Thu, Mar 11, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
The Buffalo Bills haven’t wasted any time improving their team in the off-season after an impressive run in the playoffs last year. Linebacker Matt Milano has agreed to a four-year, $44 million extension with the Bills, according to the team.
Of the $44 million, $24 million of it is guaranteed. The contract was inevitable as the Bills worked to clear cap space in the days leading up to free agency opening.
In an effort to clear cap space, the Bills restructured the contracts of center Mitch Morse and defensive tackle Vernon Butler. The team also released defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson and wide receiver John Brown.
All told, the four moves helped to clear up $14 million in cap space, allowing the team to sign Milano to the four-year extension.
Milano was a key member of the Bills defense. He was so important to the team’s success that in each of the six games in the regular season that the Bills lost he was out due to injuries during the 2020 season.
The injuries Milano dealt with in 2020 do not show a pattern of problems. Going into the 2020 season, Milano had played in 44 of a possible 48 games in his career. Milano is the best cover linebacker for the team in the past three seasons. His ability to cover running backs and tight ends in the open field and rush the passer has added a new dynamic to the Bills defense.
Milano was drafted by the Bills in the 2017 NFL Draft’s fifth round out of Boston College. In 54 career games, Milano has 273 tackles, six sacks, and five interceptions. Milano posted a career-high 101 tackles during the 2019 season.
Milano had the chance to test the open market, which could have secured him at least $2 million more per year than the $11 million per year he will get in Buffalo. However, Milano decided to stay with the only team he has known in his young career in the hopes he can help them get to the Super Bowl in the coming years after falling one win shy of doing so in 2020.
“It is tough to stay there,” Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott said about keeping the Bills relevant. “Staying power and sustained success, we've had some of it but there's always challenges every year and they're different every year. I think it starts with the mentality of trying to keep as much of the pieces of our team together as possible. I know Brandon is going to do a great job and his staff with that.
“Teams that can put the team first and continue to put the team first are teams that will stay together and win year after year. You see teams doing that and there's a reason they're able to do that.”
The Bills likely aren’t done making moves this offseason, which means you should expect to see them make a deep playoff run again in 2021. If you are looking ahead to the NFL season, place your bets on the Bills to win the AFC East for a second straight season.