The reduced salary cap sparked a wave of cuts in March. As September approaches, and as coaches develop a possible comfort level with younger, cheaper players, more veterans could be jettisoned.
Dumping Hughes would create $6.1 million in cash and cap relief for the Bills. The fact that the team already allowed him to earn a $1 million roster bonus in March suggests that Buffalo plans to keep him. However, that happened before the Bills drafted pass-rusher Gregory Rousseau. If Rousseau develops quickly, the Bills could decide to save the $6.1 million, even if the $1 million already spent on Hughes isn’t coming back.
Regardless, and as Skurski notes, it would be a major surprise if Hughes gets cut.
A decision to sever ties with Beasley would count as a surprise, too. The cash and cap benefit falls lower than for Hughes. Beasley has a $4.7 million salary and $500,000 in available per-game roster bonuses. Also, the Bills don’t have a clear answer at slot receiver. They could decide to use Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis on the outside and to put Emmanuel Sanders in the slot, but that would leave the Bills thin, especially in the event of injury.
Looming over Beasley’s status is his anti-vaxx rants and possible intention to defy COVID protocols. If he becomes too much of a distraction, that will be a factor in the eventual decision regarding whether to keep him or let him go.
Ultimately, chances are that both Hughes and Beasley will be on the team. That’s why their possible release is regarded as a surprise.