BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Bills made a move for now and the future, locking down 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 approximately $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 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 that was signed just before the linebacker could reach free agency in 2021.
Injuries had been a previous concern with Milano, who missed a career-high six games in 2020. Over the past two seasons, however, Milano has missed just one game each year with smaller injuries.
Selected by the Bills in the fifth round of the 2017 draft out of Boston College, Milano has started 69 games in his career and played in 85.
This latest deal keeps Milano with Buffalo for the long term amid uncertainty at the other linebacker position, with Tremaine Edmunds, 24, who has been with the Bills all five years of his career, set to become a free agent when the league year begins Wednesday. Edmunds and Milano combined for a strong linebacker duo on a defense that has led the NFL in yards per play allowed since 2018 (4.98).
Milano's extension could add doubt to whether the Bills will be able to invest more money into the linebacker position with Edmunds, but the move does create cap space. The Buffalo defense could look quite different in 2023 with safety Jordan Poyer, who has been with the team since 2017, expected to explore free agency.
Milano is coming off arguably the strongest season of his career, with 3 interceptions, 99 tackles and 2 fumble recoveries in 2022. His 99 tackles was the second-most he has had in a season and the three interceptions tied a career high. Milano also had a career-high 11 passes defended and led the Bills with 12 tackles for loss.
He was named a first-team All-Pro and selected to the Pro Bowl Games for the first time in his career.