The list of the top salary cap hits on the Bills for 2020 is piddling compared with most of the rest of the NFL.
The Bills currently have just one player with a cap hit of $10 million or more for the coming year. That’s center Mitch Morse. The league average is five players per team at $10 million per year against the cap. The Bills are the only team without one player hitting the $15 million cap mark for 2020.
There will be either 19 or 20 quarterbacks with a cap hit of $20 million or more per year once the free-agency dust settles. About six will cost $30 million against the cap in 2020.
The Bills, of course, are among the one-third of teams saving big money at quarterback due to their starter being on his first contract. Josh Allen will count $5.77 million against the cap this year. Allen surely will be a financial bargain in 2021, his fourth NFL season, too. After the 2021 season, the Bills hope Allen will have accomplished enough to warrant a giant new contract.
The Bills’ list of $10 million-plus players is going to grow this year, regardless of what shopping they do in free agency because of contract extensions that are expected to be doled out to some or all of the following starters: Tre’Davious White, Jordan Poyer, Matt Milano and Dion Dawkins.
Here’s a look at the top 10 most expensive Bills on the roster in terms of their hit to the cap in 2020:
1. Mitch Morse, $11.6 million. He’s entering the second year of a four-year, $44.5 million deal, but most of the money ($28.3 million) is paid in the first two years.
2. Trent Murphy, $9.77 million. Murphy is entering the final year of a three-year deal. After an injury-plagued 2017 season, he played 65% of the defensive snaps in 2019. He had five sacks. Murphy has not played up to his pay grade, but he is a reliable veteran. If the Bills were to strike a deal with a high-priced defensive end, Murphy would be a logical cost savings. But no matter how they add another defensive end, why create an extra hole in the roster? The Bills have the cap space to keep Murphy.
3. John Brown, $9.7 million. The Bills’ top receiver enters the second year of a three-year, $27 million contract. He will get $8.1 million in cash this year and in 2021.
4. Jerry Hughes, $9.5 million. The Bills gave Hughes a two-year extension last May that keeps him under contract through 2021. It was a wise extension because it’s so hard to find edge-bending speed rushers. Hughes turns 32 in August.
5. Star Lotulelei, $8.1 million. The restructuring of the big defensive tackle’s contract this month lowered his cap figure by $2 million for 2020 and gives him a better shot to stick with the team beyond this season. Lotulelei’s $4.5 million base salary is guaranteed for this year. In 2021, $2.5 million of his $6.1 million base pay is guaranteed. His cap hit in 2021 will be $9.3 million, if he hits per-game bonuses, which is about $1.5 million lower than it would have been before the restructure.
6. Cole Beasley, $7 million. The slot man is entering the second year of a four-year deal that averages $7.25 million a year.
7. Micah Hyde, $6.7 million. Hyde, 29, has two years to go on his five-year deal, which averages $6.1 million a year.
8. Tyler Kroft, $6.4 million. Kroft signed a three-year deal that averages $6.25 million a year. He’s due a base salary of $4.5 million in 2020, and $2 million of that becomes fully guaranteed if he’s on the roster on March 22.
9. Josh Allen, $5.77 million. A year from now, the Bills can exercise a fifth-year option on Allen’s deal, which will keep him under contract through 2022.
10. Ty Nsekhe, $5.2 million. The 34-year-old tackle enters the second year of his reasonable two-year contract.