The Buffalo Bills’ highly-rated defense could suffer a significant blow ahead of the 2021 NFL season. According to multiple reports, the Bills will most likely have to say goodbye to starting linebacker Matt Milano in March as the 26-year-old player has decided to test free agency.
A team source confirmed the news to AP on Friday, saying that Milano’s decision was influenced by the Bills’ inability to make him a competitive offer. Buffalo is expected to have only $3 million available under the projected salary cap for 2021, which is not remotely enough to keep a player of his caliber.
The Bills will most likely create additional space by releasing some players or working out contract restructures. However, they don’t intend to use that money on Milano as they believe their roster has more urgent needs that have to be addressed.
Brandon Beane, Buffalo’s general manager, recently said that the team would like to keep Milano but know chances for that are slim.
“Listen, we want to keep good players,” said Beane. “Matt’s a good player, so we’d love to keep him here. But, again, he’s earned this right, and we’ll just have to see how it plays out.”
Matt Milano will immediately become one of the best linebackers on the market. He has been a reliable starter for the Bills since being selected in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft and should be on the wanted list for most LB-needy teams.
In the previous four years, Milano totaled 273 tackles and six sacks while also contributing with five interceptions, 21 pass deflections, and two forced fumbles.