Inside The Bills

Whaley: Our cap situation is pretty restrictive

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2016 – 9:18 am

Senior Bowl week is currently on the front burner for the Bills personnel department, but prior to leaving for Mobile, Alabama, the front office had a personnel meeting to discuss their offseason priorities concerning their current roster with their own free agents the focus. Naturally Richie Incognito and Cordy Glenn remain at the top of the list with both set to become unrestricted free agents in less than two months. But Buffalo’s salary cap situation has to be rectified first.

Appearing on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, GM Doug Whaley outlined how at the outset heading into the new league year in March, the Bills have some financial maneuvers to make as they are currently over the projected salary cap for 2016.

“Right now it’s pretty restrictive. I believe we’re over the cap,” said Whaley. “So (Senior VP of Football Administration) Jim Overdorf is going to be working really hard and work his magic. We have confidence that we’ll be able to put our best foot forward and try to get this done (with Incognito and Glenn). When you have the number one rated rushing offense in the league you want to try to keep that as stable as possible. If we can get those five guys back and maintain the continuity up front that’s not only going to keep our running game strong, but it’ll help our quarterback improve as well.”

The 2016 salary cap is projected to be somewhere between $150 and $156 million. It was $143 million and change last season after making a $10M jump in one calendar year thanks to some new large television contracts the league had brokered. Per, Buffalo currently sits at almost $158M in contract commitments that count toward the cap.

Look for the Bills to make the necessary maneuvers to put themselves in a position to re-sign the left side of their offensive line and make a few other moves they deem essential to take the next step as a team in the offseason.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 9-18

Posted by Chris Brown on September 18, 2015 – 11:26 am

The Bills are 1-0 with a pretty important early season matchup with the Patriots up next. Be loud Bills fans! Here is this week’s edition of your questions from email at and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hey Chris thanks for all the hard work you put in!

Are the Bills keeping three QB’s because of the chance a running QB (Taylor) is likely to be injured?

Danny in Scottsdale, AZ

CB: I think the Bills intended to keep three quarterbacks from the very beginning. The performance of all three in the preseason I believe cemented their spots on the 53-man squad. Cassel’s value is in his experience and Manuel’s play in the preseason convinced the offensive staff that he’s on the right track with his progress as a young signal caller. Taylor obviously won the job.


2 – How will the contract extension for Marcell play into our ability to re-sign some of the other Bills on contract years? Including the usage of a franchise tag do you see the Bills being able to retain Glenn, Bradham, and Gilmore as a big three? Do you think that leaves enough for McKelvin( is he on a final year?) and Harvin?



CB: The Bills bought themselves some time with Stephon Gilmore by picking up his fifth-year option, so he’s not up until after the 2016 season. Nigel Bradham and Cordy Glenn are the other big names that are coming due after the 2015 campaign.

The good thing that the Bills did was spread out Dareus’ guaranteed money over the first two years with singing and option bonuses in addition to his guaranteed base salary. The deal is relatively cap friendly until the last two years when his base salary balloons to more than $12M.

Bradham and Glenn are the two that figure to be addressed. The linebacker would be much easier to sign than the left tackle, knowing the market rate for left tackles is far higher than at LB. Knowing how thin the Bills are depth-wise at both positions it’s going to be interesting to see how the decision making plays out with those two players.

The good news is the salary cap continues to go up and up and up, and with the revenues projected where they are for NFL clubs this year the cap is expected to take another sizable jump this offseason. That makes re-signing players like Bradham, Gilmore and Glenn more realistic.

Leodis McKelvin signed a four-year extension that runs through 2016.

3 – Hey Chris,
With the extension of Dareus, Could you give bills fans an update on how long we will have our d line for?

Danny in Scottsdale

CB: The contracts of Kyle and Mario Williams are the ones set to expire first following the 2017 season. Jerry Hughes’ deal runs out in 2020 and Dareus is after the 2021 season. Now we all know circumstances crop up at other positions that can necessitate some difficult decisions at defensive line, so to assume that the line will be together for another four seasons might be foolhardy. I do think it’s safe to say we’ll see the group together through at least 2016.


4 – Hello Chris,

As always, thank you for providing the fans this opportunity. With our limited exposure to Ronald Darby, we don’t really get to see his progression. I understand the need for him to struggle and that the preseason is a good place to throw him to the wolves. I am curious how much he has progressed since he came in? Does he learn quickly from his mistakes? Any information would be helpful.

Thank you!


CB: I will let defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, a former NFL cornerback himself, handle this one. Here’s what he said this week about Darby’s progress.

“He continues to work on his craft, he’s a very talented young man. We believe the sky is the limit for him, we expect him to play well,” said Thurman. “If he’s out there we’re expecting him to play well. We don’t look for him to play like a rookie. We know at times that he may get himself in trouble but if he’s focused on what his assignments are we feel like he’s talented enough to get the job done.”
5 – Chris,

Why do the Bills make comments about the Pats? All that does is fuel the fire. Every time they talk smack they get beat down.


CB: I think we all know that Rex Ryan has a track record of not being afraid to say what he believes. Coach-speak doesn’t really exist for Ryan and that filters down to his players, who he encourages to speak their mind and say what they believe. I don’t think there has been anything this week other than players speaking confidently and believing that they can beat New England. That’s a healthy and necessary mindset to have going into a game against an opponent of this caliber.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills official cap number

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2014 – 11:54 am

There have been conflicting reports on what the Bills workable cap space is for this time of year. We’ve got an accurate estimate for you.

First, the reason the figures have been conflicting is some reports are counting all of the salaries on the offseason roster and some have not accurately computed dead money and not likely to be earned incentives, which can adjust the working number. This time of year what counts are the top 51 salaries on the team, and going by that approach the Bills have cap space that will be in the low 20’s in terms of millions.

That comes from about as official a source as possible here at One Bills Drive.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills cap room less than previously reported

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2014 – 9:47 am

It’s always a moving target, but many projected the Bills salary cap room heading into free agency today would be in the upper 20’s in terms of millions. But the latest research from NFL Network indicates a much lower figure.

According to NFL Network Buffalo has $16.44M in cap space heading into today (Tuesday). That ranks 15th in the league.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Franchise tag goes up with cap

Posted by Chris Brown on February 28, 2014 – 7:19 pm

With the salary cap for 2014 now set at $133 million the cost of the franchise tag for safety has also increased.

When it was anticipated that the cap would increase to $126M to re-tag Byrd would’ve cost 120% of his previous year’s salary or $8.3M since it was the greater amount, but now it appears that the new salary cap figure will push the franchise figure for safeties to $8.43M.

Here are the rest of the franchise tag amounts by position courtesy of CBSSports Jason LaCanfora.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

2014 salary cap officially $133M

Posted by Chris Brown on February 28, 2014 – 7:00 pm

It went up a lot more than most we’re anticipating, but the league’s salary cap went up $10M from last year to $133M.

Each team may, at its own discretion, carry over unused salary cap room from the prior League Year. Most Clubs elected to carry over Salary Cap room from 2013 to 2014. The average carry over for those teams that elected to do so was $6.1 million per Club. Thus, those Clubs have an average of $139.1 million to spend on player salaries in 2014.

How is the Salary Cap calculated?
The Salary Cap is calculated by taking a percentage of all projected NFL revenues, subtracting projected benefits for the upcoming season, and dividing by 32 teams.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills projected to have 7th most cap space

Posted by Chris Brown on December 30, 2013 – 8:08 am

As the 2013 season has now come to an end, the Bills will reportedly have among the most cap space available this NFL offseason for 2014.

That according to, which projects the Bills, under an assumed new league salary cap of $126M and change, to have the seventh most cap space in the league for 2014.

Buffalo was projected to have just over $29M in cap space, prior to the Alan Branch extension. The top three teams with the most projected cap room were Oakland ($62M), Jacksonville ($55M) and Cleveland ($46M).

Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills cap space rank

Posted by Chris Brown on February 8, 2013 – 9:35 am recently posted a list of where NFL clubs rank in terms of cap space from most to least. Here’s where the Bills stand.

Buffalo ranks eighth in the league in cap space with $16.7 million in cap room for 2013. Obviously that can be a moving number knowing roster releases can change the books. In any event here’s the list compiled by for the league.

1. Cincinnati – $50.6M
2. Cleveland – $45.6M
3. Miami – $44M
4. Indianapolis – $43.1M
5. Tampa Bay – $30.1M
6. Jacksonville – $23.8M
7. Tennessee – $18.3M
8. Buffalo – $16.7M
9. New England – $15.8M
10. Seattle – $15M
11. Denver – $14.9M
12. Kansas City – $13.3M
13. Baltimore – $12.9M
14. Minnesota – $12.3M
15. Chicago – $10.3M
16. San Diego – $6.3M
17. Houston – $6.1M
18. Green Bay – $5.8M
19. Philadelphia – $5.7M
20. Atlanta – $2.1M
21. San Francisco – $49K Over
22. St. Louis – $2.3M Over
23. Arizona – $3.3M Over
24. Detroit – $5M Over
25. Washington – $5.9M Over
26. Oakland – $8.3M Over
27. NY Giants – $10M Over
28. Carolina – $13.7M Over
29. Pittsburgh – $13.8M Over
30. New Orleans – $20.6M Over
31. Dallas – $21.1M Over
32. NY Jets – $23M Over

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-23

Posted by Chris Brown on March 23, 2012 – 11:19 am

The NFL draft is just about a month away. Let’s get to your questions from

1 – Hey CB,

Thanks for all of your hard work reporting on the Bills–it’s really appreciated.  I was just wondering if you could layout the off season calendar from OTAs to Training camp and explain the new guidelines under the new CBA opposed to years past? 

CB: You can find all the OTA and minicamp dates right here. As far as OTAs go players can only go against “air.” In other words no offense vs. defense, no kickoff team vs. kick return team. Team drills can only be run against air and there are no one-on-one drills allowed either. Also during the first phase of OTAs there are no helmets worn and obviously no pads or shells without any live contact.

In the second phase of OTAs helmets can be worn, but there is still no live contact and therefore no pads or shells. A maximum of 10 practice days can be scheduled over this three week period, with no more than three days over each of the first two weeks.

For the mandatory minicamp coaches can have two-a-days on two of the three total practice days, but there are still no contact drills or use of pads allowed.

So in summation contact drills, unit vs. unit drills and one-on-one drills are now prohibited.  

And per the CBA each team is required to film all of these OTAs and minicamp practices and hold onto them until a month into the regular season in case the league wants to review them to make sure the rules are being followed.

2 – Chris,

I could use some clarification on how the salary caps works under the new CBA.  My understanding is that the salary cap is the most that a team is allowed to spend on player contracts, and under the new CBA that was reached last year, every team has to spend up to 99% of the cap beginning in the 2012 season.  I also understand that teams that were under the cap last year have the ability to roll that money over to next season to spend extra money.

Any additional info on this topic would be greatly appreciated. 

Las Vegas


CB: The way it was outlined in the new CBA was confusing to a lot of people because the league talked about collective team spending and then in the next breath individual team spending. It kind of muddied the waters with respect to what each team has to commit to spending-wise. I’ll try to present it as simply as I can (no easy task).

League-wide there has to be commitment to cash spending of 99 percent of the cap in 2011 and 2012. That means all the teams collectively. If the league’s 32 teams fail to reach the 99 percent level then the league has to make up the difference.

In 2011 and 2012 there is no salary cap floor (minimum). That does not kick in until 2013. At that point each individual club is committed to cash spending of 89 percent of the cap from 2013-2016 and 2017-2020. 

For the 2013-2016 seasons, and again for the 2017-2020 seasons, the clubs collectively will commit to cash spending of at least 95 percent of the cap. Again if the 32 teams do not reach that figure the league makes up the difference.

So starting next offseason there is technically a salary cap floor for all NFL clubs (89% of cap), but as far as the higher percentage, that’s a figure the league’s teams have to reach collectively.

The most important thing to remember is it’s not cap space, it’s cash spent by the clubs. That adds up a lot quicker than cap space knowing contracts with respect to the cap can be spread out over the length of the deal. Hope that all makes sense.


3 – Chris,

These two months of speculation of the draft are like sitting in a closed room, watching the walls of its paint dry. I am impressed with your tenacity for finding new information and working your sources for the fans of the Bills. I wonder how many Bills fans are aware that we could have picked Ron Gronkowski in the second round of 2010, instead we picked DT Torell Troup. Belichick had the next pick and he rewarded his Pats with what turned out to be the best TE in the business. I’m sure Buddy hasn’t forgotten that snafu as another draft approaches.

There are some really good quality picks for TE in the early second round. Did you think Buddy will take a chance on one of them? And who do you think is the best pick between Dwayne Allen, Orson Charles or the Stanford TE? It’s high time the Bills paid respect to a such versatile position with a huge upside.

Go Bills!
Buffalo Bill

CB: First, I wouldn’t call taking Torell Troup a snafu. Yes, Gronkowski has panned out to be a tremendous talent, whose value has largely been maximized by a very good coach and outstanding quarterback. Troup has been mired by a persistent back problem his first two seasons, but with his back issues rectified I think he’ll prove to be a solid contributor. Only time will tell.

As for the TE position this year, Stanford’s Coby Fleener is the most complete. After clocking a 4.45 at his pro day he’s probably not going to be there in round two. That leaves Dwayne Allen from Clemson and Orson Charles from Georgia. Both are lacking a bit in size, and some NFL scouts consider them H-backs more than true tight ends.

I believe Allen’s hands are a little better than Charles’, but both are pretty good blockers. Allen looks a bit stronger physically than Charles. Both have good intangibles. I think it’s going to come down to whether a team wants a more versatile TE or not. If they want versatility I think Charles can line up in more places than Allen. Allen however, is stronger and a more natural pass catcher.

Both could come off the board in round 2.


4 – Chris,

Love the Bills’ coverage year round. There seems to be changes in the wind with the 10th pick. It appears they might lean towards Left Tackle. But at that spot, is that the best player available? Reiff and Martin both have concerns. I know they would like to add a tackle but both players have just as much risk as Ingram, Coples, and Upshaw. I would like to see them trade down or draft Floyd from ND. A sure handed big receiver with speed. Floyd would be a great addition across from Stevie and give Fitz targets. What’s your assessment on Floyd, LT.  Need vs value at pick 10?

CB: This is the great debate for the Bills heading into the draft. Reiff and Martin are widely viewed as players worthy of coming off the board between 10 and 15. Floyd has enhanced his overall stock with a solid Combine workout and squeaky clean senior year off the field.

Truthfully the debate isn’t need versus value. They need a starting left tackle and a number two wide receiver. The question is what is Buffalo’s draft grade on Martin, Reiff and Floyd? If the grades are close I think they pull the trigger at left tackle because they need a starter there. It’s harder and harder to find a capable starting left tackle with each passing round. This draft is deep at receiver and you can arguable get a quality player in round three, though he won’t have 4.47 speed that Floyd possesses.

What we also need to remember is if the grades on Martin, Reiff and Floyd are not close to that of the 10th pick Buffalo could trade down from there and re-group presumably armed with an additional pick.


5 – Hi Chris,

I know that Buddy and Chan want a deep threat that is open even when he isnt, and they dont see a pass rusher at 10, would it not make sense to go after Mike Wallace, if they gave him enough money in year 1 Pittsburg wouldn’t be able to sign him and they would have the scariest deep threat in the league, which should open things underneath for everyone else to shine even brighter
Thanks from North of the Border

CB:  I think the premise of your thought is a good one. You know what Mike Wallace is being a proven deep threat in the NFL. However, where things get sticky is in the money you would have to commit to Wallace. After committing number one receiver dollars to Stevie Johnson there’s no way they’d be able to do the same with Wallace, who will absolutely be looking for big, big money.

When you consider the fact that the Bills told Robert Meachem to take the four-year $25.9M deal from San Diego, it was an indication that $6.5M per season for their number two receiver is too steep a price as they see it. You’re not getting Mike Wallace for less than $6.5M per season so it makes giving up the 10th pick not worth it. I’m sure the Bills would love to have Wallace, but I don’t see Buffalo willing to accommodate Wallace’s contract demands after what went down with Meachem.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

2012 cap projections

Posted by Chris Brown on February 7, 2012 – 10:24 am

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel took a look at every team’s 2012 cap situation to assess their potential participation in free agency, albeit with some words of caution in how they reached those figures. In any event they put teams in three categories, possible big spenders, working on a budget and tightening the belt. Here’s a look at where the Bills fit in.

Buffalo based on their cap figures were listed under the working on a budget category. The paper made a safe estimate in assuming the cap to be around $124M keeping in mind that $5M must be set aside for one’s draft choices, more if a team has more picks, which the Bills do (9 right now). Here’s what was written as well as the NFL clubs that are in the same boat.

Teams that aren’t up against the cap, but need to make smart moves to avoid trimming a ton of players and salaries.

Jacksonville Jaguars        $107,270,274
Buffalo Bills                         $108,426,522
Seattle Seahawks              $111,742,430
San Diego Chargers         $111,960,165
New Orleans Saints         $113,358,069
Philadelphia Eagles          $113,964,694
Baltimore Ravens             $115,670,281
Minnesota Vikings           $116,078,422
Houston Texans                 $116,306,676
Miami Dolphins                 $116,636,173
Indianapolis Colts             $116,773,288
Green Bay Packers            $118,001,169
Arizona Cardinals             $118,787,639

Bills GM Buddy Nix said last month that they intended to be aggressive where they could in free agency for the three or four needs they believe need to be addressed.

“I’m not limited except by the cap,” said Nix. “Nobody’s ever told me you can’t do this or you can’t do that. There’s a lot of things that go into it that I’m sure you guys know but one of them is, and the thing that I ask our cap people, Jeff Littman and Jim Overdorf, the thing I ask them is if we sign this guy for this amount, then is it going to cost us this player and this player and that’s kind of the way I try to make my decision is, are we going to be able to keep the core, important guys or are we just going to get this guy and can’t get anybody else?

“Listen, I want to win. That’s what I came here for, that’s what I want to do. I want to do whatever I can to help that along. And I’m saying there’s a lot of us involved. We’ve got a lot of good people in personnel and a lot of good help and we’ll use all the resources and then make the best decision we can.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

ESPN cap info

Posted by Chris Brown on July 13, 2009 – 2:21 pm

ESPN, through put up a recent division by division look at the salary cap spending for each of the NFL teams for 2009.

The rundown can be found here at ESPN Insider.

Basically they have the Bills ’09 figure at almost $128M (less than $2M from what the Jets and Patriots are spending). Miami is spending the most this season at $135M. So anyone that claims Buffalo doesn’t spend money would be off the mark. Here are the numbers compiled by FootballOutsiders.

AFC East
Miami $135,835,822
New England $129,831,466
New York $129,278,924
Buffalo $127,997,000

Posted in Inside the Bills

’09 cap goes up $4M

Posted by Chris Brown on February 26, 2009 – 3:28 pm

According to NFL Network’s Adam Schefter the league’s salary cap for teams has increased from $123M to $127M, giving teams $4M more of cap space.

This shouldn’t really have a major impact on a lot of the league’s teams that were comfortably under the initial figure, including the Bills. But for the Jets and Colts, it’s good news.

Schefter stated the reason for the increase was due to the collective bargaining agreement language concerning cap adjustment. The salary cap figure is reduced if teams spend over the cap in cash and it’s increased if teams don’t spend up to the cap.

It’s kind of an indication that teams over the past year have not been spending wildly (excluding Oakland of course) with actual cash out.

Posted in Inside the Bills