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Contract Extension Candidates: The Veterans



Buffalo Bills, Veteran, Extension Candidates, DaQuan Jones

The Buffalo Bills front office has worked a lot of magic over the past five seasons, and built a competitive roster that sits amongst the NFL’s best. Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott have made Buffalo into a destination football players want to go to, and a home where they want to stay. We can’t keep them all, but a lot of great veterans are due for a shiny new contract extension.

From the big names such as Micah Hyde to niche contributors like Taron Johnson, many players could put pen to paper. So, who should the Bills retain?

To qualify for this list, the player must not have signed a new deal with the Bills within this league year. For the players currently on their rookie deals who may be in line for a contract extension, check out the accompanying article here.

Contract Year Veterans

Note: These players are entering their final season under contract.

FS Micah Hyde

Contract Extensions Buffalo Bills Safety Micah Hyde
Ryan Kang/AP

Now this may seem an obvious choice to some, but extending Micah Hyde is easier said than done. He’s been invaluable to the franchise since he was brought in alongside Jordan Poyer by Sean McDermott in 2017 but, after missing the 2022 season with a neck injury, can we justify investing in him right now?

He’s turning 33 during this season, and despite being an All-Pro in 2021, age is a factor to consider. Buffalo wants to stay competitive in the long term, and they can only tie themselves to so many aging stars before the funds wear thin. If Taylor Rapp is able to be kept past the end of this season, we will likely see him starting in place of either Micah Hyde or Jordan Poyer next season.

Hyde’s a leader, an elite deep safety, and a true Buffalo Bill, but we can’t risk attaching ourselves to him long-term with so many questions about his return. After the season is over, and we’re all more informed, we can re-evaluate.

Verdict: Play It Out

DT DaQuan Jones

Now entering the final year of the two-year deal he picked up in March of 2022, DaQuan Jones was excellent for the Buffalo Bills last season. A lower body injury ended his season, and helped end ours too, but when on the field, he excelled. He was pushed into a larger role as injuries decimated the Buffalo Bills defense, but he was big enough to fill it.

Ed Oliver played his best football with DaQuan Jones next to him, and it showed when January rolled around. Perhaps if he’d been on the field against the Bengals in the Divisional Round, we wouldn’t have watched the AFC Championship from the couch. Keeping those two together may be the best thing for this defensive line with Oliver extended through 2027.

Verdict: Extend Immediately

DT Tim Settle

Tim Settle Buffalo Bills Contract Extension Veteran
Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Now, we know that Tim Settle only qualifies for this exercise on a technicality. His current deal was renegotiated in March to save cap space, but the content of the contract remains the same. He expects to be a free agent in eight months’ time. Following the offseason we’ve had, it may be prudent to change things up again.

Settle gave the Bills a lot of good snaps last year, and with only one Defensive Tackle under contract he could be a solid budget option for the future.

Verdict: Extend If The Price Is Right

TE Quintin Morris

Quintin Morris will be an exclusive rights free agent (ERFA) after this season. A fan favourite last offseason, he now projects as a depth piece without a role, especially after the addition of Dalton Kincaid in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Morris unfortunately doesn’t have a place on the roster this year, barring something wonderful or horrific.

Verdict: Trade/Cut Candidate

Impending Decisions

Note: These players have two seasons remaining on their current contracts.

LT Dion Dawkins

Josh Allen Dion Dawkins Buffalo Bills Veteran Contract Extension
The Athletic

Dion Dawkins was one of the first picks of the Sean McDermott era, and his subsequent extension was cause for celebration. Now, his time is nearly here again. Is he worth keeping long-term?

For those who haven’t been paying attention, the answer would be no. You might say “This Buffalo Bills offensive line was chock-full of issues last season, and sweeping changes are obviously the answer”, but you’t be sorely mistaken.

Dawkins has been above-average at worst, despite playing alongside the ever-rotating door of Guards next to him. When given consistency to work with, he’s capable of elite status. Separating a quarterback from his blind side, especially one with as much history and chemistry as Josh Allen has with ‘The Schnowman’, is rarely a recipe for success. We have time to make it work, but we shouldn’t let Dion Dawkins hit a contract year.

Verdict: Extend Within A Year

CB Taron Johnson

Another beloved draft steal, Taron Johnson is one of the best slot cornerbacks in the league today. Sure, it may be a niche role, but it’s one he fills admirably. Taron Johnson is so effective that he allows the team to remain in nickel at all times. Prior to him earning his starting role, Sean McDermott ran a base 4-3 defense. Taron is the kind of player who changes the game for you; He gives you options that other teams don’t get.

Many thought he was overpaid when he was handed his first contract extension, but no-one has complained about the money since.

Verdict: Extend Within A Year

C Mitch Morse

Now we get into the really difficult questions. Starting Center Mitch Morse has been brilliant for the growth of Josh Allen. Their ability to communicate at the line has saved many a play, many a drive, and many a game. However, his injury issues and relentless concussions are starting to add up. On the other hand, we don’t have a replacement on the roster currently.

Morse is deserving of a lot of credit, but he may not finish his current contract. If he does, it still may be the last one of his career. He’a the best we have, and very good, but he won’t be here forever.

Verdict: Play It Out, Draft Someone Soon

RB/KR Nyheim Hines

Nyheim Hines Kick Return Touchdown Buffalo Bills Veterans
AP Photo/Joshua Bessex

Hines will be forever remembered in Buffalo as the guy who took two kickoffs to the house against the Patriots, giving us one of the most incredible moments in recent Bills history following the collapse of Damar Hamlin. It’s that playmaking ability that gives him such value to the team, but in an era of salary cap crunches, value must be considered.

This front office has already proven willing to separate from pricy special teamers if needed. They won’t do it this year, but Hines will have to get cheaper fast, or carve out a larger role in this offense, if he wants a second contract with the Buffalo Bills.

Verdict: Play It Out

FB Reggie Gilliam

Reggie Gilliam is the lone player at his position on the Bills, and he’ll stay that way. One year ago, he penned a two-year extension, and things won’t change for 2023 as that contract kicks in. He gives this team options, and has proven effective in every scenario he’s been utilized in thus far.

In extending him, the team put faith in his ability to help diversify the offense. It’s a mission they’ve doubled down on since, and we’re all looking forward to seeing how he’s utilized this season.

Verdict: Play It Out

LS Reid Ferguson

Reid Ferguson Long Snapper Veteran Contract Extension
AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

There’s no real reason to worry about Reid Ferguson. He does his job well, never gets injured, and has great chemistry with his fellow special teamers. With two years left on his current deal, it’s an issue for another day.

Verdict: Nothing To Worry About

S Siran Neal

Siran Neal has been solid for this team, but is far from irreplaceable. His current contract seemed to be a bit of an overpay at the time, but hasn’t cost us in any way that matters. If it comes to it, he can be cut, but it shouldn’t be necessary. We’ll revisit this next season.

Verdict: Play It Out

Featured Image: AP Photo/Duane Burleson

One of the owners The Sports Wave, and a Journalist at Buffalo Fanatics, I'm an English immigrant living in Canada. A huge Buffalo Bills fan, I also love my Boston Celtics, Toronto Blue Jays, and Queens Park Rangers.

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