Bills: Free agent Matt Milano looking for ‘top dollar’ in free agency

The Buffalo Bills might have a hard time bringing back linebacker Matt Milano, who looks to have a strong market in free agency.

The Buffalo Bills had a season the fanbase will remember fondly for quite some time. With Tom Brady leaving the AFC East for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Bills managed to win the division title and win two playoff games. They were one win short of making Super Bowl 55 but were outdone by the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.

Now with the season over, general manager Brandon Beane will have to get to work to ensure the team can make another deep playoff run next year. Buffalo has 20 players set to hit free agency, but one in particular could be too difficult to bring back.

In the latest Stacking the Box column, FanSided’s national NFL reporter Matt Verderame has heard from a source that linebacker Matt Milano is looking for “top dollar” in free agency.

“Per source, Milano is looking for top-dollar at his position,”  writes Verderame. “Although he’s without Pro Bowl or All-Pro accolades, Milano has been a playmaker and culture-maker. The fourth-year man has racked up 101 tackles in 2019 and then 3.5 sacks and win hits in 2020, while providing quality coverage. He’ll have a strong market.”

Retaining Milano could be a challenge

Milano is cashing in at the right time after being a standout on the Bills defense. Even Beane has mentioned on the team’s official website that he’d like to have Milano, one of his first draft picks as Bills general manager in 2017, back on the team for the foreseeable future. However, Beane notes that Milano’s “earned the right to go to free agency and see what his market bears.”

This past regular season, Milano recorded 45 tackles, nine quarterback hits, 3.5 sacks, three passes defensed and one interception in 10 games. As for coverage, Milano allowed 22 receptions, 158 yards and one touchdown in 35 targets, per Pro Football Reference. In Buffalo’s three playoff games against the Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens and Chiefs, Milano tallied 25 total tackles and three passes defensed.

What exactly will Milano command on the open market? According to Spotrac’s market value projections, Milano could end up with a contract that pays him $13.8 million annually. That shouldn’t come as a shock, as there are plenty of teams in need of an outside linebacker.

Can the Bills find a way to keep Milano? Or will another team swoop in with an extravagant offer to pry him away from Buffalo? We’ll get our answers near the start of the new league year, which is over a month away.

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