what you just wrote... 

Edited by JGMcD2
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Sure all true, but I'd argue that teams who drafted QB's in 2015 thru 2017 are in worse shape in that the second QB contracts have already kicked in and got hit with the cap reduction (not fully for 2017 draftees) LA with Goff, Eagles with Wentz.  Coincidentally or not, many of those teams haven't done that well so not in the Super Bowl window to start with, instead rebuilding.

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23 minutes ago, mjt328 said:

 

Not sure we can really blame COVID.  Other teams in similar situations found ways to spend money this offseason.

Brandon Beane's mentality is just different than most GMs.

 

The recent trend around the NFL is for teams to go ALL-IN after hitting on a franchise quarterback.  The idea is to stack the roster like crazy before they are forced to pay said QB $30-40 million per year.  This allows for a 2-3 year window, and hopefully you can get a trophy before the entire structure collapses.  Then a rebuild becomes necessary.  We are seeing this right now with the Chiefs, who are already 1-2 seasons away from cap hell.  The Rams get maybe one more shot, before everything totally implodes.  The Eagles have already fallen apart. 

 

Beane has a different philosophy.  Instead of selling out for a brief window, he wants to keep the Bills competitive every season for the 10-15 years we (hopefully) have Josh Allen under center.  This is more the way teams like Green Bay, Pittsburgh and New England generally run their franchises.

 

 

My point is that if Beane had another $25 million in cap space in his pocket he wouldn't have to mortgage the future, he could have gone out into the free agent market and landed some defensive difference makers with the money in hand.  We were going to be in a cap situation to do just that before COVID knocked $25 million off the cap.

 

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5 minutes ago, Inigo Montoya said:

 

My point is that if Beane had another $25 million in cap space in his pocket he wouldn't have to mortgage the future, he could have gone out into the free agent market and landed some defensive difference makers with the money in hand.  We were going to be in a cap situation to do just that before COVID knocked $25 million off the cap.

 


you don’t think 31 other GMs are saying the same thing about the extra $25m they could’ve spent and having to likewise readjust spending plans too?

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5 minutes ago, JGMcD2 said:

How does biting the bullet for 1 year in 2018 to free up money in future seasons put the Bills in a worse cap situation in future seasons?

 

I’m not sure what you just wrote... 

 

 

That answer is simple and tangible.

 

Cap dollars.

 

They chose to create the dead money........they felt it was necessary........fine.

 

But it was a CHOICE.

 

They also chose to sink about $80M in cap space into Star Lotulelei and Trent Murphy with those deals in 2018..........that was a big chunk of change for a couple duds..........most of which they could have rolled over and had available to spend this offseason.   

 

These were Bills choices.

 

There were lot's of smaller mistakes that added up as well.........giving Corey Coleman $3.5M for 10 days of TC........Paying Quinton Spain $5M to go away after re-signing him.......overspending on reserves like Spencer Long.........and of course the low impact DL signings of last offseason(and choosing to retain both Addison and Butler again).

 

But the primary culprit for the Bills relative lack of cap room were the very impactful $ decisions of 2018 offseason.

 

The pandemic was not a primary reason for the Bills lack of flexibility...........every team had their salary cap affected by the same amount.

 

The Bills could have chosen to push debt down the line if they felt that was going to push them over the top.   The reality is that the Bills weren't going to be in a better cap position to improve themselves in free agency than the rest of the teams in the league.   The other teams would have had the same amount MORE to spend.   It's not that complicated.

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9 minutes ago, NoSaint said:


you don’t think 31 other GMs are saying the same thing about the extra $25m they could’ve spent and having to likewise readjust spending plans too?

 

 

Are 31 other GMs legitimately one or two pieces away from a Super Bowl campaign this year?

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3 hours ago, RiotAct said:

I saw a post on here a few days ago that said great teams don’t have a “window” per se... they build a winning culture where great players want to come play here, AND draft smartly, so even after our stars of today leave through retirement or free agency, we can easily fill in the holes through the pipeline.

 

I think that’s what Beane and Mcdermott are truly building here.

 

you need BOTH - in the long term you want to be a perennial contender - but within that, there are greater windows of opportunity than others

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