Bills GM Doug Whaley told reporters on Monday that the team plans to hammer out a contract extension for DT Marcell Dareus following the NFL Draft.
“He will be priority No. 1 once the dust settles post-draft, maybe even before then, just to get the ball rolling,” said Whaley, via The Buffalo News.
With one year left on Dareus’ rookie contract, the Bills decided to pick up his fifth-year option, which will pay him a salary of $8.06 million for the 2015 season.
Dareus, 25, is a former No. 3 overall pick and would be among the most sought-after players in next year’s free agent market if the two sides don’t have an agreement in place before then.
Last year, Dareus appeared in 15 games and recorded 49 total tackles, one forced fumble, and a career high of nine sacks. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 4 defensive tackle out of 81 qualifying players.
Another move that could be on the horizon for the Bills would be either restructure and extend DE Mario Williams‘ contract, given that he presents one of the best sources of available cap space. On top of that, Whaley says that they’re hoping to ensure Williams retires as a member of the Bills.
“He could free up the most and make it the most logical, because what we would do is not only restructure, but extend him similar to Kyle Williams, so these guys retire as Buffalo Bills,” Whaley said. “We want to set a precedent that we retain our own and we have them retire as Buffalo Bills. I think that’s a sentiment we’re trying to show the players on our roster now.”
Williams, 30, still has another three years remaining on his six-year, $96 million contract that included $50 million guaranteed. He stands to make base salaries of $12.1 million (2015), $11.5 million (2016), and $11.4 million (2017) over the remainder of the contract.
He also has cap figures of $19.4 million (2015), $19.9 million (2016), and $16.5 million (2017).
In 2014, Williams appeared in all 16 games for Buffalo and recorded 43 tackles, 15 sacks, two forced fumbles and two pass defenses. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 9 defensive end in a 4-3 system out of 59 qualifying players.