Bills General Manager Brandon Beane says one of the reasons it’s tough to keep pace with the Bengals is that Cincinnati has its best players on inexpensive rookie contracts, while Buffalo does not.
“They right now are on the advantage of a rookie quarterback contract,” Beane said of Joe Burrow. “They had some lean years, and without getting too much into their build, I don’t want to suck bad enough to have to get Ja’Marr Chase. He’s a heck of a talent, I’d love to have him, but you got to go through some lean years to do that. They were able to get Burrow No. 1 and Chase [No. 5] and those guys are on their rookie deals. We’re paying Stefon Diggs a pretty hefty number. We’re paying Josh Allen a pretty hefty number. So there is the constraints of the cap. They have a really good team and they’ve got some good young players. We’re gonna try to get as many players as we can through the draft and through free agency, but again, our cap situation is a little different.”
Beane said the NFL has not told teams what the 2023 salary cap will be, but Beane expects the Bills to be over it heading into the offseason. That means the Bills’ first priority will be making moves to get under the cap, rather than signing expensive free agents.
“We’re going to have to get under the cap by moves, roster cuts. . . . There’s not gonna be a Von Miller signing or something like that. We’re going to have to work to get under the cap so we can operate this year,” Beane said.
Beane said there are moves that the Bills can make to reduce salary cap hits this year, but those moves end up pushing salary cap hits into future seasons, so Beane doesn’t want to make too many such moves.
“I don’t want to in two years be $100 million over the cap, like we’ve seen teams have to do. I’m not looking to do that,” Beane said.
Burrow will likely sign a lucrative contract extension this year, and Chase likely next year, so the Bengals won’t have that advantage for long. But for now, it’s an advantage that makes Beane jealous of the Bengals’ situation.