Wild Card Round - Indianapolis Colts v Buffalo Bills
Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills have made one of their first big splashes of the offseason and they did so by taking care of one of their own. Buffalo announced on Thursday that it is re-signing linebacker Matt Milano to a four-year contract. The deal is worth a reported $44 million and includes $24 million guaranteed, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Milano was set to enter unrestricted free agency once the new league year opened up next week and was pegged to be one of the most sought-after linebackers on the market. That said, Schefter notes that Milano was willing to forego the free agent process to make another run with the Bills to potentially bring home a Lombardi Trophy. 

Needless to say, this is quite the coup for Buffalo. Milano was expected to test the free agent market and many assumed -- including those within the organization -- that he would likely be lost upon hitting free agency with a number of teams driving up the price for his services thus making him too expensive for the Bills to retain. 

"Listen, we want to keep good players. Matt's a good player, so we'd love to keep him here," Bills GM Brandon Beane said last month of Milano's pending free agency. "But, again, he's earned this right and we'll just have to see how it plays out."

Buffalo did put themselves in a favorable position to get this extension done with Milano after releasing both wide receiver John Brown and defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson on Wednesday. Those two moves cleared roughly $14 million off their salary cap, which ultimately proved to be a key maneuver in being able to give Milano this extension.

On top of getting their books situated to offer such a deal, Milano's desire to ultimately stick with the organization as it comes into its own as a true powerhouse in the AFC is a testament to what head coach Sean McDermott and Beane have built over the last few seasons. 

The 26-year-old has spent his entire career with the Bills after the club selected him in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Boston College. When healthy, Milano has been a stellar piece to what the club does defensively. In 10 games played in 2020 (five starts), Milano totaled 45 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and 10 pressures.