Matt Milano

Bills, LB Matt Milano Agree To Extension

The Bills have inked linebacker Matt Milano to a two-year extension that will keep Milano under club control through 2026, as Adam Schefter of reports (via Twitter). The transaction will create $6MM of salary cap relief for cap-strapped Buffalo, with Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 reporting that Milano is due to earn $14MM per year over the 2025-26 seasons (Twitter link).

Milano, whom the Bills signed to a four-year, $44MM contract in March 2021, has given the club a good return on its investment. He and Tremaine Edmunds have combined to form one of the league’s top ILB duos, with Milano racking up 86 tackles and three sacks in 2021 en route to a solid 70.1 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.

The 2017 fifth-rounder hit another gear in 2022, notching 99 total tackles and three interceptions — including one pick-six — and earning First-Team All-Pro acclaim for his efforts. He bumped up his PFF grade to 73.2, thanks in large part to his improved work in pass coverage.

Edmunds, whom PFR recently ranked as the ninth-best free agent in this year’s class, is reportedly set to hit the open market despite some discussions about a new contract with the Bills. Jeremy Fowler of hears that, even in a crowded linebacker market, Edmunds could be in line for a $20MM/year contract, and he confirms that Edmunds is unlikely to remain in upstate New York even if he does not quite hit his asking price (subscription required).

Buffalo, which already restructured Milano’s contract last offseason for cap purposes, views the 28-year-old as a star at his position, and his presence is one reason why the club is comfortable with letting Edmunds walk. In addition to Edmunds, though, the Bills’ could lose another key member of its top-six defense in safety Jordan Poyer, who should find a robust market for his services.

Milano, at least, will be around for the foreseeable future as GM Brandon Beane tries to retool around him.

Latest On Josh Allen’s Status; Jordan Poyer, Greg Rousseau Out For Week 10

The prime catalyst for the Bills’ recent rise, Josh Allen has not missed a game since Week 10 of the 2018 season. That particular Bills campaign — a rebuilding year centered around the quarterback they traded up twice in Round 1 to draft — did not present high stakes, allowing for considerable caution with Allen.

The landscape is different this year, leading to Allen’s latest elbow injury receiving more attention. Allen’s practice week ended up going DNP-DNP-limited, with CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson noting the Bills signed off on a limitation-gauging Friday session (Twitter link). He received the vague questionable injury designation. The superstar quarterback is battling a UCL sprain.

While Allen played through the injury to finish the Jets matchup, this issue also affects nerves — thus, the fifth-year passer’s ability to grip the football — and we have a past indicator of how the Bills handled this injury. Allen, 26, expressed confidence he can play through his latest bout of elbow trouble; it remains to be seen if the Bills will allow that to happen. Concern exists Allen could tear the oft-discussed (in baseball circles) ligament, Armando Salguero of notes. A Tommy John surgery could sideline Allen into next season.

The Bills shut down Allen for four games because of a UCL injury in 2018; the Wyoming talent ended up sitting five weeks due to Buffalo’s bye falling in that recovery window. Allen missing that much time this year may not be in play just yet, with Sean McDermott indicating (via The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia, on Twitter) the team is taking it “one hour at a time” with its centerpiece player.

With a top-tier roster that has pushed the Bills to the Super Bowl contender tier, the team has a better insurance option compared to 2018 as well. Buffalo sent a seventh-round pick (No. 246 overall) to Cleveland for Case Keenum. The 11th-year QB has made 64 career starts, with six teams, since 2013.

Keenum’s most notable year came with the Vikings in 2017, when he led the NFL in quarterback DVOA and — on a one-year, $2MM deal — piloted Minnesota to the NFC championship game. Keenum, 34, is attached to a $3.5MM salary this season. His contract expires after 2022. Although Keenum gives the Bills a decent backup option against the Vikings, the talent gulf between Buffalo’s first- and second-stringers is obviously wide.

The Bills will also be without Jordan Poyer for a second straight week, and second-year defensive end Greg Rousseau will miss Week 10 as well. An ankle injury sustained last week will shelve Rousseau, with cornerback Kaiir Elam also given a doubtful designation. Some good news for Buffalo’s No. 1-ranked scoring defense also emerged this week. Matt Milano is expected to return, Buscaglia tweets. The high-end linebacker missed Week 9 with an oblique issue. The Bills activated Tre’Davious White off the PUP list last week, and while the team’s top corner does not have a Week 10 injury designation, McDermott did not guarantee he would debut Sunday. White has not played since suffering an ACL tear on Thanksgiving 2021.

Restructured Deals: Packers, Broncos, Bills, Patriots, Giants

As free agency continues, teams will keep finding ways to open up additional cap. We’ve had a handful of reworked contracts in recent days, which we’ve compiled below:

  • The Packers opened $10.15MM in cap space by restructuring the contracts of wideout Randall Cobb (which was previously reported) and safety Adrian Amos, per ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter). ESPN’s Rob Demovsky tweets that Green Bay turned $5.88MM of Amos’ $7MM base salary into a signing bonus and added four void years.
  • The Broncos opened up some space via a pair of restructured deals. Wideout Tim Patrick converted $6.9MM of his roster bonus into a signing bonus, creating around $4.6MM in cap space, per Mike Klis of 9News in Denver (on Twitter). The Broncos also converted receiver Courtland Sutton‘s $10.5MM roster bonus into a signing bonus, saving $7.875MM in 2022 cap space, per Klis (on Twitter).
  • The Panthers converted $11.765MM of wideout Robby Anderson’s 2022 pay into a signing bonus, creating $5.88MM in cap space, per Yates (on Twitter). Staying in the NFC, Yates also tweets that the Eagles converted $14.88MM of cornerback Darius Slay’s salary into a signing bonus, creating $11.90MM in 2022 cap space.
  • The Giants converted $2.63MM of kicker Graham Gano’s salary into a bonus, creating $1.753MM in cap space, per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan (on Twitter). The team also added a void year to the contract, something GM Joe Schoen was trying to avoid (per Raanan).
  • After getting traded to the Bills, quarterback Case Keenum agreed to rework his contract. Per Yates (on Twitter), Keenum reduced his base salary to $3.5MM. Another AFC East team, the Patriots, also got into the game, reducing defensive end Henry Anderson‘s base salary from $2.5MM to $1.25MM (per Yates).
  • Yates passes along three more restructures (on Twitter): the Vikings opened $6MM in cap space by reworking safety Harrison Smith‘s contract, the Bills opened $5.172MM via linebacker Matt Milano‘s contract, and the Titans opened $6.45MM via linebacker Zach Cunningham‘s contract.

Bills Re-Sign Matt Milano

As free agency draws nearer, the Bills are locking up one of their own with a big commitment. Buffalo has agreed to terms to re-sign linebacker Matt Milano, a source told Adam Schefter of (Twitter link).

The deal is for four years and a whopping $44MM, with $24MM of that being guaranteed. We had heard just a few weeks ago that the Bills were planning on letting Milano hit the open market, and many were expecting both sides to move on, so this one is a bit surprising.

The conventional wisdom was that the Bills might get priced out on Milano with the emergence of A.J. Klein and the upcoming potential extension for fellow linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. This is a pretty solid deal for the Bills considering many expected him to be even more expensive. In fact, a source told Josina Anderson of ESPN that the Bills were “pleasantly surprised” that Milano opted not to test the open market (Twitter link). Milano reportedly stressed how important the culture in Buffalo is to him, and his belief that the team is close to getting to a championship level.

Injuries limited Milano to only ten games this past season but he was still effective, racking up 45 tackles, 3.5 sacks, three passes defended, and an interception in those games. The year before he had 101 tackles in 15 games. A fifth-round pick back in 2017, Milano far exceeded all expectations from his draft status.

He started five games as a rookie and then became a full-time starter in 2018. One of the top free agent linebackers is now off the market. With Tre’Davious White and Dion Dawkins, Milano is part of an extremely successful 2017 Buffalo draft class.

Bills To Let Matt Milano Hit Market?

The Bills took care of two members from their quality 2017 draft, extending Tre’Davious White and Dion Dawkins last year. But the other key player from that haul may need to land his second contract elsewhere.

Matt Milano is less than a month from free agency, and John Wawrow of The Associated Press notes the Bills are set to let the linebacker test the market. A 38-game starter in Buffalo in four seasons, Milano profiles as one of the top defenders available. If the Bills do not extend Milano by March 15, he will be free to discuss deals with other teams. Free agency officially begins March 17.

Buffalo still has Josh Allen on his rookie contract, but he is now extension-eligible. The Bills are planning to discuss such a move this offseason. Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds also becoming eligible for a big-ticket extension last month further points Milano to free agency. The Bills also gave A.J. Klein a three-year, $18MM deal in 2020. Milano injuries last season led to an expanded role for Klein.

“We’d love to be able to get Matt back,” GM Brandon Beane said recently“He knows that. I shared that with him, and I’m sure Sean has as well. The business side matters. He wants to and he’s earned the right to go to free agency and see what his market bears.”

As of Saturday, the Bills are $1MM over the projected $180MM salary cap. While the cap has not been established yet, a pandemic-induced reduction from the 2020 number ($198MM) has long been expected. That will make it more difficult for teams to retain certain free agents and force more cap casualties.

Although the franchise tag is available for the Bills, off-ball linebackers are not commonly tagged. Since the tag system groups all linebackers together, the pass-rushing sect of this group raises the position’s tag number and makes it difficult to justify teams tagging traditional ‘backers. The last off-ball ‘backers to be tagged were the Jets’ David Harris and Vikings’ Chad Greenway in 2011.

Milano joins Lavonte David, K.J. Wright and Jayon Brown among linebackers set for free agency. Milano and Brown are still in their mid-20s, with David and Wright respectively set for their age-31 and age-32 seasons. An IR stay limited Milano to 10 games last season. Pro Football Focus graded the former fifth-round pick as a top-30 linebacker in both the 2018 and ’19 seasons, however.

AFC East Rumors: Watson, Mariota, Allen

Add veteran NFL reporter Tyler Dunne of to the list of writers who have heard that Texans QB Deshaun Watson is not budging on his desire to be traded, and that he continues to ignore every call from Houston brass. Of course, Watson has a no-trade clause that he could use to help dictate where he goes — assuming the Texans give in and deal him, which they have insisted they are not going to do — and we recently heard that the 49ers and Broncos are on his destination list.

Dunne’s source indicates that the Dolphins — who have been considered one of the frontrunners for Watson since trade speculation started to swirl — and the Niners are Watson’s top two preferred clubs. In Dunne’s view, a trade to Miami makes too much sense to not happen, and he believes the ‘Fins and Texans could line up on a deal that sends Watson to South Beach in exchange for the No. 3 and No. 18 overall picks in this year’s draft along with Miami’s 2022 first-rounder.

Now for more rumors from the AFC East:

  • Recent reports have indicated that Raiders QB Marcus Mariota is generating legitimate trade interest, and Mike Reiss of believes the Patriots could be in the mix. New England obviously needs a quarterback, and Mariota is attached to a reasonable $10.6MM salary for 2021 and would not cost much to acquire in terms of draft capital. Although he could demand a raise if he is being acquired to serve as a starter, his current salary would not preclude the Pats from continuing to explore other options, like Jimmy Garoppolo — if the the 49ers land a different QB and release Garoppolo — or a collegiate passer.
  • Reiss does not expect the Patriots to make a deal with the division-rival Jets for Gang Green QB Sam Darnold, though what the Jets do with Darnold could certainly have a major impact on New England (for instance, if New York trades Darnold to San Francisco, Garoppolo could become available).
  • The Jets have among the most cap space in the league at just shy of $70MM, and they can easily create even more flexibility, thereby giving them a huge advantage in what could be a buyer’s market given the decreased salary cap. Connor Hughes of The Athletic believes New York will release DE Henry Anderson, which jibes with a report from December. That move will save the club $8.2MM in cap space, and Hughes suggests that guards Greg Van Roten and Alex Lewis might be goners as well (their releases would save $3.4MM and $5.1MM, respectively).
  • Meanwhile the Jets don’t have too many of their own free agents that must be retained. Hughes expects safety Marcus Maye to be re-signed, and he also says OL Pat Elflein — who played well in 2020 after being claimed off waivers from the Vikings — is a logical candidate to return, especially if the team moves on from Van Roten and/or Lewis.
  • Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News does not foresee the Bills laying out major free agent dollars this offseason. Instead, he expects the club to use the majority of its cash on an extension for QB Josh Allen, which means that the Bills will likely allow LB Matt Milano to test the open market — contrary to GM Brandon Beane‘s assertion that a franchise tag could be in play — and will not be in the running for a top pass rusher like Shaquil Barrett or Bud Dupree.

Could Bills Franchise LB Matt Milano?

Linebacker Matt Milano should be one of the top free agents available at his position…if he makes it that far. While speaking to reporters last week, Bills general manager Brandon Beane “did not rule out using the franchise tag” on the 26-year-old (per Jourdon LaBarber of the team’s website).

“We’d love to be able to get Matt back,” Beane added. “He knows that. I shared that with him and I’m sure Sean has as well. The business side matters. He wants to and he’s earned the right to go to free agency and see what his market bears.

“We’ll do our best to retain him and as many guys as we can. We just don’t even know the numbers yet and what it’s going to be. There’s going to be some tough decisions unfortunately for us, whether it’s letting guys go on this roster or having to watch guys leave.”

Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic adds some additional context, noting that the franchise tag would be a realistic option if the two sides can’t agree to a long-term pact. However, considering the expected $15MM franchise price for linebackers, Buffalo would likely have to cut a few players to retain financial flexibility. Sheil Kapadia and Aaron Reiss of The Athletic agree with the franchise-tag sentiment, noting that a Milano tag would be similar to last offseason when the Patriots and Vikings surprised many by franchising guard Joe Thuney and safety Anthony Harris, respectively.

A 2017 fifth-round pick, Milano has spent his entire career with the Bills, including a 2019 campaign where he compiled career-highs in games started (15) and tackles (101). He was limited to only 10 games (five starts) in 2020 due to a pectoral injury, but he still managed to compile 45 tackles and 3.5 sacks. He started each of the Bills’ three playoff games, collecting an additional 25 tackles.

Bills Place LB Matt Milano On IR

Matt Milano missed time earlier this season but returned to play in Buffalo’s previous two games. However, he will be shelved for at least the Bills’ next three.

The Bills placed the fourth-year linebacker on IR Saturday. They had declared Milano out for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks due to a pectoral injury. He did not practice this week.

This is concerning for the Bills due to Milano’s initial injury absences — in Weeks 3 and 4 — coming because of a pec injury. Since returning, Milano has played a part-time role, coming off the bench and playing less than a third of Buffalo’s defensive snaps.

A Bills starter since his rookie year, the former fifth-round pick engaged in extension talks with the team this offseason. Milano, who made 101 tackles last season, has been a quality coverage linebacker for a team that has featured a top-tier pass defense. The Bills’ defense has regressed in his abbreviated season; DVOA places the team’s pass defense 22nd after top-five finishes in 2018 and ’19.

The Bills wrapped up extensions for fellow 2017 draftees Tre’Davious White and Dion Dawkins, leaving Milano in limbo. That raises the stakes for the remainder of his season, should he return from what appears to be a setback.

Bills Discussing Extensions With Dion Dawkins, Matt Milano

Still in Josh Allen‘s rookie-contract window, the Bills operated aggressively this offseason by adding Stefon Diggs, Josh Norman and a host of defensive linemen. They are turning their attention to extensions for some of their own players, however.

GM Brandon Beane confirmed Wednesday he has discussed long-term deals for both left tackle Dion Dawkins and linebacker Matt Milano, who share an agent.

Matt and Dion, they have the same representative so that’s a one-call, one-stop shop,” Beane told Steve Tasker during an appearance on One Bills Live ( “Yeah, definitely have been in contact. You know, I don’t really like to get into negotiations too much, but I’ve definitely been in contact with their representatives giving them timelines of when we would look at things like that.”

Beane hinted at the post-draft offseason period being the window for potential re-ups for Dawkins and Milano. The Bills have an additional year to work on a Tre’Davious White deal, thanks to their 2017 first-rounder having a fifth-year option in his rookie contract.

Dawkins, a 2017 second-round pick, and Milano (a fifth-rounder that year) have been key to Buffalo’s recent rise. Each has been a starter since his rookie season. Milano racked up a career-high 101 tackles last season, and Dawkins rated as a top-30 tackle last season (per Pro Football Focus).

Bills LB Matt Milano Done For Year

Bills linebacker Matt Milano is done for the year, according to head coach head coach Sean McDermott. Milano had surgery for a broken fibula on Monday, which will rule him out for the rest of the regular season and land him on injured reserve. 

Milano, 24, has been a staple of the Bills’ D since entering the league as a fifth-round pick in 2017. This year, he recorded his first sack in a huge upset win over the Vikings and came away with AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance.

Without Milano, the Bills will likely promote Deon Lacey to the starting lineup, putting him alongside middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and strong side linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. It’s a thin unit after that, so the Bills are likely to add another LB this week.

The Bills came out of Sunday’s loss to the Jets with a score of injuries, including day-to-day injuries for running backs LeSean McCoy (hamstring) and Chris Ivory (shoulder).