The passing of Ralph Wilson Jr. plunges the Bills franchise into uncertainty. But the uncertainty can’t become a certain move for at least six seasons.
Regardless of whether a buyout clause exists in the current lease before then, the price for moving the team plunges to $28.4 million after the 2019 season. That’s the sweet spot for a potentially bitter pill the team’s current stadium lease.
The end result is that the Bills will spend the next six or nine seasons in Buffalo. Beyond that, no guarantees exist.
Beyond that, the Wilson family will determine the fate of the franchise when selecting a buyer and structuring a purchase agreement. They can, for example, take less money to ensure that Buffalo interests will buy the team and hold the team, with contractual clauses preventing a sale or relocation, or making either ridiculously expensive. Or the Wilson family can simply sell the team to the highest bidder, even if the highest bidder fully intends to take the team to a new market in 2020 or 2023.
Until the Wilson family or a new buyer provides Buffalo fans with certainty, there will be none. Beyond, that is, the team remaining in Buffalo for the next six or nine seasons.