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Bove: Bills make wise decision by re-signing Matt Milano

Can the Buffalo Bills afford to keep LB Matt Milano?
Posted at 8:22 PM, Mar 11, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. [WKBW] — Buffalo Bills linebacker Matt Milano isn’t going anywhere. In his words, “the show goes on.”

On Thursday, the Bills signed their 26-year-old linebacker to a four-year extension worth a reported $44 million. For an outside linebacker, that’s a pretty penny. But Milano has certainly proved he’s worth it.

In 2020, Milano missed six regular-season games. In those games where Milano was unavailable, the Bills went 3-3. With Milano on the field, the Bills lost just once, and it was in the AFC Championship game. That’s not to suggest Milano could have done enough to singlehandedly lift the Bills to victory in any of those losses. But he certainly was missed when he wasn’t on to the field.

At least defensively, Milano has been one of the team's most important players since he became a full-time starter late in 2017. His ability to drop into coverage and make open-field tackles makes the defense far more dynamic.

Milano does a great job matching up against opposing tight ends but is still capable of stopping the run. When needed, Milano can also rush the passer. In 2020 he finished with 3.5 sacks, more than he had in his first three seasons as a pro.

As for the injury concerns some fans have expressed, before 2020, Milano had only missed four games in three seasons. Last year the Bills appeared to be extra cautious with Milano to ensure he was available for the playoffs.

What makes this deal even more of a no-brainer for the Bills is how the contract is reportedly constructed. According to WGR 550’s Sal Capaccio, with the signing bonus taken into account, Milano will have a cap-hit just north of $7M next season. This gives the Bills a bit of breathing room in a year where the salary cap is significantly lower than it’s expected to be down the road.

Overall this is a win for both sides. Milano gets a hefty raise and the Bills keep one of the best players.

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