Dawson Knox

NFL Restructures: Mahomes, Chiefs, Allen, Bills, Broncos, Browns, Martin, Cowboys

Completing a Marquise Brown signing after franchise-tagging L’Jarius Sneed, the Chiefs were able to find room due to once again taking advantage of Patrick Mahomes‘ unique contract. Kansas City created $21.6MM in cap space by restructuring the three-time Super Bowl MVP’s contract, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets. The Chiefs have gone to this well twice before, making the move in 2021 and 2023 to create cap room. The team reworked Mahomes’ deal in September 2023, following the QB market moving well beyond the Missouri-based superstar’s $45MM AAV, by moving guaranteed money around. But the extension still runs through 2031, giving the team room to maneuver here. Even with the Sneed tag on the books — ahead of a potential trade — the Chiefs hold more than $15MM in cap space as of Friday afternoon.

Here is the latest on the restructure front:

  • After the Bills made a few high-profile cuts last week, they restructured their centerpiece player’s deal this week. Buffalo created $16.7MM in cap space by restructuring Josh Allen‘s deal, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. This merely moved Allen’s 2024 cap charge down to $30.4MM. No void years are on Allen’s $43MM-per-year extension, but monster cap numbers in 2026 and ’27 ($63.9MM, $56.9MM) will need to be addressed. Allen’s deal runs through 2028. The Bills also adjusted Dawson Knox‘s contract to create cap space, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
  • The Broncos may be preparing to take the bigger Russell Wilson dead money hit this year as opposed to in 2025. Though, the final number has not yet emerged. The team has created considerable cap space as of late, releasing Justin Simmons and trading Jerry Jeudy. The Broncos also restructured the contracts of 2023 UFA pickups Zach Allen and Ben Powers, per Yates, creating nearly $20MM in cap room.
  • The Cowboys reorganized Zack Martin‘s deal recently, according to ESPN’s Todd Archer, who indicates the move created roughly $13MM in cap space. To end Martin’s holdout last year, Dallas provided considerable guarantees over the final two years of the All-Pro guard’s six-year deal. That contract now features four void years. If the Cowboys do not extend Martin before the 2025 league year, they would be staring at a $24.5MM dead money blow.
  • Jedrick Wills will check in here, even though he is not on a veteran contract. The Browns restructured their left tackle’s fifth-year option, per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero. The move created more than $10MM in cap space. Cleveland tacked four void years onto Wills’ deal. If the team does not re-sign him before the 2025 league year, it incurs an $11.8MM dead money bill. The Browns also turned to Jerry Jeudy‘s fifth-year option, which the team recently acquired from the Broncos, to create more than $10MM in space, Yates adds. The team likely used the same void years-based structure with the wide receiver’s option.

Bills Activate TE Dawson Knox From IR

Set to enter their second juggernaut matchup in a row, the Bills will be getting a reinforcement to their offensive unit. Tight end Dawson Knox has officially been activated off of injured reserve and should be available this weekend against the Chiefs. In order to make room on the active roster, Buffalo has waived veteran linebacker A.J. Klein.

Klein was signed to the active roster back in mid-October, after spending some time on the practice squad, and has been a bit of a nonfactor this year. Since being promoted, Klein has only appeared in two games, serving special teams duty in both contests.

Knox has missed the team’s last five games as he’s recovered from a wrist injury that required surgery back in late-October. He’ll be able to return to the offensive lineup this week, but he could be returning to a bit of a different situation than when he left. Knox’s absence has given rookie first-round pick Dalton Kincaid every opportunity to learn on the job and take over his role as the primary pass-catching tight end.

Knox had signed a significant four-year, $52MM extension prior to the 2022 season, and though he took a slight step back from an impressive 2021 campaign, Knox still was a heavy factor in Buffalo’s passing attack, even earning a Pro Bowl selection. Matters were slightly complicated by the decision to draft Kincaid, with many questioning the call to utilize such high draft capital on a position they had just dedicated a lofty contract extension to.

Regardless, Knox and Kincaid shared the load through the first few weeks of the season, with each staying fairly even in terms of targets and snaps. Neither really seemed to be taking control of the job too much until Kincaid delivered a 75-yard performance while catching all eight of his targets in Week 7. Kincaid has been impressive since then, embracing his larger role in the offense and striving in it. Add in the fact that the team has recently been mentioned in the same breath as veteran free agent tight end Zach Ertz, and things get a little more complicated for Knox.

The Bills will be happy to see Knox back in the fold, but with the price tag he carries, it will be interesting to see how they use him after watching Kincaid look a bit more effective in his role as a rookie. Things could get even more complicated if Ertz does indeed enter the picture, as well.

Bills Designate Dawson Knox, Kaiir Elam For Return

Back from their bye week and preparing for a stretch of must-win games, the Bills may have one of their skill-position starters ready in time to begin that run. Sean McDermott said Wednesday the team will open Dawson Knox‘s practice window.

Knox, who has been out since October with a wrist injury, has missed the past five games. The Bills will have three weeks from Wednesday to activate their highly paid tight end. Buffalo is also designating cornerback Kaiir Elam for return. The struggling former first-round pick has missed time due to an ankle injury.

Sitting 6-6, the Bills are not in good shape on the injury front. Tre’Davious White, Matt Milano and DaQuan Jones sustained severe maladies early this season. But Buffalo has only used one injury activation previously, holding seven such moves for their post-bye period. Knox and Elam are on track to take up two of those slots.

Given a four-year, $52MM extension just before last season, Knox remains a key presence in Buffalo’s offense. Though, the team’s decision to select Dalton Kincaid in this year’s first round has affected the fifth-year tight end. The Bills have made significant investments in this position, doing so as they have not used a Day 1 or Day 2 draft choice on a wide receiver since McDermott’s first draft; the team chose Zay Jones in the 2017 second round. Granted, Buffalo traded a first-rounder for Stefon Diggs in 2020.

The Diggs-dependent passing attack still involved Knox before his injury. The Stanford product played 68% of Buffalo’s offensive snaps through seven games, but his aerial role has diminished. Knox caught 15 passes for just 102 yards before his wrist surgery. He topped 500 yards in each of the past two seasons. The Bills have been loosely tied to a Zach Ertz pursuit, but Knox’s return to join Kincaid would seemingly stand to send the ex-Eagles and Cardinals pass catcher elsewhere.

Elam’s early NFL performance has disappointed. The 2022 first-rounder, who appears to have been a Trent McDuffie consolation prize for the Bills, has failed to commandeer a starting job. With White again out for the season, the Bills traded for Rasul Douglas at the deadline. Elam appeared in trade rumors before his injury, but the Bills will still attempt to develop him. The 6-foot-1 corner has played in just three games this season, being a healthy scratch at points.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/26/23

Today’s minor moves around the NFL:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Las Vegas Raiders

New England Patriots

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Reagor has been called up as a standard gameday elevation three times now for the Patriots, the maximum under a single practice squad contract. It remains to be seen if he will stick on the team’s active roster, but if he’s going to see any more game action this year, the promotion was a necessary one. He’s obviously able to play while on the active roster, but if the team were to release him and re-sign him to the practice squad, he would have the ability to be elevated three more times on the new deal.

The Bills and Buccaneers are making their standard gameday elevations for Thursday Night Football tonight. Veterans Isabella and Norman will both be making their season debuts if they see the field tonight in Buffalo, as will LeCounte and Senat for the Bucs. Norman has a good chance to see the field with Kaiir Elam out and Tre’Davious White still on injured reserve. Senat likewise should get a chance to rotate in for Tampa with Vita Vea currently inactive.

Bills TE Dawson Knox To Undergo Surgery, Expected To Be Placed On IR

OCTOBER 26: While a firm timeline is still not in place for Knox’s recovery, he could be in line to sit out an extended stretch. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that Knox is expected to be placed on IR, a move which would require him to miss at least four weeks. That would open the door for Kincaid to see a sustained uptick in usage, but it would leave the Bills shorthanded on offense through an important midseason stretch. Buffalo has seven IR activations remaining this season.

OCTOBER 23: Injuries continue to remove key Bills pieces from the equation. After sustaining significant setbacks on defense this month, Buffalo’s latest major setback comes on offense.

Dawson Knox will undergo wrist surgery, according to Sean McDermott. While the seventh-year HC did not confirm a timetable, Knox will likely be in line to miss a stretch of games. This injury dates back to the Bills’ London matchup with the Jaguars, and although the veteran played in each of the past two games, the team will shut him down for the time being.

Knox has not missed a practice since the Bills returned from London, logging three limited sessions before Week 6 and practicing in full last week. He caught a two-point conversion toss from Josh Allen in the fourth quarter but also dropped a pass earlier in the stanza. For the season, Knox is at 15 receptions for just 102 yards and a touchdown. The 6.8-yard average is by far a career-low mark for the fifth-year pass catcher, whose per-game number (39.3) also checks in below his averages from 2019-22.

The Bills gave Knox a four-year, $52MM extension just before last season that at the time made the former third-round pick the NFL’s sixth-highest-paid tight end. With Darren Waller, Evan Engram and T.J. Hockenson signing new deals since, Knox now sits ninth in AAV at the position. While he remains a key Bills component, the team made the interesting move to invest its top offseason resource in the position by taking Dalton Kincaid in Round 1.

This injury will thrust Kincaid into a larger role, it would appear. This year’s first tight end drafted, Kincaid entered Week 7 with only one 30-plus-yard receiving performance. He established a new career-best mark in New England, totaling 75 yards on five catches. The Bills traded up for Kincaid in April, and they will need to lean on the Utah alum during Knox’s absence. While the two had shared the field, Knox had seen more playing time (316 offensive snaps) than Kincaid (242) early this season.

Unlike Tre’Davious White, Matt Milano and DaQuan Jones, Knox may be a likely candidate to come off IR. It would appear the Bills will move Knox off their 53-man roster while he recovers, but even that is not certain yet.

Bills, TE Dawson Knox Agree On Extension

Dawson Knox will not play out a contract year in 2022. The Bills are extending their top tight end, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

The former third-round pick is signing a four-year deal to stay with the team that drafted him. Knox expressed his desire for a second Bills contract earlier this offseason. He will now be tied long-term with Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs, the latter having also signed an extension this year. Knox’s deal is worth $53.6MM and includes $31MM guaranteed, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

This works out to a $13.4MM-per-year deal. That places Knox near the top of the tight end market but outside the top five. It checks in sixth at the position, coming in behind David Njoku‘s $13.7MM-AAV contract and Hunter Henry‘s 2020 Patriots agreement. Knox, 25, could have potentially positioned himself for a better deal as a 2023 free agent, but he made it clear earlier this year that was not a route he wanted to go.

First and foremost, I want to be here. I mean, I bought a house here a few months ago, not because I want to be gone in a year,” Knox said this summer. The fourth-year pass catcher had approached the Bills about a new deal. It is not known how long negotiations have transpired, but the Bills have their breakthrough tight end signed for five more seasons now.

Diggs helped key Allen’s rise into one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks in 2020; last season, Knox aided the climb as well. The Ole Miss alum caught 49 passes for 587 yards and nine touchdowns to help the Bills to a second straight AFC East title. Knox tallied two more touchdown grabs in the playoffs.

Although Knox did not top 400 yards in either of his first two seasons, Wednesday morning’s extension indicates the Bills believe the 6-foot-4 target will be able to sustain his 2021 level of play for a while. Knox becomes the latest Ole Miss pass catcher from the 2019 draft class to sign an extension this offseason. A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf did so as well.

It certainly did not hurt Knox’s cause that he and Allen are close, and the MVP candidate’s top three targets are now each locked up beyond 2022. Gabe Davis‘ rookie deal runs through the 2023 season. The Bills also re-signed slot/gadget player Isaiah McKenzie this offseason. Jamison Crowder, a free agency pickup, remains in the mix as well.

Knox’s breakout being an indicator a promising career is ahead would check off a key box for a Bills franchise that has not seen too much from the tight end position throughout its modern history. Even going back throughout the team’s 62-season annals, the Bills have never seen a tight end produce an 800-yard year. Only one (Paul Costa in 1967) has surpassed 700. Efforts to establish long-term connections — such as the five-year, $38MM Charles Clay deal in 2015 — have not worked out. The Bills were mentioned as a Zach Ertz trade partner last year, but the team stuck with Knox, who will be locked in as Buffalo’s top tight end for the foreseeable future.

Dawson Knox Seeking Bills Extension

After breaking through in his third season — a 587-yard, nine-touchdown campaign — Dawson Knox is looking to stay in Buffalo for a while.

Rather than indicating intrigue about a 2023 free agency bid, the contract-year tight end has communicated to the Bills he would like to sign an extension that keeps him in western New York long-term.

First and foremost, I want to be here. I mean, I bought a house here a few months ago, not because I want to be gone in a year,” Knox said, via Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic (subscription required). “So I want to be here as long as I can.

“I know a lot of that stuff is out of my hands with salary cap. I try not to read into all that too much, but I’ve definitely communicated that I want to be here for an extended amount of time, so whether that’s getting the extension now or later, I definitely hope it happens.”

While the Bills could strike early here, the former third-round pick could drive up his market with another quality season. The Ole Miss alum did not top 400 receiving yards in either of his first two seasons but became a key Josh Allen target in Year 3.

Knox rounds out a deep Buffalo pass-catching stable, one that will attempt to collectively fill the voids created by the exits of Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders. The Bills signed Jamison Crowder and have Gabriel Davis poised to be Stefon Diggs‘ top complement, but Knox could see a target uptick as well.

A big Knox season could also put him on the franchise tag radar in 2023. The Bills have not used the tag since cuffing left tackle Cordy Glenn in 2016, and Knox’s potential to be kept off the market is complicated by Tremaine Edmunds and Jordan Poyer being in walk years as well. Three tight ends — David Njoku, Dalton Schultz and Mike Gesicki — were hit with the $10.9MM tag this year. That marked a big rase for each. Njoku’s $13.7MM-per-year extension almost certainly impacted the Cowboys and Dolphins’ talks with their tight ends. Each could benefit in 2023, with next year’s tight end market suddenly looking crowded.

Bills’ Dawson Knox To Miss Time

Bills tight end Dawson Knox will miss multiple weeks due to a broken hand (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The Bills may opt to place Knox on short-term IR, allowing him to return after three missed games. 

Knox, somehow, completed a 2-point conversion pass with the broken hand against the Titans. That fact wasn’t lost on the play’s receiver — quarterback Josh Allen.

Huge shoutout to Dawson,” Allen said (via ESPN.com). “I was trying to call the play off — I was shaking my hands at [offensive coordinator Brian Daboll] like, ‘Don’t call it, we can’t do it.’ And [Knox] looked at me and said, ‘I got it. I’ll get it to ya.’ So, to put your body on the line like that and grit through it, that was a big-time play and that’s awesome when a teammate is willing to do that, and that’s why we love him.”

Knox is in the midst of a career year with 21 catches for 286 yards and five scores through six games. Fortunately for the Bills, they have a Week 7 bye plus a cushy stretch in Weeks 8-10. If Knox can’t go against the Dolphins, Jaguars, or even the Jets, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Bills Worried About Tight End Depth?

The Bills may be seeking some reinforcement at tight end. Josina Anderson tweets that “apprehensions with production [and] consistency at the Bills tight end spot are still a topic of conversation” within the organization.

With all due respect to the team’s tight ends, this assessment makes plenty of sense. Josh Allen threw for 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns last season, but the group of tight ends barely cracked 400 receiving yards. 2019 third-rounder Dawson Knox will continue to lead the depth chart, and the 24-year-old has averaged only 25 yards per game through his first two years in the NFL (27 games).

The Bills did bring in veteran Jacob Hollister this offseason, but the veteran isn’t known for his pass-catching prowess. The organization also added undrafted free agent Quintin Morris, pairing the additions with holdovers like Tommy Sweeney and Nate Becker. Considering the lack of inspiring options, Anderson notes that the situation is “something to keep an eye on,” especially considering the availability of Eagles tight end Zach Ertz. If Buffalo ends up pulling off that kind of deal, it sounds like the current grouping of tight ends would be ready for the extra reinforcement.

“How I look at that stuff is whoever they bring in, that’s just great competition for the room,” Knox said (via Sal Maiorana of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle). “I love that Jacob’s (Hollister) here now, he’s a great dude. No matter who they bring in, whether it’s a rookie or an All-Pro like Zach, I think it’ll be great just to elevate the competition. Iron sharpens iron and that’s a big philosophy that I have.”

Bills Place Dawson Knox On Reserve/COVID-19 List

The Bills have run into COVID-19 trouble. They are placing Dawson Knox on their reserve/COVID-19 list. The second-year tight end tested positive for the coronavirus, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The Bills confirmed the positive test.

Fellow Buffalo tight ends Tommy Sweeney, Lee Smith and Nate Becker (practice squad) have been identified as close contacts and will also miss Sunday’s game against the Jets. Sweeney was already on Buffalo’s PUP list.

The game remains on for noon CT Sunday, however. Tyler Kroft and Reggie Gilliam are the other tight ends on the Bills’ roster. Buffalo promoted four players from its practice squad — guard Jordan Devey, linebacker Andre Smith, cornerback Dane Jackson and wide receiver Duke Williams — but has not made any other moves at tight end.

This game becomes the latest to monitor as one that could cause a schedule change. The timing is similar to Cam Newton‘s positive test weeks ago, and with the league’s beefed-up protocols in the wake of Newton’s positive and the Titans’ outbreak, the Bills will be extremely shorthanded at tight end. A rookie UDFA, Gilliam was already on Buffalo’s active roster along with Knox, Smith and Kroft. The Bills have Kroft and Gilliam available at the position ahead of Sunday’s Jets rematch. The latter has yet to play in a game.

Kroft’s wife going into labor and delivering the couple’s baby Friday morning led to the veteran tight end being spared from this chain reaction, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Kroft attended Bills practice Friday, but Schefter notes his missing position meetings allowed him to avoid getting caught up in this potential outbreak. A former Bengals draftee, Kroft signed with the Bills last year. Knox and Kroft each have six catches this season — most among Bills tight ends; the latter has scored two touchdowns.