1. Navigating the salary cap
The Bills begin the 2023 offseason roughly $20 million over the salary cap, meaning the team will need to combine both roster cuts and contract restructuring to create the necessary space to get under the cap.
The NFL set the 2023 salary cap at $224.8 million, up from $208.2 million in 2022.
"We're probably in the $240s (million) of what's on the book," Bills GM Brandon Beane said during his season-ending press conference. "So the short answer is we're going to have to get under the cap by moves."
According to Spotrac Founder/Managing Editor Mike Ginnitti — his website ranks as one of the premiere team & player contract resources — he says it's common for NFL teams that are in a Super Bowl contending window to need salary cap restructuring at the beginning of the offseason.
"To be minus $20 (million) or close to that based on the $224 million league salary cap is not the most daunting task we've seen," Ginnitti said via One Bills Live. "A couple of sizable restructures, especially to your quarterback and you're right back at cap neutral. So, I am not overly concerned about where the Bills are at right now."
The Bills are set to have 20 unrestricted free agents and 3 restricted free agents and the Bills won't be able to bring all of those pieces back.
"He'll do what he has to do to get them ready," Ginnitti said of Beane's plan to ensure Buffalo can compete at the top of the league in 2023.
2. Breaking down the Bills' free agents
The following players are free agents this offseason (23 total):
Offense: QB Case Keenum, OL Rodger Saffold, OL Greg Van Roten, OL Ike Boettger, OL Bobby Hart, OL David Quessenberry, WR Jamison Crowder, WR Jake Kumerow, RB Taiwan Jones, RB Devin Singletary, TE Tommy Sweeney
Defense: LB Tremaine Edmunds, S Jordan Poyer, DT Jordan Phillips, DE Shaq Lawson, LB Tyler Matakevich, S Dean Marlowe, LB AJ Klein, LB Tyrel Dodson, CB Dane Jackson, CB/S Cam Lewis, S Jaquan Johnson
Special Teams: P Sam Martin
Dodson, Jackson and Lewis are all restricted free agents meaning they can negotiate and sign with any team, but the Bills are able to match that offer to keep them via a "tender". The rest of the list above is free to sign with any of the other 31 NFL teams, or they can resign with the Bills if an offer is made by the team.
3. Biggest names to watch
Defensive stars safety Jordan Poyer and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds are the two players many Bills fans will focus on this offseason.
It's no secret that Poyer, 31, has been a staple in the Buffalo defense in the six seasons he's been a Bill. He made the Pro Bowl in the 2022 season with the Bills and was a First Team All-Pro selection the year before that.
"I give Jordan a lot of credit. And he is a pro. I know the whole contract thing and like, people can handle those in many different ways. We all see that. But a lot of respect for how Jordan handled this and he's a great pro and did a lot of great things for us and we'd love to get him back, for sure," Beane said.
As for Edmunds, 24, he enjoyed his best season as a pro after being a first round selection in 2018.
"He's gotten better every year," Ginnitti said of Edmunds. "But he is absolutely of value, and they're at least going to attempt a multi-year extension, there's no question about it."
Beane had nothing but positives to say about the development of Edmunds.
"Just been amazing to watch his growth from a 19 year old. I mean, it's not like he's 29, he's still a kid. He is a young man. But very proud of who he is. And you can just see his maturation," he said.
"Like Poyer and many of these other guys, would love to keep them all and we'll do our best."
4. Don't expect a splashy signing
The Bills went out last March and landed one of the biggest free agents on the open market, inking LB Von Miller to a six-year deal. While Beane and Co. have been known to pull off unexpected mega deals to bolster the roster, the Bills GM warned against that notion this offseason.
"Von's that ticket for this year too because we still got to pay him," Beane said. "And so when we made that move, that was 'all right, here's your big ticket expense'. It wasn't a one-year deal type. If it was a one-year deal with Von, maybe, but that's kind of our pass rusher big ticket. So no, I don't expect that."
Despite indicating the Bills won't be in play for any major free agents, Beane said he expects to still sign players that can help the team win in 2023 and believes the Bills' Super Bowl window is still open going forward.
"We have a plan to try and do it every year," he said.
Scroll to view the best fan photos from the 2022 season as chosen by Bills Team Photographers Bill Wippert, Ben Green, and Craig Melvin.