Bills could clear a lot more salary cap space beginning Tuesday

When the post-June 1 designations kick in across the league, look for some noteworthy trades, releases and contract adjustments.
Publish date:

Wide receiver Julio Jones may not make sense for the Buffalo Bills this year. But cornerback Steven Nelson might.

Whatever happens with these players and a whole lot more probably won't go down until at least Tuesday, when the NFL allows teams to spread a certain amount of salary cap hits of released or traded players over two years instead of accelerating everything onto the current season.

The post-June 1 designation also applies to contract extensions and adjustments.

In the Bills' case, it means they can, say, add as much as $8.4 million in cap space by restructuring the contract of wide receiver Stefon Diggs, or gain $7.35 million more in relief by trading soon-to-be-33-year-old defensive end Jerry Hughes away from a room that suddenly became overcrowded following decisions to draft Gregory Rousseau in the first round and Boogie Basham in the second. 

Steelers cornerback Steven Nelson (22) intercepts a pass intended for Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley (10) during a 2019 game.

The Bills might be able to afford taking a run at veteran free-agent cornerback Steven Nelson (22) starting on Tuesday.

All of their potential cost-cutting options and potential savings are documented concisely by Over the Cap.

To be clear, we're not necessarily recommending that the Bills get rid of Hughes, only that it's something they might need to look at as they attempt to get quarterback Josh Allen and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds signed to long-term deals that also could give the Bills cap relief this year.

And to acquire a veteran upgrade or two.

The Bills loaded up so much at defensive end that they will have some tough decisions to make at the end of training camp, no matter what.

In addition to Rousseau and Basham, they signed veteran Efe Obada away from Carolina, remain committed to youngster A.J. Epenesa and still jave veteran Mario Addison, whose contract is structured so they won't get nearly as much cap relief as they would by jettisoning Hughes.

Left tackle Dion Dawkins, who just signed an extension last year but with no guaranteed salary beyond 2021, also could be a target. Restructuring his contract could save them as much as $4.9 million. An extension could net $5.428 million in savings. Dawkins is only 27 and signed through 2024.

An extension for safety Jordan Poyer could see them get $4.32 million in savings. Poyer is signed to a team-friendly deal now that expires after next season but allows the Bills to cut or trade him after this season and save $6.7 million.

So there are ways general manager Brandon Beane can create more than the $3.62 million in cap room that they're working with as of Sunday, according to the NFLPA.

Suffice to say that Tuesday could be a big day for the Bills and definitely will be a big day for teams across the NFL.

Nick Fierro is the publisher of Bills Central. Check out the latest Bills news at and follow Fierro on Twitter at @NickFierro.