No surprise here, the Bills used every minute they were given before announcing that they will be exercising the 5th year options on 2018 1st rounders, Josh Allen and Tremaine Edmunds. I initially wrote 2016 because it has honestly felt like that long for these two.
A change in the collective bargaining agreement makes the fifth year guaranteed as soon as it is exercised. Allen’s fifth-year option is worth $23.1 million, while Edmunds is $12.7 million. That’s a large chunk of the cap in 2022, and other positions will pay for it. Having to pay these men is a good problem to have, though. As Beane said in a recent press conference, “Josh’s number is in the ’20s because of a Pro Bowl. Tremaine has made a couple of Pro Bowls, which is why he’s pushing 13. It’s not an ideal scenario to pick them both up and not extend them, so we just got to figure out how to make that work in our system.”
First, some quick thoughts on Josh. Everyone believes he wants to be in Buffalo. He says he wants to be in Buffalo. Accounting for everyone’s Grandfather who wants Josh to be “a traditional pocket passer,” I’d say 99.6% of Bills fans want him in Buffalo. Ok, so now that that’s settled, there have been rumors of Allen taking a “team friendly” deal when that time comes. Information is as accessible as ever, so we’ll know every detail of the eventual long-term deal. Do we actually want it to be team-friendly? Maybe that’s a question for another writer to ask and answer. In the meantime, we’ll pay him twenty-three million, one hundred and sixty-seven dollars in 2022. That’s plenty of money for Josh to be incentivized to keep lowering that shoulder! We’ll save long-term contract talk for another post.
The more interesting subject is obviously Tremaine Edmunds. Twitter was buzzing yesterday on Tremaine Edmunds’s 23rd birthday, a few days after the draft, reminding us just how young this man is. The Bills drafted four players this past weekend that are older than Tremaine (Basham, Brown, Stevenson, and Hamlin). That fact is one of the many things we take for granted about this two-time pro bowler.
It felt like every Sunday of last year I was getting texts from friends asking, “What is Tremaine doing there?!” I almost always replied, “Relaxxxxxxxx!” There are known, and I’m sure unknown, reasons why Tremaine had a “down year” in 2020. Wait, I’m sorry. I’m actually now getting reports that Tremaine was second on the team in total and solo tackles in 2020? And he played one less game than our leading tackler, Jordan Poyer? YOU DON’T SAY!
Listen, I’m not going to ignore some of the ugly pass defending we saw last year from Tremaine. I’m not going to excuse some of the missed gaps and lazy tackles, but this man has proved that he is a certified beast. Dealing with a bum shoulder all year, Tremaine was available 15 of 16 games. He was the drill sergeant for a linebacking group that dealt with a lot of injuries and a defensive line that was unrecognizable compared to the year before. The man just turned 23 years old. Exercising the two-time pro bowlers’ fifth year was non-negotiable. We’ll have a conversation about a long-term contract because that’s a conversation always worth having, but the criticism last year felt spoiled. I don’t think we’re a fan base that has earned the right to act spoiled. All that said, now that Milano is locked up, I think Tremaine is playing for dollars. Is he getting Bobby Wagner, CJ Mosley money? Or is he getting, well, Matt Milano money? I think 2021 will help tell that story. Either way, the success of this defense is on the back of Tremaine Edmunds. Franchise middle linebackers don’t grow on trees, so you better believe we’re rooting for you, Tremaine!