Bills general manager Brandon Beane says one of the reasons it’s hard to keep up with the Bengals is that Cincinnati has its best players on cheap rookie contracts, unlike Buffalo.
“They currently have the advantage of a rookie quarterback contract,” Beane said of Joe Burrow. “They’ve had a tough few years, and without dwelling too much on their build, I don’t want to suck enough to have to catch Ja’Marr Chase. He’s a real talent, I would love to have him, but you have to go through difficult years to do that. They were able to get Burrow No. 1 and Chase [No. 5] and these guys are on their rookie offers. We pay Stefon Diggs a pretty high amount. We pay Josh Allen a pretty high amount. So there are ceiling constraints. They have a very good team and they have good young players. We’ll try to get as many players as possible through the draft and free agency, but again our cap situation is a little different.
Beane said the NFL hasn’t told teams what the 2023 salary cap will be, but Beane expects the Bills to surpass it before the offseason. That means the Bills’ first priority will be taking steps to get under the cap, rather than signing expensive free agents.
“We are going to have to go under the ceiling through movements, cuts in the list. . . . There won’t be a Von Miller signature or anything like that. We’re going to have to work to get below the cap so we can operate this year,” Beane said.
Beane said there are steps the Bills can take to lower salary caps this year, but those steps end up pushing salary caps back in future seasons, so Beane doesn’t want to overdo such steps.
“I don’t want to go over the $100 million cap in two years, 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.