Von Miller is coming off his second ACL tear. While the future Hall of Fame pass rusher re-emerged from a December 2013 tear in time for Week 1 of the ’14 season, he is now 34. Given how the Bills proceeded with Tre’Davious White, it would not surprise to see the team exercise caution with Miller’s return.
Miller now expects to be ready by Week 1, but Buffalo’s recent one-year Leonard Floyd deal provides some protection against the 13th-year veteran needing more recovery time. Though, the team will be expected to have both veterans in uniform fairly early in the season. GM Brandon Beane has since said (via ESPN.com’s Alaina Getzenberg) the Bills targeted Floyd regardless of Miller’s health situation.
Last year, the Bills gave Miller a $120MM deal with guarantees stretching into Year 3. This pried Miller from the Rams’ grasp, with the Bills viewing the star edge rusher as a missing piece in what had been a homegrown defensive end crew. Miller tallied eight sacks in the 10 games he finished last season, but the team certainly missed him following the Thanksgiving ACL tear. Floyd, who has not missed a game since the 2017 season, profiles as a seasoned insurance option.
Floyd, 30, benefited from Miller and Aaron Donald during the Rams’ Super Bowl LVI push two seasons ago but also totaled a career-high 22 quarterback hits last season — one in which the Rams shut down Donald after 12 games. Floyd collected four of his nine sacks without Donald in the lineup, offering potential as a standalone edge presence for a Bills team that hopes to see more from its younger rushers. Of course, Floyd’s presence will reduce that contingent’s playing time.
Gregory Rousseau, a 2021 first-round pick, totaled three of his eight sacks after Miller’s injury, and A.J. Epenesa (Round 2, 2020) finished with a career-best 6.5. Boogie Basham has struggled to make a steady impact since going off the board in the 2021 second round, totaling 4.5 sacks in 23 career games. The Bills also re-signed Shaq Lawson this offseason. It does not seem the team will have room for six D-ends. Unless Miller begins the season on the reserve/PUP list, it would seem likely one of the sextet is not on the team’s initial 53-man roster.
Floyd’s arrival will give the Bills three players with at least one eight-sack season on their resume. Miller and Floyd have combined for 13 such slates, with Rousseau getting there in 2022. Floyd still fared decently as a street free agent, despite waiting until June to sign. Several edge rushers resided in the same boat, as that market has not moved much this year. Floyd’s deal may help establish a veteran market of sorts, with the likes of Frank Clark, Yannick Ngakoue and Jadeveon Clowney still available.
To land Floyd, the Bills authorized $7MM guaranteed on a contract that maxes out at $9MM. The team will spread out Floyd’s $5.84MM signing bonus over four years, via the use of three void years, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The void years drop Floyd’s cap hit to $2.6MM. Thanks to Ed Oliver‘s extension taking the defensive tackle’s fifth-year option price out of the equation, the Bills created some cap room for Floyd. They still hold $5.5MM, which is nearly $5MM more than they carried at this point last week.