The Bills are tanking.
Maybe it is both. I’ve written a few times that even though the Bills have been telling the media and fans they plan on trying to win every game this year, behind the scenes, they felt they needed to get way better in the long-term and the uplifting talk was just that. This deal kind of cements that, in theory.
If you are all about the draft and thought the Bills were going to be crappy this year, you probably should like the deals. If you bought into them making a run this season, you are probably pissed. I’m a little more into the first part as I saw 6-10 with this roster, but I’m shocked at the price they have paid to get those additional picks. It may go down as the most shocking deals they’ve made during the drought.
- Look, Jordan Matthews isn’t a bum. 158 catches, 1,803 yards and 11TDs over the last two years aren’t bad. He’s a nice WR who has some decent numbers, but talent wise? Sammy Blows him away. Additionally, Matthews is a FA after this season. The key get for this deal is getting a 2nd rounder and possibly positioning yourself to be worse this year for a higher pick. For Sammy, I feel bad. I think he’s a dynamic talent and the Bills didn’t do him any favors by fucking over his preseason diagnosis last season and not really using him enough during his career. If he’s healthy, he’s going to be an awesome WR. Alas, it won’t be here. As for EJ Gaines, I don’t know much about him. He’ll probably start opposite of White. You can also look at it that they are getting something for Watkins now IF they had no interest in extending him after this season. Still, it is a risk if he becomes what we all thought he would be.
- If the Bills had traded players like Wood/McCoy/Kyle Williams for picks, I’d totally be down with it because I feel they are older and have peaked. This is what you do in a rebuild as you trade vets for younger assets. Sammy is tough for me because I feel he can be special and has a lot of football left in him. He’s not in the twilight of his career like the guys I just mentioned. Missing 3 games in two years and missing most of last year cause the Bills fucked up the diagnosis in the preseason doesn’t make you Rob Johnson. Did anyone in the media complain how Eric Wood was injury prone when his 2009, 2011, 2016 seasons were cut short cause of serious injuries? Did anyone say Kyle Williams was injury prone when he missed 11 games in 2011 and 10 games in 2014? Maybe whispers, but it wasn’t an outcry for it like it has been for Sammy (Note: Cause they were quote machines, maybe?). I just feel some wanted to knock the draft trade/Doug Whaley and just made Watkins’ injury history out to be like it was Rob Johnson meets Tim Connolly. I mean, Jerry Sullivan wrote today that the Watkins trade may have been the worst in Bills history. GTFO with that. At Sammy’s age, it would have been awesome to add him to whichever QB they draft next year. You’d have a recipe for a franchise QB + franchise WR who are relatively young and could play together for a decade. Instead, this opens up a need next year where you are probably going to have to draft a WR high. Again, I get the deal on the Bills end, but we should also get the consequences of it and what might have been for next year.
- As for the Darby trade, we’ve heard all summer about the question marks of him adjusting to zone defense. Kind of interesting though he’s going to Jim Schwartz’s defense which plays a similar scheme. So, are the Eagles idiots for trading for a guy who some in the media have questioned his adjustment to this scheme, when he’s going to a similar one? Maybe it will be a wash between Gaines/Darby, but again, the key is the 3rd rounder the Bills are getting. Once again, the tank or the rebuild or both is completely on right now.
- The Bills, through their state run media show from 12-3pm, are going to totally bury Sammy Watkins and Darby. In 20 minutes of listening today, they brought up more concerns for Sammy’s injury history during that stretch than they did in the last 2 years. Always the shills. It went from “Julio Jones had the same injury and he’s fine” to ” HE’S BROKEN DOWN!!” Such bullshit. Complete propaganda. John Murphy is also pouring cold water on tanking just like Hockey Hotline during the tank did when they always pivoted from it and let the WGR hosts take the reigns on cheering it on.
- Get ready for a TON of WGR cheering for a tank from Schopp/White/Howard with Sal Capaccio probably being against it. I wrote about this when we were mulling the Tyrod decision how if they got rid of him, this is what we would be in for. Well, you could make the case that Sammy was more important than Tyrod and I think that’s what we are going to get. It was a ratings bonanza when they did this for McEichel. I can only assume TBN writers will counter this and mention culture and all that stuff and we will have a holy war between the two factions. Media on media crime will run rampant!!!
- I am not a pro-NFL tank guy. This isn’t the NHL where top 3 picks are normally can’t miss. The NFL draft as a whole is crap shoot and the top 3 picks are far from can’t miss on any given draft. I happen to think if you have a competent front office, you can find guys anywhere in the draft. Even a franchise QB as teams like the Raiders, Bengals, Steelers, Ravens, Seahawks, Cowboys and a bunch of others found their guys not in the top 5. Getting a ton of draft picks sounds great in theory, but that is half the battle. You need to hit on those picks. The Browns got a boatload of picks when they traded down with with the Bills for Sammy and the Jets with Sanchez. And guess what happened? They drafted busts with those picks. Right now I have zero idea if Brandon Beane or Sean McDermott know how to draft. If they know how to draft, these will be good trades. If they draft the 2nd comings of Aaron Maybin and JP Losman, then we are fucked.
- I feel really bad for Williams/Boldin. They convinced Kyle Williams to come back and right now, this team is not better today. He must be kicking himself. Same goes for Anquan Boldin who was talking about winning a Super Bowl. I’m not going to sit here and say they are going to win one game because of these trades, but they didn’t get better for the 2017 season. Long-term? We will see how they draft. This philosophy doesn’t bold well for Boldin/Williams. I wonder if the Bills will trade them at some point since all signs point to this possibly being their last year.
- Also, fuck the Bills for doing this deal now after they had seasons on sale for months. I sure as hell know if I knew they were totally in rebuild mode -which this deal seems to indicate- I wouldn’t buy seasons this year. Was this deal not on the table in May? WTF. I’ll blame Russ Brandon for doing this deal now after he SOLD inventory. OK. I am joking, but fuck doing the deal now.
- Tyrod Taylor is probably the least happiest person on this team. Again, Matthews is a solid WR, but he’s not Sammy (IF healthy). Additionally, Tyrod’s passing game has always been about the long ball and Watkins was that guy to catch those bombs. Matthews isn’t that guy and right now the Bills don’t have a deep threat on this team.
- Since we will get a shit ton of tank talk, I will say this until I’m blue in the face: If they don’t get a top 5 pick, they have a ton of assets to trade off to get in that top 5 if they feel there’s a franchise QB there. Remember, teams like the Eagles, who weren’t terrible W/L wise or had a top 5 pick, were able to trade 1st rounders to get in the top 3 to select Carson Wentz. Obviously it could become a bidding war with other teams or the teams in the top 5 may want one of those QBs, but having multiple picks will help them trade up if they see a QB in the top 5 they like.
- It will be interesting to see how the vets react on this team. The Bills have a lot of veteran FAs next year (Wood/Preston Brown) and contracts they can get out of (McCoy/Clay). I think the roster turnover for next year is going to be HUUUGE. I could see them trading more guys who they know they won’t re-sign next year.
- The drought is going to hit 20 years. Ehh. But maybe we’ll get a decade straight of playoffs with all these picks!!
I’m more shocked than anything. AGAIN, it is all about how they draft. If they pick great players next year, then I love the deal. If they pick garbage, we are back to square one.
All-in-all, the Bills are rebuilding. That’s why they traded down this past draft and now have 6 picks in the first 3 rounds next year. They are NOT better today, but their goal is to be better for 2019 and these deals could help that.
I don’t know if they will be 2-14 this year based on these deals, but I don’t think we are coming close to .500. The Bills obviously have a plan and that’s rebuilding through the draft and jettisoning players Doug Whaley/Rex selected. I’m more worried about not trying to kill people who root against the Bills on Twitter than anything. Seriously, we are about to hit McEichel chase territory. Get your booze or get the flaming tables ready because tank vs. anti-tank arguments are going to come through.