The Buffalo Bills were not big spenders in free agency last offseason, nor did they hand out many contract extensions.
As a result, the team ranked 26th in cash spending in 2017, according to a tweet from ESPN's Adam Schefter.
How much teams did, and did not, spend in 2017: pic.twitter.com/fihOoLhDLS
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 26, 2018
The Bills spent $150,558,572 in 2017 on player costs, according to a graphic produced by the NFL Players Association, a total that ranked 26th in the NFL. That includes base salaries, any bonus money, injury settlements, incentives, the practice squad or any other form of compensation.
That amount represents 90.15 percent of the league's $167 million salary cap. Teams are required to spend 89 percent of the league's salary cap, but that is calculated over a four-year period. Last season was the first of a new four-year cycle.
Cash spending is different than the salary cap. Say a player signed a two-year, $10 million contract in 2017 that includes a $5 million signing bonus and base salaries of $2.5 million in each season. Since the signing bonus is paid out immediately, that player's cash spending would be $7.5 million in 2017 and just $2.5 million in 2018, even though he would count $5 million against the salary cap in both years, because the signing bonus is split over the length of the contract.
For the four years from 2013-16, the Bills spent more than $573 million on player costs, well over the required $493.5 million required to meet the 89-percent threshold. The Bills ranked seventh in the NFL over that period.
The Cowboys spent just 69 percent of the league's cap in 2017, which was the lowest amount, while Detroit spent a league-high $204 million, 122 percent of the cap. A big-money contract extension for quarterback Matthew Stafford made up a significant chunk of that spending.
Spending big in 2017 did not immediately produce winning results, as CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora pointed out.
NFL's top 10 $ spenders in '17: DET, CAR, GB, JAX, MIA, CHI, CLE, SF, ATL, WSH
Only 3 teams made playoffs. Only JAX won more than 1 PS game
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) February 26, 2018