You wouldn't say the Buffalo Bills are tanking in 2018, but from a salary cap perspective, they're certainly willing to take one on the chin this season in the hopes that they'll be better prepared for the future.
In trimming the roster down to 53 players Saturday, the Bills tacked on another $5.64 million of dead cap space, bringing their season total to an astonishing $53.9 million – accounting for more than 30 percent of the team's entire salary cap this season.
"Dead cap space" refers to the portion of a team's salary cap that is accounted for by players no longer on the team. The Bills added quarterback AJ McCarron ($2.1 million) and receiver Corey Coleman ($3.54 million) to that list Saturday, trading McCarron to Oakland and cutting Coleman.
As Mark Gaughan outlined in the link above, the Bills' amount of dead cap space ranks among the highest on record. But taking expensive hits this season (from players such as Marcell Dareus, Cordy Glenn and Tyrod Taylor) should set the Bills up nicely for the future: According to Spotrac, the Bills will have the second-most cap space available for 2019.
That should help the Bills put solid pieces around quarterback Josh Allen, who will have up to four more years on his rookie contract. With the way quarterback salaries are trending, building for success with young, inexpensive quarterbacks appears to be a market inefficiency worth trying to exploit.
Colton Schmidt wins punting competition: The Bills cut punter Jon Ryan, meaning Schmidt beat him out to hold onto his job. Tight end Nick O'Leary was a mild surprise cut, in addition to Coleman. Click here for the full list of cuts.
McCarron details: On the day the Raiders traded away Khalil Mack, they also acquired McCarron for a fifth-round pick. The Twitter reaction wondered what Raiders coach Jon Gruden was doing. Here is how the trade set the Bills up for the 2019 draft.
What the national media is saying about the Bills for 2018: There's no way around the fact that the Bills overachieved last season. Sean McDermott should get credit for getting more out of his team and taking advantage of their situation, but the national media doesn't have a favorable outlook for 2018. "McDermott must conjure that magic again in 2018; his Bills are still pocked with deficiencies, mainly up front," Sports Illustrated wrote. "Top to bottom, this is one of the NFL’s least talented rosters. A second year of overachievement is improbable."
Bills look back on Friday Night Lights: As high school football opens around the country, Bills players reflected on their time playing in front of much smaller crowds. “One of the things that's the most special about high school football is the kids you grew up with,” said rookie Harrison Phillips, who was the 2013 Gatorade Nebraska Football Player of the Year. “... In your brain, at that time, you think that's the end-all, be-all. It's hard to see into the future at that time. Every day is the most important day ever. To have that goal of trying to win a state championship, build that camaraderie with the guys, it was a fun ride.”
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