With the primary free agency period complete, and the secondary markets and value signings drying up, it appears the Buffalo Bills have decided to stop spending on free agents and instead turn their focus to the upcoming NFL draft. For the Bills, it’s a good idea as the reality is they don’t need to spend another dime. I would even argue that they should in fact reserve those funds for extensions for players currently on their roster.
According to overthecap.com, the Bills have close to $124 million committed in salary, which leaves them around $14 million in cap space after you count the rollover from 2013. After you factor in roughly $3 million that the team will spend on their upcoming draft picks, the Bills have close to $11 million in cap space. This seems like a lot of space compared to other teams, but the Bills can stand pat.
There was a key provision in the recent Collective Bargaining Agreement that all teams are required to spend 89% of their available cap space. For the $133 million cap limit that means all teams have to spend $118 million. The Bills are at that needed threshold with their $124 million, and after their draft picks, they’ll be at $127 million.
It’s now just a numbers game for the Bills ledger from here until the final roster cut-downs in late August. Where the team stands salary wise is also the reason why players like Erik Pears, Doug Legursky or even Stevie Johnson haven’t been cut. All of these players were possible cap casualties due to play and savings, but the Bills don’t need the savings right now.
If Pears and Legursky are cut, the Bills could save close to $3 million, but the Buffalo is instead playing a wait and see approach. For both Pears and Legursky it comes down to how training camp goes. If their play continues to slide downhill, then those players could still be cut. But for right now their cap number is more important than their play on the field.
When training camp comes expect the Bills to start looking to extend players such as Marcell Dareus, CJ Spiller or Jerry Hughes, and make necessary cuts to balance the bottom line. It’s a smart play by the Bills. Just because you have the space doesn’t mean you have to use all of it. More times than not, talent is found in the draft and not through free agency, and teams keep these players as long as they’re productive.