Buffalo Bills put off Josh Allen contract extension for now

By Vincent Frank
Jan 24, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) gestures on the line of scrimmage in the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off a brilliant 13-win season, the Buffalo Bills have to think long and hard about a Josh Allen contract extension. He’s eligible for the first time in his career and has more than warranted the most-lucrative payday in franchise history.

The backdrop here is a changing NFL landscape that has seen the quarterback market reset itself on a near never-ending loop over the past couple seasons. The longer Buffalo waits to extend Allen, the higher his price tag will be.

With that said, general manager Brandon Beane must also navigate through free agency in a year that is unlike any other before it. There’s still no set NFL salary cap due to the revenue downfall brought on by COVID-19. His focus right now has to be on the early part of the offseason, including free agency. Beane touched on that recently in relation to the Josh Allen contract situation.

Read More: NFL salary cap tracker: Where each team stands in 2021

Buffalo Bills will delay Josh Allen contract extension for now

Josh Allen contract extension
Jan 24, 2021; Kansas City, MO, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) throws the ball away before being pushed out of bounds by Kansas City Chiefs middle linebacker Anthony Hitchens (53) during the second quarter in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

“Josh is a guy that we do believe in and we would definitely take a look at him later this offseason,” Beane said, via Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News (h/t Pro Football Talk). “Right now, we’ll focus on our upcoming free agents, plus anybody we want to add, and then the draft. Generally, what I’ve done here is look at guys to extend once we get through the draft, see what our money is like, see how we could structure it to fit not only this year, but the years beyond.”

Buffalo currently finds itself just $1.53 million under the projected 2021 NFL salary cap. It has a priority re-sign in that of impressive linebacker Matt Milano, who could net $10-plus million annually on the free-agent market. Meanwhile, the Bills have been linked to three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt.

For Beane, it’s about getting his financial situation in order to address needs in free agency and focusing on the 2021 NFL Draft before broaching a Josh Allen contract extension.

That will likely include creating more cap room by releasing the likes of Mario Addison and John Brown, among others. In no way does this mean Allen won’t be on the front burner later in the offseason.

Related: Top 40 remaining NFL free agents of 2021

What might a Josh Allen contract extension look like?

Josh Allen contract
Bills quarterback Josh Allen celebrates with the crowd after beating the Ravens 17-3 in the AFC divisional playoff game. (© JAMIE GERMANO/ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

We likely have to look at the Deshaun Watson deal with his Houston Texans team last September as a baseline here. Watson inked a four-year, $156 million extension with $110.72 in total guarantees, including $73.72 fully guaranteed.

Allen, 24, has more than proven himself as a franchise quarterback. This past season saw the former top-10 pick accumulate nearly 5,000 total yards to go with 45 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. Those numbers are more than comparable to Watson.

With that said, it’s going to be all about contract structure here. Will the 24-year-old Allen want to sign a four-year extension or is he looking at more of a commitment from the Bills? It is something that has been a sticking point for Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys in recent months.

For now, there’s no reason to panic. Josh Allen will get a contract extension at some point this offseason that locks him into Western New York through the early stages of his prime years. In turn, these Bills will remain top-end contenders in the AFC. Last season proved that to a T.