In the quiet period of the NFL preseason (or is it the offseason?), teams like the Buffalo Bills and Arizona Cardinals, hoping to effortlessly extend contracts for players like Tyrann Mathieu and Stephon Gilmore seem to be the biggest piece of action across the league.
The Bills’ Gilmore is entering his fifth-year option season on his rookie contract, which will pay him $11 million. However, the talks over an extension haven’t been going too well, and Gilmore won’t be in attendance as the Bills begin team activities. He’ll be training on his own, and he won’t be fined as at this stage, all the Bills activities are voluntary. The fines start piling up only if Gilmore misses the Bills mandatory mid-June camp, and when he’s making this much money, that’s quite a lot of fine money building up.
Gilmore is probably looking at the deals players like Janoris Jenkins and Josh Norman signed. Jenkins, who is also part of the 2012 draft class, signed a five-year, $62.5 million deal with the New York Giants, including $28.5 million in guaranteed money. Norman signed with the Washington Redskins on the biggest deal ever for a cornerback, getting $75 million over five years, including an incredible $50 million in guaranteed money.
The Bills have $14 million in cap space, but right now they don’t seem too eager to give Gilmore, the 10th overall pick in the 2012 draft, a contract as high as the two big ones in the cornerback market.
Mathieu, a 2013 draft pick, is also entering the final year of his rookie deal, looking for an extension. He made the Pro Bowl last season for the first time, and was also named to his second All-Pro first team. He doesn’t see himself as a safety or cornerback, but more as a defender, maybe hinting to his front office that he would like the kind of money some defensive ends get, perhaps. The Cardinals currently have $4.6 million in cap space, but might rework some deals or simply backload Mathieu’s next deal in order to keep this thing in check and not let it get out of hand.