If the Bills move on from quarterback Tyrod Taylor this offseason, left tackle Cordy Glenn will have the highest cap hit on the team at $14.45 million. That's a large commitment to a player who was limited to six games in 2017 and was adequately replaced by rookie Dion Dawkins.
That leaves the Bills in a bit of a conundrum. They paid Glenn handsomely in a 2016 extension that made him one of the highest-paid players at his position. Cutting him would be expensive, and even a trade would leave the Bills with significant dead cap space. So the best course of action, if Glenn can return healthy from nagging foot and ankle injuries, may be to move Dawkins to right tackle for the time being.
Having more than one quality left tackle is a good problem for the Bills to have, but it assumes Glenn returns to form. He began that process by having foot surgery after being placed on injured reserve in December.
"He has had a successful operation; he’s currently rehabbing and getting himself ready for a great offseason," coach Sean McDermott said Tuesday. "I think there’s a lot of positive energy around Cordy and I know he wanted to be out there down the stretch with his teammates."
Glenn reportedly drew interest at the trade deadline in October, but a trade wouldn't get Glenn off the Bills' books. They'd be hit with $9.6 million in dead cap space if they traded Glenn before June 1 due to bonus money in his deal. That number drops to $3.2 million after June 1, which presents the Bills with a savings of more than $11 million, but would also push $6.4 million in dead cap space to 2019.
The Bills currently have more than $18.6 million in dead cap space for 2018, the highest figure in the league, which is mostly due to the Marcell Dareus trade. General Manager Brandon Beane said Tuesday that he doesn't have a limit on how much dead cap space he can accrue, but he hopes to have that number down significantly in coming years.
"Obviously the less dead money you have, the more you're actually spending on the guys on the field. We’re working through that," Beane said. "When you unload some guys with bigger salaries, you know the names, that’s a little harder, those are some bigger chunks. We’re still dealing with that. Hopefully you guys will see going forward, that number’s going to come way down in ’19, ’20 and beyond."
Beane says he's "very critical of game management"
If you spend part of your Monday mornings arguing the merits of game-management decisions, you can take solace knowing that Brandon Beane might be doing the exact same thing.
Asked Tuesday what was the biggest thing he learned this season about coach Sean McDermott, Beane said it was how McDermott manages a game – an issue close to Beane's heart.
"That was probably the thing, even when I interviewed with Terry and Kim, that I’m very critical of game management, things like that," Beane said. "I used to talk to [Panthers coach Ron] Rivera about game management stuff – not just his games but things I saw in other games. We all live and learn. You’re never going to – people critique, the Monday morning quarterbacks, ‘should’ve called a timeout here,’ ‘should’ve spiked the ball here’ and all that. You’re never going to be perfect. Rarely are you going to grade out and say every single thing worked the way it did. But I thought overall Sean did a really good job."
Was McDermott receptive to criticism?
"We talk about everything," Beane said. "We go through some things initially and then some things when you go back and watch the film. And sometimes I answer myself, ‘you know what, I know why he did that.’ But we’ll talk about things, I’ll talk about plays. I’ll look at it from my perspective; sometimes he’ll know something from his perspective, this is what happened in the game, this is why this player was here, why we called this call, and it’ll answer the question for me."
How limited was receiver Kelvin Benjamin after tearing his meniscus?
"I’d be lying if I said he was himself, if I said he was 100 percent. He wasn’t," McDermott said. "This will be a big offseason for Kelvin. Brandon and I both know, I think people around the league know what he’s capable of doing when healthy; unfortunately, he wasn’t, in particular after that Chargers game. I think after that drive. I’ll tell you what, the young man toughed it out. I think there was some leadership shown by him in doing that. This will be a big offseason for Kelvin. I know he’s anxious to get started and we’re anxious to see him healthy and ready to go."
Benjamin has one year remaining on his contract.
Beane on replay, Gaines
Bills owner Terry Pegula made headlines in December by saying the league must fix its replay system. Beane was asked Tuesday what he can do about that issue from his post.
"A lot of those things go up to ownership level," he said. "I do talk to people at a high level at the league, but sometimes it’s got to go all the way to the top, you’d have to get in the competition committee. And I’ve had my discussion with some of them, some of the points they say, ‘we’ve got it, we’ve heard that,’ some of them they say, 'hey, you need to take that to Terry and have him raise that from his point of view, that will be a stronger presence.' So, [at] owners meetings, things like that. So really the next big thing would be the March meetings when some of those things can get hashed out."
Beane also confirmed that the team allowed Brian Gaine, their vice president of player personnel, to interview for the Houston Texans general manager position.