Originally signed to a five-year, $50 million contract in 2018, Lotulelei will now earn a fully guaranteed base salary of $4.5 million in 2020 with up to $1 million in roster and workout bonuses.
He will receive a $6.15 million base salary in 2021 with up to $600,000 in bonuses and a $4.6 million base salary with up to $1.75 million in bonuses in 2022.
The move saves Buffalo roughly $5.4 million over the next three years as it reshapes its defensive line. The team spent a first-round pick on Ed Oliver in 2019 and a third-round pick on Harrison Phillips in 2018 -- both of whom project to dominate snaps at Lotulelei's position in 2020.
Lotulelei's projected $8.1 million cap hit is slightly higher than the $7.8 million in dead cap money Buffalo would have been responsible for if he was released before the 2020 season but saves the team $3 million -- giving the already salary-cap-rich Bills even more room to work with during a pivotal offseason.
With a projected $83 million in cap space, Buffalo can focus on its proclaimed goal of extending its cornerstone players -- including left tackle Dion Dawkins, linebacker Matt Milano and cornerback Tre'Davious White.
The additional cap space also gives the Bills room to sign its free agents; general manager Brandon Beane expressed interest in bringing back defensive end Shaq Lawson after the latter's career year in 2019, while offensive guard Quinton Spain said he'd like to negotiate a deal to stay in Buffalo before free agency begins in March.
Lotulelei was a first-round selection in 2013 by the Carolina Panthers, where he recorded 11.5 sacks and 28 tackles for a loss in five seasons. In two seasons in Buffalo, the Utah product has recorded two sacks and four tackles for a loss.