Two weeks ago we took a look at the ten best “bargain” contracts for the Buffalo Bills. For today, we are exploring the opposite. This article could have written itself about five years ago. Doug Whaley had the Bills in one of the worst financial situations in NFL history. Now, however, this is a challenge and very nit-picky. Brandon Beane has been the definition of fiscally responsible for the Bills. Very rarely does Beane misstep, but I will try to nitpick my way through as many players as I can justify.
1. Mitch Morse (4 yrs/$44.5 million)
Beane ignored the Offensive Line in the 2018 offseason and nearly killed his rookie Quarterback in the process. It was clear they had to make a major splash in the trenches. The following March, he decided to make Mitch Morse the highest-paid Center in the league (at the time).
There were (and still are) some questions regarding Morse’s injury history. Morse had three reported concussions with the Kansas City Chiefs. Then, he sustained two more in Buffalo, one in 2019 and one last year. Morse can’t help being prone to concussions, but it’s puzzling why they committed so much money to him in the first place.
Furthermore, Sean McDermott benched Morse against the Arizona Cardinals in favor of Ike Boettger, a player who made less than $1 million. When pressed on the benching, McDermott didn’t give a clear answer, alluding to sticking with what had been working in the previous games. While Mitch Morse did restructure his deal this past offseason, his original contract is by far lands him at the top spot on this list.
2. Mario Addison (3 yrs/$30.5 million)
In an attempt to deepen their Defensive Line, the Buffalo Bills signed former Panther Mario Addison last offseason. Addison’s $10 million average annual value is 22nd in the league among Defensive Ends. Unfortunately, Addison’s stats did not back that value. In his previous four years in Carolina, Addison had 9.5, 11, 9.0, and 9.5 sacks. Last year, his first with the Bills, he had five. While sacks aren’t the end-all, be-all for Defensive Ends, it was clear that Addison was not playing at the same level he had in his final years with Carolina. To his credit, Addison agreed to a $2 million pay cut back in March, which helped to free up room for the Bills to re-sign many of their core players.
3. Emmanuel Sanders (1 yr/$6 million)
I am really scratching the bottom of the barrel here for this one. The only reason why Sanders made this list is that he was a luxury that the Bills didn’t need. Some might say that Beane signed Sanders to replace John Brown. And while from a speed perspective that might be correct, the Bills offense showed that they could operate just fine without John Brown in the lineup. Gabriel Davis stepped right in and the Bills put on some of their most explosive games of the season in Brown’s absence.
The Buffalo Bills already had a record-setting offense and most would say, including Beane in his season ending press conference, that the Bills needed to get bigger up front on the defensive line. Brandon Beane decided to do that in the draft instead of free agency, focusing almost entirely on defense. For the Bills fans that have been wishing for a Zach Ertz trade or even a Julio Jones trade before this past weekend, the $6 million given to Sanders would have come in handy.
I tried to write more but I just can’t. I can’t take an issue with any other contract that Beane has handed out. Maybe you think some of the defensive linemen such as Hughes, Butler, or Lotulelei are paid too much? Well, take a look at how they compare to the rest of the league and I think you would agree that they are paid very fairly for what they bring to the team. Even A.J. Klein, who is slated to make $6 million this year, is coming off of a career year after maneuvering through a rough start to his tenure in Buffalo. Struggling to write this article is a good thing – it means that Brandon Beane has done his job very well.