The Duel

3 Bills That Could Be Cut or Traded if the Salary Cap Drops in 2021

Tristan Jung
The Bills could cut these players in 2021 if the salary cap falls.
The Bills could cut these players in 2021 if the salary cap falls. / Silas Walker/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills are experiencing positive momentum for the first time in over two decades. With two playoff appearances in three years and the Patriots seemingly in decline, the Bills should be a team to watch in the AFC for years to come.

However, that doesn't mean they won't have to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which could reduce NFL revenues enough to create a reduction in the salary cap in 2021. The Bills must re-sign a host of young stars that have helped them win in recent years, so it will be a tough balancing act. Here are three players that could be cut or traded in the 2021 offseason.

1. Lee Smith, TE

Lee Smith signed with the Bills in 2019.
Lee Smith signed with the Bills in 2019. / Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

Lee Smith is primarily a blocking tight end that is seldom used in the passing game, but he is still on a three-year, $9 million contract that takes him through 2022. Smith is a useful player, but the Bills already gave 11 starts to rookie Dawson Knox last year, who impressed with his playmaking ability. The Bills also have Tyler Kroft hanging around, who has been disappointing thus far in his Bills tenure. Regardless, Smith might become a victim of cap realities as the Bills may not have the luxury to retain a higher-priced backup tight end. The Bills would save $2.25 million by cutting him next offseason.

2. Jake Fromm, QB

Jake Fromm at the 2020 NFL Combine.
Jake Fromm at the 2020 NFL Combine. / Joe Robbins/Getty Images

It would be quite a fall for Jake Fromm if he gets cut in 2021, but that may be the reality for the Bills' fifth-round pick from the 2020 NFL Draft. Fromm fell in the draft after a disappointing year at Georgia, and he's set to be Josh Allen's backup next year. However, with the Bills already employing Matt Barkley and Davis Webb, Fromm will need to earn his spot going forward. He also recently ignited a firestorm after text messages were leaked that stated only "elite white people" should own firearms, which was not a good start to his Bills tenure. As a fifth-round pick, it would only cost the Bills a little over $1 million over the following three years combined to cut him.

3. Jerry Hughes, DE

Jerry Hughes had 4.5 sacks last season.
Jerry Hughes had 4.5 sacks last season. / Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

While a scenario where pass rusher Jerry Hughes is not on the Bills in 2021 is unlikely, any reduction in cap space would make it a possibility. Hughes is 31 and on a two-year, $21.5 million deal. He was good in 2019, but his sack totals decreased last year. The Bills also just drafted edge rusher A.J. Espenesa out of Iowa, giving some competition to Hughes for the first time. Hughes is still a very valuable piece, but the reduction in cap space will make it tough for the Bills to manage his salary. Plus, his cap hit goes down from $11.3 million this year to $2.1 million in 2021.

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Tristan Jung is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Tristan Jung also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tristan1117. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.