Matt Milano's tenure in Buffalo appears to be nearing its end. With less than a month before the start of the new league year, the Bills linebacker is intent on testing unrestricted free agency, according to John Wawrow of The Associated Press. That's partially due to Buffalo's limitations when it comes to their salary cap and Milano being looked at as arguably the top linebacker available this offseason. That, in all likelihood, points to him signing elsewhere once clubs are able to submit formal offers.
The Bills are looking at an estimated $3 million in cap space this offseason with the reported minimum salary cap being set by the league at $180 million. That's down from the $198 million last year and one of the main reasons why Buffalo is just one of many clubs needing to either make players on the roster cap casualties and cut them or simply let them walk because they can't afford them.
According to the market projections over at Spotrac, Milano is looking at a contract that could pay him an average annual salary of $13.8 million. With Buffalo's cap constraints in mind, that's simply too rich for their blood at this time. That said, what seems to be the 26-year-old's inevitable fate isn't exactly catching the Bills off guard as GM Brandon Beane essentially admitted as much with reporters earlier this offseason.
"Listen, we want to keep good players. Matt's a good player, so we'd love to keep him here," Beane said last month. "But, again, he's earned this right and we'll just have to see how it plays out."
Milano was selected in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Bills out of Boston College. From there, he's blossomed into a key figure along Buffalo's front seven when healthy. In 10 games played last season, Milano totaled a career-high 3.5 sacks and nine quarterback hits to go along with 45 tackles. In the Bills' three playoff matchups this past postseason, he added 25 tackles and a quarterback hit while also defending three passes.
Including playoffs, the Bills were 12-1 with Milano on the field in 2020.