Three days ago, Brandon Beane wasn't ready to make another move up the draft board in pursuit of a franchise quarterback.
It remains to be seen if the Buffalo Bills' general manager has a newfound sense of urgency given what happened two days ago. The New York Jets acquired the third overall draft pick from the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday, positioning themselves to draft a quarterback next month. In speaking with Sports Illustrated's Peter King on Friday afternoon before the Jets made their trade, Beane said he wasn't ready to make such a move.
"The truth? Most of these quarterbacks I’ve only spent 15 minutes with," Beane told King. "I haven’t spent enough time to have an opinion about any of them yet, honestly. I actually sent a little note to our [scouts] yesterday. We got six weeks to get our board together. I am not there yet, knowing if we can or will move up again. I want Sean to get to know all of them. We’re just keeping an open mind. Where we’re at, we’ve got the picks, we've got the draft capital. I’m not ready to pull the trigger."
One other interesting Bills-related note from King's Monday Morning Quarterback column: The team was reportedly "seriously interested" in Jets quarterback Josh McCown before he opted to re-sign in New York. That left the Bills with AJ McCarron. Here's what Beane told King about that signing: "We did due diligence there. Every dollar we spend there is a dollar less we can spend somewhere else. We didn’t want to get into chase mode. We had different guys we thought would fit, AJ being one of them. One word we heard over and over from people who had coached him or known him, like Hue Jackson: competitor. That was music to my ears. He’ll fit here."
Beane also talked about the team's cap situation with King. As of Monday morning, NFLPA records showed the team having $22.219 million in cap space, but the team's roster currently has 65 players, not the 62 shown on the salary cap report. That means not all of the team's contracts have been processed, so that cap space will go down when they are.
Beane told King the Bills will have about $45 million in "dead money" on this year's salary cap – that's money paid out to players no longer on the team. That's an astronomical amount – more than double any other team in the NFL. The contracts website spotrac.com shows the Bills with $35.921 million in dead money at the moment, but that figure will go up when center Eric Wood is taken off the active roster. Wood, who can no longer play because of a neck injury, will add either $10.391 million or $8.225 million in dead money to this year's cap, depending on if he is released before or after June 1. Doing so before June 1 would mean his entire dead money hit would be absorbed in 2018. That would leave the Bills with more than $47 million in dead money on the 2018 cap, about 25 percent of the entire $188.7 million cap. Releasing Wood after June 1 would spread out the dead money over two years, with $8.225 million hitting this year and $2.166 million hitting in 2019.
"That was part of my plan – to eat all of it, or as much as we could, this year," Beane told King of the Bills' dead money.