With Spencer Brown officially signing his rookie deal this past Tuesday, the Buffalo Bills officially have their entire 2021 draft class under contract. Thanks to the new CBA that was agreed upon in 2011, teams are no longer handicapped by first-round rookie contracts – both good or bad. Players drafted in the top 32 are still compensated very well. However, in the event some turn out to bust, the contracts hurt a little less for the teams. On the flip side, if the player turns out to be an absolute stud, the team has some financial flexibility to bulk up their roster in other ways for the first few years of the deal.
The Bills’ 2021 Class
This year, the Bills will pay a total of $6.7 million to their rookies. For comparison purposes, that is about the same cap hit for Tre’Davious White (post restructure) and Micah Hyde for this year. Below are the contracts and salary cap hits of their 2021 rookie class.
|Gregory Rousseau||4 yrs/$11.6 mil||$2.1 mil|
|Carlos Basham Jr.||4 yrs/$5.6 mil||$1 mil|
|Spencer Brown||4 yrs/$4.8 mil||$879,000|
|Marquez Stevenson||4 yrs/$3.6 mil||$703,000|
|Damar Hamlin||4 years/$3.6 mil||$700,000|
|Rachad Wildgoose||4 years/$3.6 mil||$699,000|
|Jack Anderson||4 years/$3.6 mil||$685,000|
Numbers courtesy of Spotrac
Getting a Bang for your Buck
You can see the importance of getting production out of players while they are on reasonable rookie contracts; something that Brandon Beane has done consistently since arriving in Buffalo. Hitting on draft picks is the biggest reason why Beane was able to turn the franchise around from perpetual punchline to Super Bowl contender.
To underscore the point, Gregory Rousseau’s $2.1 mil. cap hit this year equates to that of Cody Ford and Ike Boettger. If the Bills can get above-average production from Rousseau on the defensive line in the same way that they get it out of Ford and Boettger, they will be in great shape.
Many fans also feel good about what Carlos Basham Jr. can do on this roster. His cap hit of $1 million is equal to that of Dawson Knox, Zach Moss, and Siran Neal. We should be noticing a pattern here: the Bills continue to get impact players at bargain prices. It is one of the biggest reasons that the Bills’ Super Bowl window is, and will remain, open for the next few seasons. Fans would sign up for Basham Jr. to have equal production as Zach Moss did in his rookie year.
There are many reasons for Bills fans to be excited about their 2021 draft picks. Rousseau and Basham, along with 2020 2nd round pick A.J. Epenesa, should anchor the defensive line for the next few years – and will do so at a bargain price. This will allow the Bills to extend their franchise Quarterback and add pieces that will hopefully put them over the edge and win that elusive Lombardi.