It’s that time once again for every team not named the New England Patriots to look forward to the off season and the draft here in the AFC East. While the standings shuffled around again, once more the Patriots are on top and Buffalo, Miami and New York Jets (in alphabetical and standing order) trailed behind saying, “WOULD YOU PLEASE JUST RETIRE, TOM BRADY??!!”
Since the retirement of Tom Brady is still too far off in the distance (oh for a plutonium powered Delorian and a flux capacitor…) every front office has to square their house and get ready to knock off the king of the mountain in 2015. As an E!$PN Insider (I get the magazine for free, so why not?) they are posting the top 4 needs for every team eliminated from the post season. I will list the topics posted by Field Yates, and give my take. I’ll also strike through some and figure out what should actually be a focus. Starting with my 2nd place* Buffalo Bills!
*Please note that I will write this section while riding a parade float to the Ralph.
- Trade for a QB
Ok, sure….The Bills QB situation leaves something to be desired now that Kyle Orton has elected to re-retire. Orton was never the solution. He was more serviceable than Manuel but keep in mind….Kyle Orton lost his starting job in Denver to Tim Tebow. Tim. Tebow. SEC Network covering Tim Tebow.
Ok so what do you trade and for who? Well the Bills already sold their 2015 farm on Sammy Watkins so they have no currency for this year’s draft. Maybe sell a 2016 1st rounder, but at what point does that cycle end? What pieces could they sell off from the team? Maybe Spiller before he becomes a free agent as it seems as though he won’t be coming back anyway. They shouldn’t send any piece of the Defense anywhere now that they are holding the likes of Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers to 0 TDs and 4 INTs.
It’s unclear if they have anything they can trade to get someone like an RG3 or Jay Cutler (and for those who insist he’s worth while…Moore). It’s also a crap shoot in the draft back to where they’ll be drafting (currently the #19 hole so we’re back into the 50s before their first selection barring draft day moves) to find a QB still available. Crazy things happen, but I don’t know about the QB situation moving forward. Maybe a team sheds off a decent former QB they can pick up on the cheap, but I’d expect that Manuel is the man heading into camp and hopefully he’s matured in the last 13 weeks of this season and learned something backing up Orton.
- The Future of Marrone/Whaley/Brandon
I am really not sure how this is a question. I understand Marrone has his 72 hour opt out clause (will have passed by the time you read this) and that everyone is saying, “Ownership changed! Ownership changed! EVERYONE OUT!” The issue with that is Terry Pegula is slow to make changes. Hell, he kept everything in place with the Sabres until it was blatantly obvious nothing good was coming from the people he adopted as the owner.
Marrone just lead the team to a winning record for the first time in a decade. Barring him opting out, he’s not going anywhere. Whaley isn’t going anywhere despite over paying for Watkins according to some. If they don’t go, what’s the point of tossing out Russ Brandon?
EDIT: Ok so maybe Marrone is going somewhere. Pfft. Whatever man, I’m not actually in the business of fortune telling.
As more details come out the relationship with Bills management was far more sour than I imagined. Marrone wanted more power, wasn’t going to get it, hated the Watkins trade and either “stormed out” or “walked out” of the draft room that day depending on who you believe. I still believe that Whaley and Brandon are safe for the moment. As I said, Pegula is slow to react (and I mean that in the best possible way) and isn’t likely to overhaul the front office right now. Congrats on the presumed hiring by the Jets. Now please take Hackett with you!
- Consider Extending Marcell Dareus
I’ve already mentioned how all pieces of the Bills current defense are important. Dareus would certainly qualify as an important part. I don’t care what Seattle says about their Legion of Boom, I’d put the Bills D-line up against them for that title any day.
You don’t want to lose 10 sacks off your line and have to try to replace that. He’s still on his rookie contract and it’s due up after the 2015 season but there should be considerable effort put in by the Bills front office to secure him beyond. It would be nice if the Bills could finally start retaining some of their high draft picks instead of watching them go off to bigger and better things in other cities. Yes, he’s had off the field issues. Yes, if I’m not mistaken I’m pretty sure in a moment of weakness I said, “CUT THAT LOSER” in August. The NFL is a “What have you done for me lately” existence. And lately, Dareus has been an anchor on the line and looking forward to another year of throwing O-lines back into QBs grills.
- Make a Decision on Spiller
Now…here’s a dilly of a pickle.
Spiller was a Chan Gailey reach to try to make something awesome out of the run game in Buffalo and to a certain degree it worked. The two headed monster of Spiller and Fred Jackson has made the Bills running attack something to behold.
Except for this year where it was uh…not so hot. The 25th ranked rushing attack isn’t something to hang your hat on. Spiller amounted to nothing in his contract year finding himself on IR for the bulk of it. Even when he was running it wasn’t anything to write home about.
It’s difficult to wrap one’s mind around Spiller. He’s a unique talent and I’m starting to come to grips with the fact that he’s going to pull the traditional role of a Buffalo Bills running back: decent production in Buffalo and then go to another team and become say…Beast mode. I don’t know how he can be used better since he’s a liability in pass protection and if he can’t skip to the outside he can’t make people miss in piles or at least didn’t this season.
For my money, get a RB in the draft. Use Bryce Brown, FredEx and rookie RB and see if you can get something in value for Spiller before you have to let him walk.