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Reports: LB Tremaine Edmunds signing with Bears

Coming into the week over the salary cap, Brandon Beane and company wasted no time moving money around Monday morning.
Credit: AP
Buffalo Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (49) singles at the line of scrimmage during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — While the NFL calendar year doesn't begin until March 15, Monday marks arguably the most important date: the day teams can begin negotiating new contracts with incoming free agents. 

The Buffalo Bills are set to lose linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Bears will give Edmunds a four-year, $72 million deal with $50 million guaranteed, which would be the largest four-year contract for an inside linebacker in the NFL. 

This week could spell the end of Jordan Poyer's time at One Bills Drive. The linebacker and safety are expected to test the market, and it has been widely speculated that the Bills don't have the financial space to keep them. 

The Bills will still need to get under the NFL's salary cap by 4pm Wednesday. That results in a series of paper moves that help the team's financial flexibility. 

  • LB Matt Milano - Sunday afternoon the Bills announced that starting linebacker Matt Milano has signed a 2-year contract extension. The move reportedly saves the Bills nearly $6 million towards the cap, a significant step towards clearing space. The extension will also keep Milano in Buffalo through the 2026 season. Drafted in 2017, Milano has been a major factor in the Bills defense, playing alongside Tremaine Edmunds for the past 5 seasons. In 93 career games Milano has registered 458 tackles, to go along with 8 interceptions and 9 fumble recoveries. Milano also signed an extension in March of 2021, and then agreed to a restructuring of his deal in March of 2022.

Then Monday morning, a trio of deals were reported, all carrying significance for special teams, depth and of course the cap. 

  • RB Nyheim Hines - multiple reports indicate that the pass catching running back and return man is restructuring his contract to remain in Buffalo. Acquired during the 2022 season from Indianapolis, Hines played a limited role in the Bills offense. His signature moment came during the Bills Week 18 win over New England, when he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, the restructured deal will convert base salary into a signing bonus, getting the Bills closer to the number they need to hit.
  • P Sam Martin - Martin came to the Bills under unusual circumstances, but performed well in 2022 and is being rewarded with a new contract. The Bills signed Martin after cutting draft pick Matt Araiza due to allegations against him. Now, Martin has a new 3-year contract with the Bills that could see him reportedly make more than $7 million. 
  • LB Tyler Matakevich - The team announced that Matakevich has agreed to a new 1-year contract with the Bills. The 30-year-old has appeared in 56 games for Buffalo, working almost exclusively with the special teams unit. Matakevich also served as one of the Bills captains last season, and clearly serves as a leader in the locker room.
  • G Connor McGovern - Not to be confused with the New York Jets center, or Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid, the Bills signed the Dallas Cowboys 2019 third-round draft pick out of Penn State. According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, McGovern and the Bills have agreed to a three-year, $23 million deal.
  • QB Case Keenum - The Bills 2022 backup to Josh Allen will reportedly sign a two-year deal with the Houston Texans.

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