That much is clear from the details of a restructured contract the team reached with Carpenter, finalized in NFLPA records this week. Carpenter, 30, will be taking a pay cut as part of the agreement.
The Bills and Carpenter agreed to a $250,000 reduction in Carpenter's base 2016 salary -- from $2.025 million to $1.775 million -- that Carpenter can earn back in full if he hits certain performance incentives next season. Those incentives will not count against the cap, so the cap-strapped Bills will save $250,000 in 2016 cap space. They now have $5.826 million in 2016 cap space, according to NFLPA records.
In addition, the two sides agreed to make Carpenter's $250,000 roster bonus, which would have been paid this week, contingent on him making the 53-man roster in September.
In other words, Carpenter must shake off his 2015 struggles, make the Bills' roster and perform well this season in order to earn $500,000 that he would have pocketed under the previous version of his deal.
Carpenter, whose value is reduced because he has not handled kickoffs for the Bills since 2013, converted 85.2 percent of his field goals last season, which was the 18th-best rate in the NFL. He also missed six extra points, the second-most of any NFL kicker.
Carpenter's reduced 2016 cap number will be $2.587 million, down from $2.837 million. That is the 14th-highest cap number among NFL kickers.
The Bills did not modify Carpenter's contract for 2017, the final season of a four-year deal he signed in March 2014.