This is where we separate the Darcy Regiers from the Bill Parcells.
The first part of my dictatorship as GM was easy. I got rid of old guys who didn’t really live up to their deals and handed out like, 5 million bucks. I’m now looking for impact players via free agency or trades. When I look at free agency, it is filled with a lot of dynamic playmakers at wide receiver. The Bills need at least two of them. I’m also down two starters with Kelsay and Edwards looking for work. Going to have to fix that as well.
I’m fine with my secondary because I always believe that your secondary can play well if you get guys who can rush the passer. They can cover for the secondary’s mistakes. I mean, name the Giants’ corners. They won’t ever get confused with Champ Bailey, but because they get pressure, it is easier for the secondary to be in pass coverage. To me, this free agency period is all about making the offense better. I’m going to give Fitzpatrick every opportunity to prevail in this offense. I don’t think throwing the football to undrafted guys is fair for him. Forget the contract because I need to find out if he’s a bridge gap for one season or a guy we can hitch our wagons to for the next 5 years. I’m going to do him some favors.
I have 40 million to play with. So let us get to it.
Re-sign Stevie Johnson: 5 years, 38.5 million bucks. (Note: The article was finished before the announcement of Stevie re-signing.)
Yes, the thought of trading Stevie’s rights to someone has crossed my mind. I’m thinking you could probably get an early 3rd round pick for him. However, what would I do next? I could give Vincent Jackson or Marques Colston what they want, which I’m assuming is somewhere between 9-11 million bucks. If reports are true that Stevie wants 7.5 million, I’m going to give him that much. As I’ve said 100 different times, that is the going rate for WRs with his stats who are entering free agency. I also think by signing him and not the higher-priced guys, I can then go after a #2 guy.
Trade Fred Jackson to the Pats for the 61st pick.
WHAT!?!? WHAT!? YOU ARE FIRED! I know, shocking, right? I love Fred Jackson. He is a stud, and he deserves a raise in my estimation. However, I have a 1st round pick who is sitting on the bench and I’m not confident that Chan will be able to fully utilize both players in the backfield. I also think I can find a running back in the draft between the 3rd and 5th rounds. I just don’t respect the running back position. I think you can pull these guys in off the street. Plus, Fred is going to want a new deal that will probably pay him between 5-6 million bucks a year (Lynch got 7-million.), and he’s coming off a serious injury. The Bills have already paid out most of the CJ Spiller deal with his signing bonus, so they have him for a good price going forward.
I’m not worried about Fred falling on his face because he’s 30. I think he has 2 good years left. The problem is that I have other needs that I have to fix, and if I give him this deal, I probably won’t be able to fill those needs. I also need that draft pick! As for what I can get, that’s a tough one. Marshawn Lynch got the Bills a 4th rounder last year, but he wasn’t near the top of his game while with the Bills like Jackson was last year. Willis McGahee netted the Bills two 3rd round picks. I know this is crazy, but I’m going to see if the Pats would be willing to give the Bills their 2nd round pick. New England has to be a little desperate these days. Brady isn’t getting any younger and the Law Firm is a free agent. They did give the Bengals a 2nd round pick for Corey Dillion in 2004 and he was 30. Yeah, I think they will do it. Oh, and you can let me have it about trading him to a rival. It is crazy, but not stupid! (Note: I did a post about the pros/cons about extending Fred a while back.)
Trade the 61st pick for Osi Umenyiora and give him a 4-year, 32-million dollar deal.
OK, this is where fantasy comes into a play a bit. I’m going to try and justify why both parties would do this deal or more importantly, why the Giants would. New York and Osi have had contract problems for years now. He actually held out last year, and they have been bickering back and forth. The Giants even gave him permission last year to seek out possible trade offers. He wants a new deal… badly. The Giants already have Justin Tuck (at 6 million a year), Chris Canty (at 7 million a year) and Jean Pierre, who will probably want a new deal soon, on their defensive line. They also have to worry about Victor Cruz who has been chirping about money recently. As for a 2nd round pick, I go by what Miami got from the Skins for Jason Taylor when he was 33 (2nd round pick) and the 3rd and 5th round pick the Jags got for Marcus Stroud. Osi is scheduled to make a shade over 4 million bucks this year. Obviously, he ain’t coming to Buffalo for that.
The best defensive ends in the league can get at least 12 million a year. I don’t think Osi is a top 10 DE. He’s somewhere in the 10-20 range. I look at his age (30) and his production (69 sacks in 8 seasons) as being a better version of what Kyle Vanden Bosch signed for in Detriot two years ago. Bosch was 30 when he signed with Detroit (4 years, 26 million) and had two seasons with Tennessee of 10 sacks or more. I’m going to give Osi 8 million a year, which would be in the top 6 for base salaries for defensive ends next year. I think he would thrive here when you consider that the Bills will have Williams and Dareus in the middle of this defensive line. Also, I think he fits what Dave Wannstedt wants out of his defensive ends. Go back to his days in Dallas and Miami. Jason Taylor and Charles Haley were known for their speed rush off the edge. It is that old Jimmy Johnson (Dave’s mentor) theory of wanting fast players on defense. Osi is fast. He is a classic edge rusher. I may have to get Bruce Smith on the phone to tell him Buffalo is awesome to make him smile, but I’m trading for him.
Update: I had about 40 million to play with for this year and with Fred gone (2 million bucks) and 15 million for Osi and Stevie, I am at 26 million under the cap.
Sign Laurent Robinson: 5 years, 30 million bucks
I’ve been preaching Robinson’s play on Twitter for a minute now. I like the guy. I think he’s a stud with size, strength, and speed. Even when starting only four games last year, Robinson had 54 catches for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns. At 6’2″, Robinson is the type of player who can out-jump guys in the back of the end zone and can kill you off deep routes. He averaged almost 16 yards a catch which would be the answer for the Bills deep threat issues. Remember when he burned Drayton Florence in Dallas last year for a 58-yard touchdown? Of course you do, the picture above reminded you of it. The guy has wheels. Yes, Robinson was the third WR in Dallas last year, but when Dez Bryant and Miles Austin were injured, Robinson stepped up big time. In his four starts, Robinson had 21 catches for 302 yards and 5 touchdowns. Yes, he can be a #2 option in our offense. As for a deal, I’m thinking somewhere between 5-6 million a year. Hey, if Bernard Berrian can, oh, you know the rest.
Sign Steve Smith: 1 year, 2.5 million bucks
I think Steve Smith would be awesome in this offense, if he’s healthy. He’s a great route runner with his ability to run those 8-10 yard patterns. They are the same type of routes Stevie Johnson thrives in. Unfortunately for Smith, he’s had a rough two years. Coming off a 2009 season in which he had 107 catches (repeat: 107 CATCHES!) for 1,220 yards, his 2010 season was cut short after 9 games because of a serious knee injury. Entering free agency, the Giants wanted to re-sign Smith, but he elected to take a 1-year, 4-million dollar deal with the Eagles. Unfortunately for Smith, he rushed back from his knee injury and didn’t play well at all. He had just 11 catches in 9 games, with the Eagles putting him on IR in December. Again, this would be more of a flyer, but I think he’d fit with the Bills. Picture Fitz in a 4-wide set. You get Stevie and Robinson on the outside with Smith and Nelson in the inside. I think that can cause some serious match-up problems for defensive secondaries. As for a contract, I’m not giving him 4 million bucks after an 11-catch year.
Final word: I’m done shopping. I was able to get Fitzpatrick some decent weapons, and Osi is definitely a type of pass rusher the Bills need. Letting Fred go was more about getting a 2nd round pick and yes, it was painful. I also have to consider that the Bills will soon have to give new deals to Eric Wood, Jairus Byrd and Andy Levitre. So we are clear, I would not be down with the Bills trading Jackson unless they added some serious players, which I think you can say I did. I’m extremely excited about seeing what the passing game will look like for the Bills. I think having your 4th corner on David Nelson is a pretty nice match-up. I’m telling you, if Steve Smith is healthy, he will fit like a glove with this offense.
More importantly, there will be no excuses for Fitzpatrick. He will have weapons, and this won’t be like Ryan Miller fans crying that he had a down season because Hank/Toni left. (Editor’s note: 🙁 -HB) He now has an above average wide-receiving corps as he’s not throwing to UB grads anymore. If Fitz falls on his face with this bunch, then he’s gone after next year. Also, I’m pretty comfortable with having a rookie QB come in here with these weapons around him. Money-wise, I am at 15 million under the cap which gives me more than enough to sign draft picks.
As for justifying the money spent to the bean counters like Overdorf, I will just say that I cleared 11 million bucks off the books by cutting old people and added 15 million to it. So, the Bills really spent only 15-20 million in new money for this offseason. Alright, I know. Ralph will kill me. If his bean counters give me a hard time, I’d love to fire them but I’d be better suited to cut Terrence McGee or Rian Lindell’s 3-million dollar salary or Nick Barnett or Brad Smith in order to stay face.
Yes, this is probably where suspension of disbelief regarding Ralph and his Detroit office comes in.
Up next: DRAFT!