It was feared with Buffalo's tight salary cap situation that re-signing free agent linebacker to be, Matt Milano, wouldn't be in the cards for the Bills. But after clearing cap space on Wednesday the Bills reached a four-year contract agreement with their former fifth-round draft pick.
Milano, 26, was part of the inaugural 2017 draft class under head coach Sean McDermott and has blossomed into a dynamic every down linebacker.
He has started 39 of 55 games with Buffalo and produced 265 tackles, 6.0 sacks and five interceptions in his career.
GM Brandon Beane expressed genuine concern this past January that Milano would want to maximize his value on the open market and knew keeping him on their roster could prove difficult. But credit Buffalo's front office with clearing the cap room necessary to keep a critical playmaking element of their front seven on the roster for the foreseeable future.
"He's a very good defensive player and you always want to keep as many as you can," said Beane this past January. "He's done such a great job since he came in here to improve from 2017 to now."
Milano has teamed with LB Tremaine Edmunds each of the past three seasons as the every-down linebackers in Buffalo's defense, a unit that lined up in a nickel defense 90 percent of the time this past season.
"Man he makes a difference," said Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier this past season. "He did a terrific job for us and his presence is felt out on the field. Whether we are bringing him in pressure or if he was in coverage, he's a vital part to our success on defense."
And that vital part will continue to make plays in Buffalo's defense as his new contract runs through the 2024 season.