Bills general manager Brandon Beane said one of the reasons it’s difficult to keep pace with the Bengals is that Cincinnati has its best players on inexpensive rookie contracts, while Buffalo doesn’t.
“Right now they’re under contract for a rookie quarterback,” Bene said of Joe Burrow. He’s a great talent, I’d love to have him, but you have to go through some lean years to do that. They were able to find Buro’s number. 1 and Chase [No. 5] And those guys are on their rookie deals. We’re paying a hefty number for Stefon Diggs. We’re paying a hefty number for Josh Allen. So there are cap restrictions. They have a very good squad and got some good young players. We try to get as many players as we can through the draft and free agency, but again, our situation is a little different.
Bean said the NFL hasn’t told teams what the 2023 salary cap will be, but Bean expects the Bills to exceed it. This means the Bills’ first priority is to make moves to get under the cap instead of signing expensive free agents.
“With moves, roster cuts, we’re going to get under the cap. . . . There’s not going to be a Von Miller signing or anything like that. We’re going to have to work to get under the cap so we can work this year,” Bean said.
Beane said there are moves the Bills could make to reduce the salary cap this year, but those moves will end up pushing the salary cap into next season, so Beane doesn’t want to make too many moves.
“I don’t want to be $100 million over the cap in two years, as we’ve seen teams have to do. I’m not looking to do that,” he said.
Burrow will sign a lucrative contract extension this year and Chase could next year, so the Bengals won’t have that advantage for long. But now it’s the advantage that makes Beane jealous of the Bengals’ situation.