I have mentioned on several occasions now that if I was running the Buffalo Bills I would be actively shopping Marshawn Lynch. It is time that I fully explained myself. Let me set a few thing straight right off the bat:
First: Marshawn probably has more value to the Bills then he does elsewhere. What I mean by that is this; he is already on the Bills and under a modest contract, (well not crazy anyway). He is a good player, and when he is on the field and getting carries he can be a force. The biggest risk that he has, (and the main reason I would look to deal him) is his off field issues. Marshawn is one screw up away from a year long ban. Teams may shy away from him based on that. He is already on the Bills so the risk is already theirs, other teams might not want to take on that risk.
Second: I am not suggesting that the Bills give him away for a 5th round pick. That would be stupid. If committed to dealing him, One Bills Drive would have to figure out what compensation they could live with in return for Lynch, then get at least that or don't make the deal. It is that simple.
Third: I said this before as a comment and I will repeat it here; You play Russian Roulette with players every time they step onto the field, whether it is practice, preseason, or regular season there is always a risk of injury that could put a player out for the season. Lynch's legal troubles the last two years have essentially put another bullet in Lynch's roulette gun. Most play with one bullet, Lynch has two.
I would love for Marshawn to be a fine upstanding citizen for the rest of his NFL career and to end up with his name on the Bills Wall of Fame. But sometimes this game is about who is the most prepared and who plans for the inevitable hiccups that occur throughout the season the best. I think it would be very foolish of the Bills to count on Marshawn staying out of trouble this year. He hasn't proven he is capable of doing that yet. If the Bills plan on going into next season with Fred Jackson and Marshawn as their two featured backs with someone the likes of a Dwayne Wright or Xavier Omon as the number three back they are just setting themselves up for disaster. Why not snip that risk in the bud right now?
Some will say that Marshawn's trade value is down and that the Bills wouldn't be able to get much in return for him. How much value will he have is he is suspended for a year? I will also say that similar things were said of Travis Henry and Willis McGahee and yet the Bills where able to get a 3rd rounder for Henry and two 3rds and a 7th for McGahee. if I could get a 3rd and a 4th for Lynch I would jump all over it. Yes, that then opens another hole that needs to be filled, but now the Bills have the means to fill it. If he gets suspended again the Bills will be stuck sifting through the dregs of the scrap heap trying to find gold. It also must be said that if Lynch is dealt early enough a veteran running back could be had easier in free agency. What player will sign with both Lynch and Jackson on the roster? With Lynch gone there is a place for a guy to get 5 - 10 touches a game, that can be very attractive for some players.
I am a fan of Marshawn and would hate to see him leave and flourish somewhere else, but I don't trust him, he hasn't earned that. I would rather be safe then sorry, and that is why I would deal Marshawn Lynch.