On Monday, the Buffalo Bills made wide receiver Chris Hogan one of three restricted free agents that they put a protective tender on in the event that another team would try to steal him away. That appears to be exactly what's happening with Hogan.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, "barring any last minute snag" the New England Patriots will sign Hogan to a three-year, $12 million offer sheet that will have a high amount of guaranteed money. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the three-year offer sheet will feature a $5.5 million salary cap hit for the 2016 season.
With a $5.5 million cap hit for the upcoming season, the Bills would be left with under $1 million in current cap space -- making their ability to match the offer sheet highly unlikely.
The Bills chose to use the lowest possible tender on Hogan, which gave them a cap hit of $1.671 million, and in doing so they only assured themselves the right of first refusal for the wide receiver. If Hogan signs the offer sheet and the Bills do not match it, Buffalo will receive no draft pick compensation.
It is not clear at this point in time as to whether Hogan would sign the offer sheet, but given that all he's guaranteed in Buffalo is a one-year pact for $1.671 million, it would be hard to fathom him turning the New England offer down if it involves more years, and some guaranteed money.
If the Bills are unable to retain Hogan and no other additions are made to the roster between now and then, they would save approximately $1.115 million on the 2016 salary cap, and bring the total cap room to approximately $5.6 million.
Hogan, 27, has 77 receptions, 776 receiving yards, and six touchdowns over the past two seasons for the Bills.