When the Buffalo Bills signed quarterback Josh Allen to a massive contract extension worth as much as $258 million over six years on Friday, the carefully constructed roster they are building around him started to come under more scrutiny.
So what exactly does his new contract mean?
Here are three immediate thoughts.
This is obvious but still needs to be at the top of the list.
After Allen’s breakout season of 2020 in which the Bills advanced to the AFC Championship Game, the money they have guaranteed him is second in NFL history only to that of his counterpart in Kansas City, Patrick Mahomes, whose Chiefs beat the Bills to go to the Super Bowl last season.
That signifies their unwavering belief in the 25-year-old’s ability to keep performing the same way over the next decade or so.
Not bad for a player who came out of high school with no scholarship offers and just one (from Wyoming) after attending junior college
2. Reduced cap flexibility
The Bills enter 2021 with perhaps the most loaded roster in franchise history. But they won’t be able to keep the band together as it exists today for too much longer
High-priced veterans will need to be purged as the team looks to build around lower-cost options to remain under the NFL’s salary cap.
For example, the salaries of defensive ends Jerry Hughes, 32, and Mario Addison, 33, will come off the books after this season, and the team may no longer be able to afford keeping defensive tackle Star Lotulelei around for 2022.
Wide receiver Cole Beasley, 32, has a cap hit of $7.6 million in 2022, the final year of his current deal. He could be a casualty sooner rather than later as well.
The Bills will need to maintain or increase their batting average in the NFL Draft and become more frugal shoppers in free agency.
3. Buffalo is a destination
The team’s commitment to Allen and chasing a Super Bowl means the Bills should be able to continue signing talent at a discount, like they did with so many players this year.
Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds comes immediately to mind.
The Bills already have picked up the former first-round draft pick’s fifth-year option for 2022. But his long-term viability remains in doubt, and unless he takes the kind of below-market deals recently signed by fellow linebacker Matt Milano and tackle Daryl Williams, he likely won’t be re-signed.
Safety Jordan Poyer, who has no guaranteed money in 2022, the final year of his contract. also may need to do the same.
Either way, youth will be served