Now and later

Check out Jeremy's post-trade deluge of thoughts

Jeremy White
August 12, 2017 - 8:08 am

Now and Later

I tried and tried to put together all of my feelings on the Bills trades coherently but… I’ll admit, I’m struggling. Every time I try to take it in one direction or the other, I end up flipping and seeing the other side. Maybe that makes me a bit like the Bills in that I can’t decide which way to go.


So… prepare to read an article that’s just a jumbled bunch of thoughts on what was a crazy day where there was a deluge of thoughts, opinions, and borderline bewilderment.  


Having it both ways

As the shock of yesterday’s trade wears off, I find myself hunting for the words to nail down just how I feel about the moves. I do not believe the Bills are a tire fire, nor that they’ve destroyed all that is good about their football team. I don’t think this should lead anyone to crying about three more years of being terrible, or extending the drought to 27-years.  

The feeling I'm left with, is frustration. Frustration with the Bills' interest in draft picks for next year, but also this year at the same time.

Brandon Beane’s press conference was all about that. He said he’ll never throw in the towel. He gave the usual sports management talking points about how he wants to win at ping pong, and that he’d never do anything that wasn’t about winning.  

Great. That doesn’t impress me. What works for me, is picking a direction and going with it.

Go for 10-6 and a shot at the postseason, or go for 2017 and the quarterback of your future. This idea that a team on a 17-year playoff drought, with what seems like little belief in the starting quarterback, can do both, doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Throughout this entire offseason, any time Bills beat reporter Sal Capaccio comes on to chat Bills with us he drives home the point, “They think they can win this year”. Agree or disagree, it has long been the organization’s stance on the upcoming season. The idea has been that they’ll look for a franchise guy in the rich class of 2018, but also try to end the drought.

This has never matched up.


All of the picks

I’ll be the guy on the corner, shouting into a megaphone, that six picks in the first three rounds likely isn’t worth as much as having the #1 or #2 pick if you’re trying to get a quarterback at the top. All this draft capital inevitably leads to, “Oh we’ll just trade up for our guy”.  

While that’s possible, it’s certainly not anything that you can count on. And it ignores the most important point - You’re excited about using all this capital to move up to a spot at the top of the draft, but you could just keep it all, lose some more games, and pick at the top? All this talk about "doing both" the best daily double you could hit would be picking high and KEEPING all that draft capital. Spending it all for a spot at the top is... not ideal.

What’s the smart play here guys?

Has a 17-year playoff drought built in so much… pride?… that this team can’t or won’t just take some medicine and sink to the bottom? You just traded away (arguably) your best player to pick up an additional second round pick. In addition, to the picks the Bills got players on expiring contracts in Jordan Matthews and E.J. Gaines.

Trading away expiring contract to get picks with another expiring contract is known as “The Tim Murray”. Remember all the times he said he wasn’t going to let a player leave for nothing, and then got… like.. .what… a FIFTH for it? He stockpiled while sinking to the bottom. Had he decided to stockpile, and still try to make the playoffs… Jack Eichel would be playing somewhere else. If these kids at the top of the draft are as good as advertised, you’re probably not getting up there because you can throw in the 45th pick. You're left hoping that teams like Chicago or Indy finish up there.

If it’s possible to be a supporter of the moves the Bills made, but also skeptical of the timing and the fit of the rest of the offseason plan, then that’s the club I’m starting.



The Bills traded Sammy Watkins, in part because he’s about to become a free agent and they don’t know that they want to, or have the cap room to pay him what he may command on the open market. It’s worth mentioning that he is ONLY a free agent this upcoming season because that was their choice. The Bills declined the fifth-year option on Watkins, which brought about this entire scenario.

If the plan from the outset, was to decline that option, and then trade Watkins? TANK.

Ok, so Watkins is traded for E.J. Gaines and a second round pick. You’d like to think this is the best offer the Bills have received for him at any point in the Beane/McDermott era.  

Pardon me for thinking that they should have done this sooner, or that they should do more. Immediately upon learning of the trade of Watkins, my reaction was to think about what this does to your fans. You’re just a few weeks out from the start of the season. Jerseys are being purchased. Season tickets and suites are for sale, and you fundamentally change the look of your team in mid-August? How different the Bills are as a result of these moves is really up for debate, but the look of what they just did doesn’t really jive with how they’ve talked since Sean McDermott showed up.

If you’re trying to tell me you’re the same team, because Jordan Matthews is a good replacement and that you’ll still be competitive… then this was all about acquiring a second round pick. I guess that’s the going rate for swapping out a popular player that gives fans something to get excited about or believe in.

If you think the players that they’re getting in return are better, then why did Sean McDermott’s press conference sound like a funeral? McDermott when asked if he needed to be convinced of the moves pivoted to points about how these are difficult decisions. He had the same tone as a season ticket holder with a Watkins jersey. He knows they took a step back. Thing is, that'd have been more easily explained in March or May. To do this in August leaves a bit of a feeling like you were sold something phony.


Something to believe in (yes Poison popped into my head)

Heading into this season, I think the Bills had a split fan base. You had the “Wouldn’t be upset if they go 1-15” and the “Dear God end the drought”. How is each side feeling today?

The Tanksters - Want high pick. Probably want the Bills to do more. Trade Shady. Trade Tyrod. You have our support.

The Droughtsters - The picks are nice but… really? Sammy and Darby? Are they… tanking?

I guess there has to be a third group - The Both-Siders.

It’s the Both-Siders that have the toughest case to defend, and that seems to be the group the Bills are in.

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