Bills’ Top 10 Important Players from the 2022 Season: #4 Matt Milano


The 2022 NFL season didn’t finish up how fans or players wanted it to, but the Buffalo Bills’ defense was once again one of the best units in all of football. The group allowed the sixth-fewest yards per game at 319.1 and the second-fewest points per game at just 17.9. Peeling back the layers a bit with analytics, they were fourth overall in Football Outsider’s DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) with a cumulative score of -11%. Buffalo allowed the fifth-fewest rushing yards per game at 104.6. The most underappreciated Bill outside of Buffalo has long been linebacker Matt Milano and this season he finally earned the respect he deserved by being named first-team All-Pro. He also cracked our Top 10 Bills of 2022 at number four. “Quite possibly the most feared player on the defensive side of the ball, Milano took his play to an elite level in 2022. He earned first-team All-Pro as an all-around player that does his job as well as Jordan Poyer, but one level closer to the Trenches,” said @UberHansen.


Matt Milano came in at No. 4 in the Cover 1 cumulative Top 10 Important Player rankings by earning 35 out of 70 possible points (first-place vote = 10 points, tenth-place vote = 1). Milano’s highest ranking came from @stasetistics and @AjayCybulski, who ranked him No. 2. The man in the middle of the Bills’ defense was just a few votes away from cracking the top two.

Counting Stats:

The fifth-round pick had a career year when it comes to boxscore stats. He finished with his most solo tackles (72), second most in several categories, including total tackles (99), tackles for a loss (12), and QB hits (7). He also showed his versatility with the most passes defended in his career with 11. What may have been most important for a Bills team that was often banged up is that Milano played in 947 defensive snaps, good enough for 96% of the teams’ looks on defense. He also wasn’t too big for special teams, taking 24 snaps there which is the most of his career since 2019.


Before we dive into the Pro Football Focus (PFF) grades, Pro Football Reference gave Milano a 19 in their “approximate value.” To put that into perspective, Fred Warner, another all-pro LB was given a 17, and Tremaine Edmunds earned a seven. As for PFF, they graded Milano as the 11th best (of LBs with 50% of snaps) overall linebacker with a grade of 77.1. When it comes to pass rush he flies up to fifth best with a grade of 80.3, and his best mark comes in coverage, where the 6-foot, 223-pounder came in fourth at 83.2. These numbers helped lead @AjayCybulski to say, “Arguably the best defender on the team. Great in the run and a good pass defender. One of, if not, the best tacklers on the team. Defense players are better on defense.”

Game of the Year:

Milano was a first-team All-Pro for a reason, so picking his ‘best’ game is hard. As it should be for the No. 4 guy on our list. Looking at the counting stats plus analytics and I believe his top performance came in Week 14 in a 20-12 win over the Jets. In that home game, the Boston College product had nine tackles, one tackle for a loss, and a QB hit. PFF ranked it his best game in run defense and his second game in both coverage and overall grade. He also had two pass breakups and just one missed tackle. That last line is something @stasetistics agrees with, “Matt Milano made a huge impact for the defense this year, both in pass coverage and the pass rush. He played in 17 games this season, and the Bills lost the only game he didn’t play (@ Jets).”


According to Spotrac, Matt Milano signed a four-year, $41,500,000 contract with the Bills before the 2021 season. That deal includes a $7,000,000 signing bonus, $23,500,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $10,375,000. They go on to say, in 2023, Milano will earn a base salary of $9,250,000, a roster bonus of $470,588, and a workout bonus of $250,000 while carrying a cap hit of $13,338,588 and a dead cap value of $8,672,000. Our Cover 1 cap guru @GregTompsett says Milano’s contract could be restructured to make some room for the Bills, but he doesn’t believe it will happen as they’ve already restructured his contract once before.


Vorse’s Final Take:

Aside from his GQ good looks (“that’s a sexy All-Pro cookie,” added @LowBuffa), Milano brought it all to the Bills. He was fantastic in coverage and just as good against the run. Each team needs a ‘glue guy’ and Milano was often that in both the front seven and back seven. Arguing for him in the cesspool that is the Twitterverse was becoming unbearable for me and most of Bills Mafia, so it is nice to see he finally earned national recognition with his first All-Pro selection. No matter what happens with Tremaine Edmunds’ contract this offseason, the Bills’ linebacker room will be in good shape thanks to having Milano leading it.

#3 Safety Jordan Poyer

Bills’ Top 10 Important Players from the 2022 Season: #3 Jordan Poyer