Over the past week or so, we here at Buffalo Rumblings have begun the grueling off-season process of figuring out exactly where and how the Buffalo Bills need to improve to make a playoff push in 2009. This effort, currently in its initial phase dubbed our State of the Roster series, will eventually culminate in the assembly of a prioritized Community Needs List, where every single need the Bills carry into the 2009 off-season will be made known to those who run the franchise. (At least, that would be awesome.)
I'm the kind of guy that is obsessed with organization and being on the same page as everybody else. So unlike last year, when we ripped through our State of the Roster series and threw our Needs List together once those reviews were finished, this year we're going to keep our Needs List a work in progress as we work through the positional reviews. Thus, we'll begin prioritizing the work we've already done right now.
What follows are the needs we've already identified, the players we've identified as contract extension-worthy, and the players we'd like to see take a hike. If you don't agree with the names or positions on this list, don't feel bad (unless you aren't part of these discussions) - this is a majority opinion. We'll vote on the positions to get as many opinions in as possible, but the prioritization of extensions and expulsions will remain a discussion rather than a vote. So if you're of the mind that extending Fred Jackson is more critical to this team's success than extending Jason Peters, vote in the poll and click on past the jump to read, digest and leave your thoughts on players themselves.
RB Fred Jackson - As an Exclusive Rights Free Agent, the Bills have exclusive negotiating rights with Jackson. The near-consensus opinion here, however, is that Jackson is worthy of an ACTUAL contract extension to keep him in Buffalo long-term.
OT Jason Peters - We know he wants a new deal. The Bills know he wants a new deal. Can the team get it done before he gets whiny about it again? All we know for sure is that there is a growing contingent of Bills fans who believe that Peters will be traded in the off-season if negotiations go slowly, and those beliefs are being fueled by media-types picking up on the idea.
OT Kirk Chambers - Established himself as a valuable reserve in 2008. He's an unrestricted free agent, and thus can sign with any team he wishes. Should be loyal to Buffalo if they show interest in re-signing him, considering it was the Bills who gave him his first real chance at playing at the NFL level.
QB J.P. Losman - Not only is Losman expendable, but there is quite literally zero chance he's back in a Bills uniform in 2009. I'll allow you a moment to weep softly for our former starter before we move on. OK, let's move on.
FB Corey McIntyre - The consensus here seems to be "good special teams guy, terrible lead blocker". Can you imagine just how devastatingly awesome Marshawn Lynch and Jackson would be if they didn't have to do everything themselves? Blocking FB is on the needs list, and McIntyre is likely on his way out.
TE Robert Royal - There were some opinions expressed (well) here that Royal might stay. That's not really a scary thought; Royal can be effective in a situational role. That said, if the Bills feel they need to cut Royal to make room for a difference-maker at tight end, they'll cut the cord quickly - the cap hit would be small, and the team has two young players they like at the position for depth.