Tremaine Edmunds

Bears To Sign LB Tremaine Edmunds

Mar 17: According to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, Edmunds’s new deal has a guaranteed amount of $36.8MM at signing that is composed of a $9.75MM signing bonus, his 2023 base salary of $2.4MM, his 2024 base salary of $14.9MM, and a 2023 roster bonus of $9.75MM. The remaining $13.2MM of guaranteed money is composed of $8.2MM of his $14.9MM 2025 base salary that will be due on the third league day of 2024 and a $5MM roster bonus due on the fifth league day of 2024.

Mar 13: The top off-ball linebacker is off the board. The Bears have entered the mix and will sign Tremaine Edmunds, Ian Rapoport of tweets.

After passing on a monster Roquan Smith extension, GM Ryan Poles will pay up big for Edmunds. The ex-Bills linebacker scored a four-year, $72MM deal, Adam Schefter of tweets. He secured $50MM guaranteed, Schefter adds, noting this is the biggest four-year deal given to an off-ball ‘backer.

This contract checks in just behind Smith’s in Baltimore but also falls just below — AAV-wise, that is — the pacts given to Shaquille Leonard and Fred Warner in 2021. For guarantees, however, Edmunds will only trail Smith, who secured $60MM in total guarantees from the Ravens.

Edmunds, a 2018 first-round pick, spent the first five seasons of his career in Buffalo, compiling at least 100 tackles in each of those campaigns and earning a pair of Pro Bowl nods. He continued being productive in 2022, finishing with 102 tackles in 13 games while finishing as Pro Football Focus’ fifth-best linebacker among 81 qualifiers. He also earned the best coverage score at his position.

Despite his production, it didn’t sound like Edmunds was long for Buffalo. While the organization obviously made an attempt to re-sign the linebacker, it sounds like they’re confident pairing a cheaper off-ball linebacker to play alongside strongside LB Matt Milano, including in-house options like Tyrel Dodson and/or Terrel Bernard. Plus, it sounds like both the Bills and Edmunds were anticipating a deal that would ultimately be too pricey for the organization. Edmunds was far and away the best available free agent at his position, joining a grouping that includes Zach Cunningham, Lavonte David, Deion Jones, Denzel Perryman, and Germaine Pratt. Edmunds indicated that he was a flight risk when he discussed his impending free agency last month.

“I’m gonna let the process take shape,” Edmunds said in February. “Like, you know, they’ve been good to me, so I definitely say ‘thank you’ to the Bills for everything that they’ve done for me these last five years, but like I said, man, I’m…in the backseat.”

The Bears were willing to pony up, with the front office stealing another headline following a busy start to the offseason. Besides trading the number-one pick for a haul that included a pair of firsts and wideout D.J. Moore, the organization also signed linebacker T.J. Edwards to a three-year pact worth $19.5MM and guard Nate Davis to a three-year, $30MM deal.


Giants Rumors: Lawrence, Edwards, WRs, Love

The Giants have been eyeing an extension for star defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence for a while now and, following a breakout season, the team has made it a priority. New York started preliminary conversations with Lawrence about two weeks ago, but Jonathan Jones of NFL on CBS claims he wouldn’t be surprised to see a new deal done “sooner than later.”

Despite the ever-growing markets for every position, the league’s market for defensive tackles has never been near the contract of generational talent Aaron Donald. It appears that this will continue to be the case as we see the defensive tackle market reestablished this offseason. Washington has already made Daron Payne the new second-highest paid defensive tackle in the NFL behind Donald with a four-year, $90MM contract. Payne’s average annual value of $22.5MM is still well short of Donald’s $31.67MM per year.

It will be interesting to see where the Giants go from Payne’s deal. Payne established himself as a premier pass-rushing defensive tackle in the league this season but struggled in run defense. Lawrence didn’t have the pass rush production that Payne did but still excelled in the area while also being strong against the run.

Lawrence graded out as the second-best defensive tackle in the league this year, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). It would make perfect sense for the Giants to reward Lawrence with a contract that surpasses that of Payne’s new deal, but will Lawrence be able to come anywhere close to the heights reached by Donald?

Here are a few more rumors surrounding the Giants’ priorities at the start of the new league year:

  • Starting the offseason with 21 unrestricted free agents, New York had a laundry list of names and positions to take care of. One of those positions that has been getting some chatter is inside linebacker. Specifically, the Giants have continuously been connected to Eagles pending free agent linebacker T.J. Edwards, according to Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post. The four-year Philadelphia defender has had two increasingly impressive breakout seasons, recording career-highs last year in total tackles (159), tackles for loss (10), sacks (2.0), quarterback hits (5), and passes defensed (7). Aside from Edwards, the top name expected to be available at the position is Tremaine Edmunds from Buffalo. Other names of interest for the G-Men include the Commanders’ Cole Holcomb, the Bengals’ Germaine Pratt, the Cowboys’ Leighton Vander Esch, the Lions’ Alex Anzalone, and the Chargers’ Drue Tranquill.
  • The wide receivers position has been an obvious need on the Giants’ roster for some time now, but it doesn’t appear that the Giants intend to address that through free agency, according to Pat Leonard of New York Daily News. With their focuses in free agency and the draft reportedly on inside linebackers, defensive linemen, cornerbacks, and interior offensive linemen, thoughts are that the trade market may make more sense for New York. If the Bills aren’t able to reach an extension agreement with Gabriel Davis, the Giants could be strong contenders to acquire his talents. The Rams have granted receiver Allen Robinson permission to seek a trade. Cardinals star receiver DeAndre Hopkins appears to be available for a price, as well. There are other names that could be interesting additions to the trade market such as Cincinnati wideout Tyler Boyd or Denver’s Jerry Jeudy. The team might still make free agency moves for veterans like Cole Beasley or Odell Beckham Jr., but the trade market could be a more attractive way to bring in established talent to New York.
  • There is reportedly optimism that the Giants will be able to come to an agreement to re-sign pending free agent safety Julian Love. After two seasons of relatively down play, Love had a bounce-back, breakout season in a contract year. He led the team in tackles by a mile with 124 total and tacked on two interceptions for good measure. Love may not be expected to make top money at the position, but after playing out his rookie contract, it appears Love is on the right track to remaining in New York long-term.

2023 Top 50 NFL Free Agents

Super Bowl LVII provided the latest example of the value free agency can bring. The Chiefs revamped their receiving corps on last year’s market, while the Eagles acquired three defensive starters — including sack leader Haason Reddick. The Jaguars also used a March 2022 splurge to ignite their surprising surge to the divisional round.

Beginning with the legal tampering period, which starts at 3pm CT on Monday, and continuing with the official start to free agency (3pm Wednesday), the next several days represent a highlight on the NFL calendar. Which teams will change their 2023 outlooks for the better next week?

While the 2023 free agent class has absorbed its share of body blows and indeed lacks depth at certain spots, a few positions will bring waves of starter-level talent. Right tackle will invite some big-money decisions, and the safety and off-ball linebacker positions feature considerable depth. A few ascending talents and hidden gems appear in this class as well.

This list ranks free agents by earning potential. In terms of accomplishments, Bobby Wagner, Fletcher Cox and Lavonte David would lap most of the players included here. With each defender going into his age-33 season, however, the standouts’ ability to command big contracts is certainly not what it once was.

In terms of possible destinations, not every team is represented equally. Some teams will bring more needs and cap space into this year’s marketplace than others. With some help from Adam La Rose, here is this year’s PFR top 50 free agents list, along with potential landing spots for each player.

1. Orlando Brown Jr., T. Age in Week 1: 27

As the 49ers did two years ago with Trent Williams, the Chiefs will let Brown hit the market. This could end up benefiting the veteran tackle, who was offered a deal with an average annual value north of Williams’ tackle-record $23MM per year before last July’s franchise tag deadline. Citing insufficient guarantees, Brown turned it down. Kansas City’s offer did contain a bloated final year to bump up the AAV to $23.1MM, but will Brown – a quality left tackle but not a top-shelf option at the position – do as well this year? He will soon find out.

Brown has now made four Pro Bowls and carries positional versatility that would intrigue were he open to a return to right tackle, which by all accounts he is not. The 363-pound blocker can struggle against speed-rusher types, but he is set to be the rare accomplished left tackle in his prime to hit the market. The Chiefs sent a package including a first-round pick to the Ravens for Brown, whose bet on himself led to a $16.6MM tag and an open market. The bidding will run high, though it might not reach the places the Williams pursuit did in 2021.

The Chiefs’ exclusive negotiating rights with Brown end March 13; they have had nearly two years to complete a deal. The market will determine if the league views the sixth-year blocker as an elite-level left tackle or merely a good one. Then again, bidding wars drive up the prices for O-linemen on the market. O-line salary records have fallen four times (Williams, Corey Linsley, Joe Thuney, Brandon Scherff) in free agency since 2021. This foray could give Brown the guaranteed money he seeks, and it puts the Chiefs at risk of seeing their two-year left tackle depart. The Ravens also passed on this payment back in 2021, in part because they already had Ronnie Stanley on the payroll.

The defending champions have Brown and right tackle Andrew Wylie eligible for free agency; some of their leftover funds from the Tyreek Hill trade went to Brown’s tag. Although some among the Chiefs were frustrated Brown passed on last year’s offer, the team will be hurting at a premium position if he walks. Given the importance the blindside position carries, fewer teams are in need compared to right tackle. The Titans losing Taylor Lewan and continuing to clear cap space could point to a run at Brown, though the team has a few needs up front. The Jets likely have needs at both tackle spots. Would the Bears relocate Braxton Jones to the right side? Ryan Poles was with the Chiefs when they traded for Brown, and the Bears could outmuscle anyone for cap space.

Best fits: Titans, Chiefs, Commanders

2. Mike McGlinchey, T. Age in Week 1: 28

Teams in need of right tackles will participate in one of the more interesting markets in recent memory. Above-average-to-good offensive linemen do well in free agency annually, and this year will send three experienced right tackles in their prime to the market. A five-year starter in San Francisco and former top-10 pick, McGlinchey has a good case as the best of this lot. The five-year vet’s run-blocking craft eclipses his pass-protection chops exiting Year 5, but he will walk into a competitive market. The former Notre Dame left tackle should have a lucrative deal in place during next week’s legal tampering period.

Although mutual interest existed regarding a second 49ers-McGlinchey agreement, John Lynch acknowledged the only viable path for McGlinchey to stay in San Francisco would be his market underwhelming. That seems unlikely, so right tackle-seeking teams – and there are a handful – will jockey for the sixth-year veteran. McGlinchey turned 28 in January, making this his obvious window to cash in. He rated fifth in ESPN’s run block win rate stat last season, bouncing back from the quadriceps injury that ended his 2021 season.

There is no shortage of Kyle Shanahan– or Sean McVay-influenced schemes around the league. The Bears employ Luke Getsy as their play-caller; Getsy worked for Shanahan/McVay tree branch Matt LaFleur, and the Bears’ cap space dwarfs every other team’s. After fielding a shaky O-line (on a team full of substandard position groups), Chicago needs a better idea of Justin Fields’ trajectory. Outbidding the field for the top right tackle available is a good start. The Patriots want a right tackle – on a line without a big contract presently – and the Raiders might have a say here as well. In need at multiple O-line spots, Las Vegas will have cash as well if it passes on a big QB investment.

Best fits: Bears, Patriots, Raiders

3. Jawann Taylor, T. Age in Week 1: 26

As expected, the Jaguars took Evan Engram off the market via the franchise tag. The tight end tag being $7MM cheaper than the $18.2MM offensive lineman tag always pointed Taylor toward free agency, and after never missing a start in four Duval County seasons, Taylor will be tough for the Jags to retain. They already drafted Walker Little in the 2021 second round, and no team that is currently paying a left tackle top-10 money (Cam Robinson is seventh) has a top-10 right tackle contract on the books. Taylor is expected to land at least a top-10 right tackle deal, with a $17MM-AAV figure being floated. That would place the former Florida Gator in the top five at the position, depending on how McGlinchey fares next week.

Taylor resembles the genre of player that usually populates the top of a position’s free agency market: a dependable performer who checks in below the top tier at his job. Taylor enjoyed his strongest year in his platform campaign. The former second-round pick dropped his hold count from 11 in 2021 to two in 2022. While PFF charged Taylor with five sacks allowed, Football Outsiders measured his blown-block rate at a career-low 1.3%. Offering a disparate skillset compared to McGlinchey, Taylor has fared better as a pass protector than in the run game. PFF slotted him as a top-10 pass protector among right tackles but viewed him as a dismal run-blocker.

The Jags have presumably made Taylor an offer, but other teams will probably top it. The Dolphins gave Terron Armstead a five-year, $75MM deal in 2022 but have needed a right tackle ever since Ja’Wuan James’ 2019 exit. They were forced to start in-season pickup Brandon Shell for much of the year and have cleared more than $45MM in cap space over the past two days. The team just picked up Tua Tagovailoa‘s fifth-year option, and the league’s lone southpaw starting QB needs better blindside protection after a season in which he suffered at least two concussions. Overspending on O-linemen is not the Patriots’ M.O., but they have a need at right tackle and do not have big dollars devoted to quarterback or any position up front. New England is on the hunt for a right tackle upgrade, and the team’s 2021 free agency showed it would spend when it deemed expenditures necessary.

Best fits: Dolphins, Patriots, Jaguars

4. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB. Age in Week 1: 31

The quarterback market cleared up this week, seeing Geno Smith and Daniel Jones extended and Derek Carr’s lengthy street free agency stretch end with $70MM in practical guarantees. Garoppolo’s injury history will affect his value, but teams kind of make it a priority to staff this position. The former Super Bowl starter is in his prime and on the market for the first time. How high this market goes will depend on what the Raiders want and what Aaron Rodgers decides.

The 49ers’ 12-game win streak that included Brock Purdy’s stunning displays began with Garoppolo at the controls. Guiding San Francisco to four straight wins, Garoppolo was at or close to his best when he suffered a broken foot in Week 13. He sported a 7-0 TD-INT ratio during that win streak and closed the season 16th in QBR. He would have walked into a better market had the injury not occurred; the setback came after a string of health issues. He tore an ACL in 2018, missed 10 games in 2020 after an ankle sprain and was significantly limited by the end of the 2021 slate due to a three-injury season. Garoppolo’s March 2022 shoulder surgery hijacked his trade market.

Ideally for Garoppolo, Rodgers returns to Green Bay or retires. While that is looking unlikelier by the day, it would put the Jets in a desperate position following Carr’s decision. The Raiders represent the other wild card. Garoppolo would slide into Josh McDaniels’ system seamlessly, given the parties’ three-plus years together in New England. The Raiders have operated a bit more stealthily compared to the Jets; they have been connected to Rodgers, Garoppolo and rolling with a rookie. Plan C here would be a tough sell given the presences of 30-year-old skill-position players Davante Adams and Darren Waller, but Las Vegas’ plans cloud Garoppolo’s market. If the Raiders pass and Rodgers chooses the Jets, Garoppolo’s earning power could drop.

McDaniels not fancying a Garoppolo reunion opens the door for the Texans, who hired ex-49ers pass-game coordinator Bobby Slowik as OC, and others. Houston’s situation may not appeal to Garoppolo, but Slowik and Nick Caserio being in Houston make this connection too clear to ignore. The Buccaneers and Commanders are in win-now positions but are giving indications they do not want to spend much at QB. The Commanders were deep in talks for the then-49ers QB last year, however. Garoppolo will test those squads, along with the Falcons, who are entering Year 3 of the Terry FontenotArthur Smith regime. The Panthers’ acquisition of the No. 1 pick likely takes them out of the running, and Carolina not being in the mix could also affect how high the Garoppolo price goes.

Bottom line, there should be enough teams interested in staffing their 2023 QB1 spots that the best free agent option should do OK no matter what happens with Rodgers.

Best fits: Raiders, Texans, Commanders

5. Jamel Dean, CB. Age in Week 1: 26

The Buccaneers retained Carlton Davis last year, but their dire cap situation should force a Dean departure. Dean’s age/performance combination should make him this year’s top cornerback available. With corner a position of need for many teams, the former third-round pick stands to do very well. Dean has only been a full-time starter in one season, however, seeing his defensive snap share jump from 67% in 2021 to 90% last season.

Excelling in press coverage, Dean played a major role for the 2020 Super Bowl champion Bucs iteration and overtook fellow free agent Sean Murphy-Bunting last year. Dean did perform better in 2021 compared to 2022, allowing no touchdowns and limiting QBs to a collective 50.0 passer rating; those numbers shot up to four and 86.0 last season. Still, PFF rated Dean as last year’s 10th-best corner. J.C. Jackson did not break into the top five among corners upon hitting the market last year; Dean should not be expected to do so, either. But many teams will be interested.

The Patriots have paid up for a corner previously, in Stephon Gilmore (2017), but Jonathan Jones – forced to primarily play a boundary role in 2022 – wants to re-sign and will be far cheaper than Dean. The Falcons need help opposite AJ Terrell and trail only the Bears in cap space. Although a Terrell payment is coming, it can be tabled to 2024 due to the fifth-year option. The Dolphins are clearing cap space and now have a corner need, with Byron Jones no longer with the team after his missed season.

Best fits: Dolphins, Falcons, Patriots

6. Jessie Bates, S. Age in Week 1: 26

Bates stands to be one of this free agency crop’s safest bets, combining extensive experience – the final two years as a pillar for a championship threat – with a host of prime years remaining. Beginning his career at 21, the Wake Forest product has started 79 games and anchored the Bengals’ secondary for most of his tenure. The Bengals did not tag Bates for a second time, passing on a $15.5MM price. With the team planning to let Bates test the market, it looks like the sixth-year defender will leave Cincinnati.

The Bengals and Bates went through two offseasons of negotiations, ending in the 2022 tag. The Bengals have some big payments to make at higher-profile positions. Safety does not qualify as such, but Bates has been a cornerstone in Lou Anarumo’s defense and will be handsomely rewarded. Bates finished as Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 overall safety in 2020 and, after a shakier 2021 in which he admitted his contract situation affected his play, Bates came through with impact plays in the postseason. He graded as a top-25 safety, via PFF, in 2022.

Safety is one of this year’s deeper positions in free agency. Of the top 10 safety contracts, however, only one went to a free agent (Marcus Williams in 2022). Bates should be expected to join the Ravens defender, who signed for $14MM per year. It will be interesting if he can climb into the top five at the position; Justin Simmons’ $15.25MM-AAV accord sits fifth. Bates should be expected to approach or eclipse that, though moving to the Derwin JamesMinkah Fitzpatrick tier will be more difficult. Still, after the Bengals offered Bates less than $17MM guaranteed last summer, he should depart for more guaranteed money.

The Browns are interested in Bates, who will cost more than John Johnson cost Cleveland two years ago (three years, $33.75MM). Clear of the record-setting Matt Ryan dead-money hit, the Falcons have cash to spend and a Terry FontenotArthur Smith regime entering Year 3. The Falcons need to make progress, and they do not have much in the way of talent or costs at safety. The team has not featured much here since the Keanu NealRicardo Allen tandem splintered. Bates would be a way to remedy that.

Team fits: Falcons, Browns, Raiders

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LB Rumors: Wagner, David, Bills, Al-Shaair

The Seahawks may be interested in bringing back Bobby Wagner. John Schneider and Pete Carroll spoke with the future Hall of Fame linebacker recently, according to the GM. Schneider said (via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta) the team will keep in contact with Wagner during his free agency. The Seahawks shed Wagner’s pricey deal from their payroll last year, but with the decorated ex-Seattle defender not in position to command a lucrative long-term deal ahead of his age-33 season, a reunion would make a bit more sense. The team has also rebounded quicker than most expected post-Wagner and Russell Wilson, reaching the playoffs. Wagner is believed to be eyeing a contender, having asked for his Rams release. Pro Football Focus rated Wagner as the NFL’s top off-ball linebacker last season, which was also Wagner’s ninth straight first- or second-team All-Pro campaign.

Here is the latest from the league’s linebacker scene:

  • Wagner and Lavonte David will both be available on the market. David is not planning to re-sign with the Buccaneers ahead of free agency, Ian Rapoport of tweets. If Tampa Bay wants its 10-year starter back, it will need to outbid others to secure such a deal. The Bucs managed to bring back David (and every other in-house free agent of consequence) in 2021, agreeing to a two-year deal. After the standout defender played out that contract, he joins Wagner in being a UFA linebacker ahead of an age-33 season. The Bucs remain in the league’s worst cap shape, so they will have a tough time bringing back David, who stands to command another short-term accord.
  • 49ers linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair will have a clear connection to the Texans, with DeMeco Ryans now their head coach. The Texans also hired ex-49ers assistant Chris Kiffin as their linebackers coach. Kiffin is a big fan of Al-Shaair, per The Athletic’s Matt Barrows, who notes Ryans is probably quite high on the free agent-to-be as well (subscription required). The 49ers have Fred Warner locked into a top-market contract and inked Dre Greenlaw to a midlevel extension last year. They are bracing to lose Al-Shaair, who figures to generate interest from the Ryans-led team.
  • Bills GM Brandon Beane said the team has discussed a new deal with Tremaine Edmunds, the biggest fish in a deep off-ball linebacker pond this year. But Edmunds’ comments last month still point to him reaching free agency to listen to other teams’ offers. Although this is a crowded market, Edmunds should still expect to do well in his first free agency foray.
  • The FalconsLorenzo Carter two-year deal carries a base value of $9MM, Field Yates of tweets. The ex-Giant will earn $5.25MM guaranteed on his second Falcons contract, Michael Rothstein of adds (via Twitter). He will carry a $5.25MM cap hit in 2023, and Yates adds an additional $1MM will be available via incentives.

Bills LB Tremaine Edmunds Bound For Free Agency

Having just played out the fifth-year option on his rookie contract, the Bills’ first-round pick from 2018 may not be long for Buffalo, according to Henry McKenna of Fox Sports. Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds is set to hit free agency when the new league year begins, and based a number of factors including Edmunds’s own opinion, it doesn’t sound like the Bills will be doing anything to prevent him from testing the open market.

“I’m gonna let the process take shape,” Edmunds said when asked if he was interested in returning to the Bills. “Like, you know, they’ve been good to me, so I definitely say ‘thank you’ to the Bills for everything that they’ve done for me these last five years, but like I said, man, I’m…in the backseat.”

Edmunds has been extremely productive for the Bills, but due to the presence of strong side linebacker Matt Milano, whom they view as a star at his position, Buffalo feels it can put a lesser player in Edmunds’s position for less money and not experience a large drop off in production. Currently, behind starters Edmunds and Milano, the Bills used Tyrel Dodson and rookie third-round pick Terrel Bernard. They also currently roster Tyler Matakevich and seventh-round rookie Baylon Spector, both of whom spent most of their playing time on special teams in 2022. If they choose to let Edmunds walk, they could probably commit Dodson and/or Bernard to higher snap counts as the two continue to develop. If not, they may choose to address the position in the draft or free agency.

Edmunds certainly has played himself into a favorable position for free agency, which may factor into why he doesn’t sound super eager to work out a deal in Buffalo. The 24-year-old has been extremely consistent with his production over the past five years. Despite having missed at least one game in every season of his career but one, Edmunds has never failed to surpass 100 total tackles, reaching his career high of 121 during his rookie campaign. With only 6.5 sacks to his name, he’s not especially known for getting after the quarterback, but Edmunds can be disruptive as evidenced by 32 tackles for loss and 18 quarterback hits over his five seasons of play.

While he’s always been disruptive in the passing game, as well, with five interceptions and 35 passes defensed in his career, Edmunds took his play in that area to a new level in 2022. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), his coverage grade of 90.0 (1st of 70 qualifying linebackers) assisted in him grading out as the 5th best linebacker in the league with defense grade of 81.9. The analytics-based site has not always favored Edmunds. In his first four years of play, the site ranked him as the 67th, 48th, 74th, and 60th best linebacker, respectively. His run defense has usually been a stronger point of his game while coverage has tended to sink his overall score. When it mattered most, though, in a contract year, Edmunds turned in the best performance of his young career in what now seems like an audition for free agency.

There’s no doubt that after this past season, Edmunds should likely be the top-earning inside linebacker in free agency this offseason. His top competition for a new deal this summer should be newly released Zach Cunningham, who was one of several cap casualties of the Titans this week. Besides Cunningham, the top inside linebackers set to hit free agency are likely Lavonte David, Deion Jones, Denzel Perryman, and Germaine Pratt.

David is a wily veteran who, despite his advanced age of 32 years old, is still playing at an elite level in the NFL. He has played his entire career in Tampa Bay and is currently wrapping up a two-year, $25MM deal. Jones is also a veteran who had spent most of his career in Atlanta before being traded to the Browns this past year. His transition to a new team, along with an injury that forced him to miss the first six weeks of the season, resulted in one of his worst seasons, but he has shown the ability to play at an elite level in the past.

Perryman has always graded out fairly well in his career but has usually been limited by injuries. He signed a relatively low deal with the Panthers after his second bout with free agency before getting traded to the Raiders before the season began. Perryman has been stellar during his two years in Las Vegas, earning his first Pro Bowl selection last year. He played well again this year, despite injuries returning to plague his season. Pratt, drafted the year after Edmunds, has similarly been consistently productive over his career but waited until his contract year to have his best season.

David, Jones, and Perryman should all earn strong new contracts, but the numbers in them will likely reflect their age. Pratt, at 26 years old, will probably be the strongest competition for Edmunds alongside David and Cunningham. When determining what these contracts will look like, we can refer to recent deals. The Ravens recently made Roquan Smith the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL. No one in this group is reaching Smith’s annual average value of $20MM. Likewise the salaries of top players at the position like Shaquille Leonard, Fred Warner, and C.J. Mosley are likely out of reach.

Most linebackers around Edmunds age earn four- to five-year contracts. There are a number of linebackers making $10MM per year that will likely set the starting point for negotiations. Between the $10MM earners and Mosley are only David’s old contract at $12.5MM per year, Jones’s old contract at $14.25MM per year, and Cunningham’s old contract at $14.5MM per year. While Jones and Cunningham were known as higher-volume tacklers than Edmunds when they signed those deals, Edmunds recent endeavors in coverage surpass theirs at that time, and coverage for a linebacker in today’s NFL is an extremely valuable trait.

That being said, Edmunds should find a five-year deal with an average annual value of up to $15-16MM. A $75MM or $80MM contract may seem high for an inside linebacker, but the Ravens set the market by giving Smith $100MM, and now it’s up to the rest of the league to keep up if they want a top-end linebacker like Edmunds.

Latest On Bills LB Tremaine Edmunds

The Bills have a number of important decisions to make this offseason as they look to maintain as much of their core as possible. Atop their priority list is a deal allowing them to keep linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.

The 24-year-old is scheduled to hit the open market for the first time in his career, after he played on the fifth-year option in 2022. This past season saw Edmunds continue his production both against the run and the pass, with 102 tackles and seven pass breakups. Those numbers have him positioned to headline this offseason’s free agent linebacker market.

A franchise tag is a possibility, as general manager Brandon Beane aluded to last month. However, given the two-time Pro Bowler’s age and consistent production, he represents a logical candidate for a long-term deal. Inking Edmunds to a multi-year pact would, on the other hand, give the Bills a highly expensive LB corps given Matt Milano‘s $13MM-plus cap hits for the next two years. Extending Edmunds would also likely leave Buffalo in a situation where All-Pro safety Jordan Poyer would be heading elsewhere in March.

Given reports that Edmunds is Buffalo’s priority between the two, though, much attention will be paid to the Virginia Tech alum in the coming days and weeks. In an examination of his situation, Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News writes that Buffalo is expected to have to pay “at least” $15MM per season on a new Edmunds contract. He adds that an outside team driving the price towards $17MM in annual average value would come as little surprise, provided he hits the open market.

A deal of that value would put Edmunds near the top of the pecking order in terms of off-ball linebacker compensation. Roquan Smith became the league’s first $20MM-per-year player at the position when he signed a massive extension not long after being acquired midseason by the Ravens. Four other linebackers (Shaquille Leonard, Fred Warner, C.J. Mosley and Foyesade Oluokun) are currently at or above $15MM per season on average.

With middle linebackers and edge rushers grouped together for the purposes of franchise tag figures, Edmunds would cost the Bills nearly $21MM if they chose to go that route. That would provide them with further incentive to work out a long-term deal, but doing so would complicate their efforts to get under the cap ceiling in time for the start of the new league year and put Edmunds near the top of the list in terms of LB compensation.

Bills May Have To Choose Between LB Tremaine Edmunds, S Jordan Poyer

The Bills are going to have some difficult decisions to make during free agency. According to Albert Breer of, the Bills have “confronted the reality that it’s going to be tough” to retain both linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and safety Jordan Poyer.

The Bills already have $240MM on the books for the 2023 campaign, and they’ve previously invested in sizable contracts at both linebacker (Matt Milano) and safety (Micah Hyde). As a result, the cash-strapped Bills will be hard pressed to find the necessary cap space to retain both of their key free agents, leading to a difficult choice as they prepare for the offseason.

ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg writes that the Bills “appear more likely to re-sign Edmunds than Poyer.” Edmunds’ impact on both the passing game and running game is invaluable, and while Poyer also brings top-notch production, the Bills would have a more difficult time replacing Edmunds’ production on defense. The linebacker has spent his entire career in Buffalo after being selected in the first round of the 2018 draft. The two-time Pro Bowler finished with his fifth 100-tackle season in 2022, adding six tackles for loss and seven passes defended. GM Brandon Beane acknowledged that the franchise tag could be in play for the impending free agent.

Poyer completed his sixth season with the Bills in 2022, finishing with 63 tackles and four interceptions en route to a Pro Bowl selection. The veteran earned a first-team All-Pro nod in 2021 after finishing with five interceptions and three sacks. After signing a four-year contract with the organization back in 2017, he inked a two-year extension with the Bills in 2020. Beane previously expressed interest in retaining Poyer, although he cautioned that the organization will need clarity on the cap before knowing how to proceed.

Last offseason, the Bills made one of the biggest splashes when they inked Von Miller to a mega-deal.. This time around, the Bills aren’t expecting as many fireworks. Beane previously told reporters that he’s not anticipating a major move at any point this offseason, admitting that they’re instead going to “have to work to get under the cap.”

Bills Notes: Miller, Edmunds, Poyer, Saffold

Von Miller‘s first season in Buffalo ended on Thanksgiving when he suffered a torn ACL. Unsurprisingly, Bills general manager Brandon Beane indicated that the veteran linebacker isn’t a lock to be ready for the 2023 season opener. Beane told reporters that it’s too early to know if Miller will be available for the entirety of the 2023 season, but the GM did express optimism that Miller should play a “good portion” of the year (per ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg on Twitter).

When Miller first suffered the injury on Thanksgiving day, he was expected to miss only a handful of games. However, exploratory surgery revealed that the linebacker had in fact suffered a torn ACL. The injury didn’t only prematurely end his 2022 season, but it also put the start of his 2023 campaign in doubt. Miller previously missed the entire 2020 season while recovering from a dislocated peroneal tendon.

After inking a six-year, $120MM deal with the Bills last offseason, Miller proceeded to start all 11 of his games for Buffalo. Following two-straight seasons of single-digit sack totals, Miller was well on his way to get back to that double-digit mark in 2022. He ultimately finished the season with eight sacks and 12 QB hits.

More notes out of Buffalo…

  • Speaking of injuries, defensive tackle Jordan Phillips revealed that he was playing through a torn rotator cuff that will ultimately require offseason surgery (via The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia on Twitter). The impending free agent is confident that he’ll be good to go for training camp. Meanwhile, quarterback Josh Allen is hoping he won’t have to go under the knife for his ailing elbow. The QB told reporters that he’s hoping to just rehab his elbow throughout the offseason (per Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News on Twitter).
  • Last offseaosn, the Bills made one of the biggest splashes when they inked Miller to that aforementioned contract. This time around, the Bills aren’t expecting as many fireworks. Beane told reporters that he’s not anticipating a major move at any point this offseason. “We’re going to have to work to get under the cap,” Beane admitted (via Getzenberg on Twitter). With more than $240MM on the books, the Bills are projected to be over the cap heading into the offseason.
  • One major move the Bills will have to consider is a new contract for linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. Beane acknowledged that the franchise tag could be in play for the impending free agent, but the GM also noted that the tag value may be prohibitive thanks to the inclusion of edge rushers (via Skurski on Twitter). Beane also said the team would happily welcome back impending free agent safety Jordan Poyer, although the GM cautioned that they’ll need clarity on the cap before proceeding. A two-time Pro Bowler, Edmunds continued producing in 2022, finishing with his fifth-straight 100+ tackle season. Poyer, meanwhile, completed his sixth season in Buffalo with 63 tackles and four interceptions, resulting in a Pro Bowl nod.
  • Guard Rodger Saffold told reporters that he intends to play in 2023 and hopes to re-sign with the Bills, according to Buscaglia on Twitter. The 34-year-old indicated that he’s not looking to break the bank with his next contract and simply wants to be paid a fair amount for his age and ability. The offensive lineman also acknowledged that he’s willing to do what he can to stick in Buffalo. Saffold started all 16 of his games during his first season with the Bills.

Extension Candidate: Tremaine Edmunds

While the Bills quickly extended Josh Allen for more than $250MM last offseason, another first-round pick from that 2018 draft class remains unsigned. Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds is heading into the final year of his five-year rookie pact, but there hasn’t been much reported progress regarding an extension.

Following a 100-plus-tackle season as a rookie and Pro Bowl nods in both 2019 and 2020, Edmunds seemed to be setting himself up for a sizable deal. The linebacker was still productive in 2021, but he finished with a career-low 108 tackles and only one QB hit. Pro Football Focus wasn’t particularly fond of his performance this past season, ranking him 61st among 87 eligible linebackers (although, for what it’s worth, the site has never been a fan of Edmunds).

2022 will ultimately be a key year when it comes to Edmunds’ earning potential. The 24-year-old was graded as one of the league’s better run-stopping linebackers, but he was among the worst in coverage, so an improvement in that area could good a long way in Edmunds securing a hefty contract. The linebacker’s coaches have also been focused on improving the player’s big-play ability; through 61 career games, Edmunds has four interceptions (half coming in his rookie season), two forced fumbles (both coming in his rookie year), and 5.5 sacks (including zero in 2021).

“I think – and he knows this – you want more splash plays,” defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier recently told Katherine Fitzgerald of The Buffalo News. “You want those big plays in ball games. That play he made against the Texans, the interception he came up with, that was a huge play in that ballgame. It really helped propel us along the way to a really good performance. And more plays like that.”

So what could Edmunds expect for his next contract? Two linebackers selected in the second round of the 2018 draft inked massive extensions with their teams. Darius Leonard got five years, $99.25MM ($52.5MM) from the Colts, but he’s firmly established himself as one of the top players at the position. Harold Landry signed a five-year, $87.5MM ($52.5MM guaranteed) deal with the Titans, but Edmunds hasn’t come close to matching Landry’s pass-rushing prowess. Either the player’s camp or the Bills could be waiting to see how negotiations unfold for Bradley Chubb and/or Roquan Smith; both linebackers were off the board before Edmunds in 2018.

If the LB franchise tag remains around $18MM next offseason, then that could be a logical route if the two sides don’t seem destined for an extension. The player is also set to make a bit less than $13MM in 2022. An extension worth $15MM per year seems to make sense from a financial standpoint, but it’d be a bit surprising if either side was willing to compromise on that number right now…the Bills could be eyeing a discount with the risk of paying $18MM in 2023, while Edmunds may not be willing to settle for a, say, four-year deal worth $60MM when he has the potential to make much more following a strong 2022 campaign.

Fortunately, while Edmunds may have to wait until the end of the season to sign his next deal, his head seems to be in the right place.

“Obviously, you think about it a little bit, but I can’t control that,” Edmunds said in early June (via Fitzgerald). “All I can control is how I come out each and every day, and just work. All that kind of stuff, you kind of just put it on the top shelf and do the stuff that you’ve been doing this whole time.”


Bills Pick Up Options For Josh Allen, Tremaine Edmunds

No surprise here. The Bills have picked up the fifth-year options on quarterback Josh Allen and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, per a club announcement. 

Allen, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2018 draft, is now set to make $23.106MM in 2022. Edmunds, the No. 16 choice in the same class, will earn a salary of $12.716MM. The Bills didn’t have to stress over either decision, though negotiating Allen’s next deal may be a bit trickier.

“Josh and I have spoken,” Beane said recently. “We’d love to get Josh extended, but it has to be a number that works for him and us. We’re all on same page. Josh wants to be here. That gives me hope we’ll get something done at some point. Can’t guarantee it’ll be this year.”

Clearly, there’s mutual interest in a longer arrangement, but Allen has serious leverage. His breakout 2020 saw 13 wins for the Bills, transforming him into an MVP candidate. Allen finished the year with a 69.2-percent completion rate, 4,544 yards, 30 touchdowns, and ten interception. And, for good measure, he added another 421 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. Thanks in large part to Allen, the Bills reached the AFC Championship Game, their first appearance since 1993.