Counting the Bills: Linebackers

Continuing a series analyzing the economics of the Buffalo Bills' roster, position by position:

Position: Linebacker

Total cap value: $9,540,029

Compared to NFL average: 44.1 percent less

NFL positional rank: 30th

Portion of Bills' total cap number: 8 percent

2014 cap numbers:

Brandon Spikes: $3.25 million (14th on Bills, 46th among NFL linebackers)

Keith Rivers: $1.85 million (Bills: 21st; NFL: 74th)

Kiko Alonso: $977,364 (Bills: 31st; NFL: 122nd)

Nigel Bradham: $686,065 (Bills: 39th; NFL: 146th)

Preston Brown: $582,000 (Bills: 46th; NFL: 191st)

Ty Powell: $495,000 (Bills: tied for 60th; NFL: tied for 252nd)

Randell Johnson: $435,933 (Bills: 69th; NFL: tied for 291st)

Darrin Kitchens: $422,000 (Bills: 73rd; NFL: tied for 309th)

Jimmy Gaines: $421,667 (Bills: tied for 74th; NFL: tied for 312th)

Nathan Williams: $420,000 (Bills: tied for 78th; NFL: tied for 328th)

Average per year:

Spikes: $3 million (tied for 17th on Bills, tied for 53rd among NFL linebackers)

Rivers: $2.025 million (Bills: 23rd; NFL: 72nd)

Alonso: $1.075 million (Bills: 28th; NFL: 112th)

Brown: $751,438 (Bills: 34th; NFL: 147th)

Bradham: $641,065 (Bills: 43rd; NFL: 182nd)

Johnson: $570,933 (Bills: 50th; NFL: 214th)

Kitchens: $512,000 (Bills: 63rd; NFL: 272nd)

Gaines: $511,667 (Bills: tied for 64th; NFL: tied for 275th)

Powell: $495,000 (Bills: tied for 77th; NFL: tied for 337th)

Williams: $465,000 (Bills: tied for 84th; NFL: tied for 356th)

Most overpaid: None. The Bills added Spikes and Rivers on relatively short-term, low-risk deals this offseason. Overall, the Bills aren't spending much on linebackers. The position could be a problem spot following the Alonso's injury but that's not the result of financial decisions. The Bills have plenty of youth at the position and will look for Bradham or Brown to step up in Alonso's place.

Most underpaid: Alonso. No-brainer here. Like with Robert Woods and Cordy Glenn, the Bills and Alonso can't strike an extension until after the third year of Alonso's rookie deal. However, the circumstances could be different in Alonso's case. Since he was hurt while working out away from the team's facility, the Bills can place him on the non-football injury list. Alonso wouldn't get an accrued season and would have only three years of service when his contract expires after the 2016 season. In that scenario, he would become a restricted free agent and the Bills would have more control over his future. Still, the more likely outcome is that Alonso returns to health next season and the Bills extend him before he hits the open market.