BUFFALO BILLS AND THE CAP
Fortunately for the rest of the AFC East a talented team with a few extra bucks can’t log onto Amazon and order a Franchise QB and Coaching Stability. After years of top 10 draft picks and free agency signings this team looks like it should be a division powerhouse. They enter 2014 with a good balance of talent on both offense and defense and relative skill player stability. Although the tendency is to think of the Bills as an up and coming team their cap situation and contract aging resembles that of a mature competitor. If EJ Manuel can stay healthy and progress while the Coaching Staff get its act together watch out. Unfortunately for Bills fans is they have heard this all before.
The Buffalo Bills current financial season starts close to here:
|(A) ESTIMATED 2014 CAP||
|2013 CARRYOVER||$ 18,000,000.00|
|(B) MAX CAP SPENDING||$ 144,000,000.00|
|DEAD MONEY||$ 12,000,000.00|
|AVAILABLE TO SPEND||$ 132,000,000.00|
|(C)PRACTICE SQUAD AND DRAFT||$ (5,000,000.00)|
|(D) IR and IN SEASON REPLACEMENTS||$ (7,500,000.00)|
|CURRENT TOP 51 CONTRACTS||$ (112,500,000.00)|
|AVAILABLE TO SPEND||$ 7,000,000.00|
(A & B) the estimated 2014 cap figure subject to change
(C) money that will be spent this season
(D) estimate based on a reasonable amount to set aside for contingencies
The biggest items on the Bills agenda are the resigning of free agent safety Jarius Byrd and perhaps TE Scott Chandler. Like any other team there will likely be more cap room available but don’t expect them to be a big player in free agency this year. If they can get a deal done with Byrd and find a little help on the O-line that’s about the most to hope for. The main task facing the Bills is to get more from what they already have. The knees of EJ Manuel have to be a cause for concern. He missed six starts last year due to 3 “minor” injuries and though he has the offseason to work with his receivers the loss of real time game reps hurts his progress. Still, all things considered this doesn’t look like a 6-10 team but it didn’t last year either. The players are there let’s see if the coaching gets the job done.
A general big picture overview of a team will never provide the insight of a dedicated fan of the team so to complete our article we asked one for his thoughts.
What has plagued this team over the past several years is roster consistency, which is understandable. Why would any top player want to play for a sub-par team? Not to mention the injury bug that seems to reside in Western NY. I know injuries are not an excuse, look at the Pats this season. However, when you can’t keep your top players, you are constantly scraping the bottom of the barrel for talent at backup. Our QB pool had a combined 1 NFL start this season and all 3 of them had to step up. You have to ask the question of “What if EJ had played all season?” Would we have beaten Kansas City? Probably. Would we have held out against Cleveland (still a cheap shot that should have been fined)? More than likely. And what if the entire starting secondary wasn’t injured to start the season? What if Gilmore was on the field instead of Justin Rogers against the Jets?
Here’s the positive in that situation, we have found that we now may have some competent safety net. Thad Lewis did a pretty solid job filling in for EJ in those games he missed. Nickell Robey proved that undrafted free agents can have a huge impact on a team. Jim Leonhard came back to the team to play big. Alan Branch just signed an extension to stay in line (what is going on with Marcel next season?).
If we can get some consistency at QB, and find a way to keep Byrd (with Pettine leaving I have my doubts) and then next season finding a way to keep Dareus, Spiller, and Jackson, I think that this team, with this staff, and of course the degradation happening in NE, could be the toast of the AFC East for years to come. Sorry Fin Fans.
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