I've always said contracts tell a story, so what you'll see in this series of articles over the coming weeks is notes — organized by division — to make keeper and dynasty league owners aware of any potential issues.
Just because a player has multiple years left on his contract doesn’t mean that player will play out the contract in the NFL, as most are aware. So what teams could move on from players or extend others in the coming year or two?
Let’s start with the AFC East.
Starting WR John Brown will play 2020 on the second year of his three-year deal. The Bills will have to make a decision on the 2021 season by the fifth day of free agency (Brown has a $500,0000 roster bonus due by that day). If they cut him, they avoid paying him that and his $7.05 million base salary. While the Bills were very happy with Brown's performance in 2019, he'll have to do it again in 2020.
If they wind up cutting Brown, who turns 31 next April, look for rookie WR Gabriel Davis to get a shot to start in his place. Davis is expected to line up behind Brown at the "X" position in training camp. Davis has good size and speed for the position and the Bills believe he has significant upside, so he's certainly worth a shot for the future if you're in a dynasty league.
By the way, the Bills also have to make a decision on slot WR Cole Beasley’s deal by the fifth day of free agency next year as well, which is the day his $500,000 roster bonus is due. The Bills drafted a potential slot receiver of the future in Isaiah Hodgins, who is a bigger, different type of receiver than Beasley.
The Dolphins’ running game could be reshaped after just one season. Veteran RB Jordan Howard signed a two-year deal, but the structure is only for one year (no guaranteed money in 2021). He’ll earn $4.875 million this season. Moreover, RB Matt Breida is on a one-year tender worth about $3.2 million. It’s very much possible — and potentially likely — the Dolphins’ long-term back isn’t on this roster.
At WR, Albert Wilson ’s contract expires after this season after the Dolphins cut it down. Allen Hurns had $1.25 million of his salary fully guaranteed in March, so he’ll be on the roster this season, most likely. However, his base salary for 2021 of $2.25m has no guaranteed money in it.
New England Patriots
The Patriots have a lot of decisions to make coming up. Dynasty players should take a hard look at second year-back Damien Harris, given Sony Michel’s injury issues and the fact that James White and Rex Burkhead are not signed for 2021.
At WR, Mohamed Sanu and Damiere Byrd are only under contract for this season, while Julian Edelman’s contract expires after 2021. The Pats need significant long-term WR help.
New York Jets
Starting RB Le’Veon Bell's stay with the team could wind up only being for two seasons. Bell’s $8 million base salary for 2021 becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of free agency. So if the Jets cut him before that, they'll be off the book for that money plus an additional $3 million due the first day of training camp.
Ergo, rookie RB La’Mical Perine should be an intriguing buy in a dynasty league, given he might be in play for an expanded role in his second season. He’ll play behind Bell and Frank Gore for now.
Also of note, top WR Breshad Perriman’s deal will expire after this season concludes. He signed a one-year, $6.5 million deal, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team extend his deal before the season ends if he plays consistently well. Perriman will be just 27 in September (it seems like he’s been around forever…) and really played well last season for the Buccaneers after being pressed into service due to injuries at the position.