The Buffalo Bills are reportedly working with defensive back Corey Graham in hopes of restructuring his contract to create more salary-cap space.
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Bills Trying To Create Cap Space With New Graham Deal
Thursday, Feb. 25
Sal Capaccio of WGR 550 reported Graham is slated to count $5.3 million against the cap for the 2016 season. He's also due a roster bonus of $500,000 on March 13, which adds a little urgency to the talks.
The Bills are desperate to create some financial flexibility before the new league year begins on March 9. Spotrac lists them as slightly over the top-51 cap and nearly $8 million over when taking all players on the roster into account, ranking 32nd in the NFL in both categories.
Buffalo is expected to release high-priced defensive end Mario Williams, per John Wawrow of the Associated Press, which would create around $12 million in space. But it's no surprise the front office is still looking to make smaller moves like restructuring deals as well.
Graham, 30, has been a Swiss army knife in the Bills secondary over the past couple of years. He's spent time at corner, both on the outside and in the slot, and safety. It was mostly the latter in 2015 as he racked up 127 combined tackles and two interceptions.
Last October, the defensive back talked about how much he enjoys playing in Buffalo and how he wants to help end the team's now 16-year playoff drought, as noted by Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News.
"It definitely is," Graham said. "I grew up watching the Bills. It won't wear off until we win, make it to the playoffs, make it to the Super Bowl, things like that."
Buffalo already has one question mark at safety as Aaron Williams tries to fully recovery from a scary neck injury last season. It means the team might have to live with Graham's cap hit if it can't find common ground on a restructured deal. Filling both spots with limited space would be tough.
Graham is one of the team's defensive leaders and a stabilizing force in the secondary. Now the question is whether that's enough to warrant keeping him if a new deal isn't worked out before his bonus is due. It should be, but a team in Buffalo's cap situation is often forced to make some difficult choices.