Cap relief: Bills restructure Clay's contract

Posted at 7:37 PM, Feb 25, 2016

The Buffalo Bills have some work to do as far as the salary cap is concerned, and they made their first move in that direction on Thursday night.

The Bills announced that the team has restructured the contract of tight end Charles Clay, who carried one of the biggest cap hits on the team for 2016 -- $13.5 million. As a part of that contract, Clay was due a $10 million roster bonus that brought cap number for this season way up.

Terms of the deal were not released, but that roster bonus is likely the place they looked to get some temporary cap relief. If that is indeed the case, here's how it would look for the Bills:

The $10 million roster bonus will give them a great deal of temporary relief, but make life harder over the final three years of his contract. If they converted the $10 million roster bonus into a signing bonus, that would potentially reduce his 2016 cap number by $7.5 million.

The drawback, though, is that under those same terms, Clay would carry a $9 million cap hit over the final three years of his contract (2017-2019). Under those terms, his 2016 cap hit would be $6 million.

After rolling over $4.67 million from last year on to this year's salary cap, the Bills were still over the cap by just a shade under $1 million.

Other ways to look for cap relief this year include releasing defensive end Mario Williams, the restructuring of multiple contracts, as well as extending some of the younger players with new contracts.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia