BUFFALO, NY — The Paper money made a move for now and the future, shutting down the All-Pro linebacker Matt Milano with a two-year contract extension through the 2026 season, the team announced Sunday.
The extension is worth $14 million per year, a source told ESPN.
The move helps Buffalo by creating about $6 million in cap space, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The team entered the weekend more than $19 million over the 2023 cap. Defensive tackle Tim Settle‘s contract was restructured to open up $600,000 in cap space, ESPN’s Field Yates reported, with more restructuring and moves to come.
Milano, 28, was previously under contract through the 2024 season on a four-year extension worth $44 million with $24 million guaranteed signed before the linebacker hits free agency in 2021.
Injuries have always been a concern for Milano, who missed a career-high six games in 2020. Over the past two seasons, however, Milano hasn’t missed a game each year with minor injuries.
Picked by the Bills in the fifth round of the 2017 draft out of Boston CollegeMilano started 69 games in his career and played in 85.
This latest deal keeps Milano in Buffalo long-term amid uncertainty at the other linebacker position, with Tremaine Edmunds, 24, who has been with the Bills for all five years of his career, is set to become a free agent when the league year begins Wednesday. Edmunds and Milano combined for a potent linebacker duo on a defense that led the NFL in yards per play allowed since 2018 (4.98).
Milano’s extension may add doubt to whether the Bills can invest more money at the linebacker position with Edmunds, but the move creates cap space. Buffalo’s defense could look very different in 2023 with a safety Jordan Poyerwho has been with the team since 2017, is expected to explore free agency.
Milano will likely have the strongest season of his career, with 3 interceptions, 99 tackles and 2 fumble recoveries in 2022. His 99 tackles are the second most in a season and the three interceptions are tied for a career high. Milano also had a career-high 11 passes defensed and led the Bills with 12 tackles for loss.
He was named a first-team All-Pro and was selected to the Pro Bowl Games for the first time in his career.