The Buffalo Bills do not have any cap space at this point, and if they want to make a run at signing J.J. Watt or any other solid free agent, they are going to have to get some players off the roster to clear some cap space.
The Bills have not made any moves as of yet, like the Green Bay Packers, who are also said to be in the running for Watt’s services.
If they do in fact want to clear up some room, here are five players that could be trimmed from the Buffalo Bills roster to make things work.
1.) John Brown – While I am a huge John Brown fan, the Bills are stacked at the wide receiver position, and John Brown’s injuries did not help. They re-signed Jake Kumerow late at the end of the season, and also added Josh Allen’s college teammate in Tanner Gentry. The Bills have Isaiah Hodgins coming back from injury and still have Duke Williams, and rookie Gabriel Davis. I think Brown will be released/or traded. If he is released post June 1st, he could save the Bills 7.9 million dollars. I would expect this move to happen unless he takes a restructured deal.
2.) Mario Addison – If the Bills are serious about J.J. Watt they have to get out of Mario Addison’s contract. Addison is 33 years old and will be 34 at the start of the season. J.J. Watt is only 31, and if the Bills can cut (post June 1) or trade Mario Addison they would free up 8.1 million. He was one of the Bills best young pass rushers but the Bills have A.J. Epenesa who they drafted in the first round and started to turn it on at the end of the year. The Bills would also be adding Watt, which would be a huge addition. If Watt cannot be added, I would expect Addison to stay.
3.) Vernon Butler – Butler is a guy I think that would like to be kept, but that is only if Star Lotulelei is not coming back. I think if the Bills get Star back, they have no reason to keep Butler. They have Harrison Phillips, Ed Oliver, Justin Zimmer and Star, which would be a pretty solid rotation. I think if Butler is cut it will be later and likely a Post June 1st cut. It would save the Bills 6.8 million dollars.
4.) Quinton Jefferson – I think Quinton Jefferson is as good as gone. Do not get me wrong he was a solid pass rusher, but he would be an instant savings. The Bills would save 6.5 million dollars right now. The Bills roster was blessed with the emergence of Justin Zimmer. Zimmer is a way cheaper option and proved that he can come in right now and play at the same intensity level or higher than what Jefferson did. Zimmer was a magnificent signing by the Bills and it will help the Bills clear some cap space moving forward.
5.) Tyler Matakevich – I know he is a stud on special teams but he is expendable. The Bills will be looking for linebackers in the draft, and if the Bills release Matakevich they would save 3.35 million dollars. That is a lot of money moving forward. He is getting paid too much for just a special teams player. I am sorry they can find a much cheaper replacement at this point who can actually play snaps on defense as well. With how banged up the Bills were at linebacker, Matakevich was not on the field much.
Buffalo Bills Roster Savings: 32.65 million dollars
That is more than enough to lock up Josh Allen, land J.J. Watt and make a run at re-signing Matt Milano, and one of the offensive lineman Feliciano and/or Williams.