Anyway, lets make this a bit easier on everyone. This is how I would attack the holes on our roster, and what I would do based on specific assumptions at certain points of the offseason. I will make sure to point out what things would need to happen to make me take certain actions to fill the holes *I* see on the roster. Another thing, this is a middle of the road take on actions, not a "Brown will be a FA and yada yada" type of rosey eyed look at things, nor a Ron from NM type of uber pessimistic take either. I hope I fall right in the middle of that for this articles sake.
**UPDATE** After the cuts made by several teams today, I have made some changes to my FA work and having discussed several different aspects of the draft with those people here I will do what a good GM would do. I am changing how I would attack this offseason in several ways. Anything in bold and italics within each area of work will be new information I have added since originally posting this article. I have also changed the name of this FanPost to better bring forth the style of writing I was aiming for the first time around.
Players to Release
- Chris Kelsay
- Roscoe Parrish
- Robert Royal
Reasoning for Cuts above: Anyone who is an RFA, UFA or ERFA I let walk that we discussed earlier in the expendables group from that article. As for the above, well Kelsay and Royal need no further discussion on my part. Ko, I considered tossing but after talking with K and Kry about it, they make a good point that I should at least let him see if he can be a decent backup going into TC before taking action on him, he is not much of a money savings anyhow. Roscoe, I think while a useful return man, brings nothing to the table for me personally, as a WR. We can try some more things with him, but he nets us another 1mil to the salary cap after tossing him. I think Freddy and McKelvin can replace him, and some of my moves later will make it a doable situation anyhow (I hope). Greer walks due to his feeling he can get at least between 6-8 mil a year with the CB inflation occurring right now.
Players to Resign/Extend
- Fred Jackson
- Jason Peters
- John DiGiorgio
- Kirk Chambers
- Gibran Hamdan
- Duke Preston
- Keith Ellison
- George Wilson
Reasoning for resigns/extends above: Freddy needs no talking about, nor Jason Peters, though I think personally, that he is a very good, but not great/elite LT in say the Jones/Pace sense while in their primes. Peters is also going to cost me a small bundle, not as huge as he would hope for, but more than enough to temper my FA spending. DiGi already is back, and I like him as a swing backer. Hamdan to keep Trent happy and as insurance. Chambers because he is cheap and can play either tackle spot and some guard in a pinch. Preston for his ability to be a decent backup at G and C, so he comes back. Wilson is needed since he is one of our ST demons and I don't want April mad at me, plus he gives me Ko insurance.I bring back Ellison because he is a decent OLB backup. While I think Crowell would be a good resign for a one year prove it deal, word coming from OBD seems to be they will let him test FA and will work to fill the SLB hole there and so I go with the assumption Ralph would order me to let him walk.
What I am looking for now that FA is here is to fill certain holes with good to very good players who won't break the bank. Right now I have the following holes to fill:
- Pass Rushing DE
- Receiving TE
- Starting SLB/OLB
- Starting C
- Vet QB
- Vet WR
- 3rd RB
- 5th CB
- Depth players for S, DT, LB, G/C
Assumptions I will make before attacking FA- I do not need Royal since I have Fine who is as good a blocker, but there are NO TEs right now in FA worth even looking at (I will assume Daniels gets the highest tender for RFA before FA starts). I will assume that Hardy will get PUP'ed and will not play until very late this year, and with Roscoe now toast I need some help there. Birk will re-up in Minny and Brown will resign with Baltimore since Ray Lewis will be leaving (looking for one last big pay-day, so the Ravens have the spare cash to keep Brown). With those assumptions in mind, and midful of Crowder now being back with the 'Phins, I attack FA.
- Pass DE- With Kelsay gone and Bryan in his place as my less worthless DE, I ignore the somewhat less than stellar DE group and move on.
- Receiving TE- As above, I pass as there is no one worth taking this year in FA
- Starting SLB/OLB- As noted above, I would originally have resigned Crowell to a 1 year deal, but with signs pointing to NO at OBD about him immediately coming back, I will now look into what I would do to fix it. I would target three people now that Crowder has resigned with Miami. Looking at the market I target these three people and Crowell as my plan of attack: Michael Boley, Morlon Greenwood, Eric Barton and Angelo Crowell. I will assume with this dismissal by the team, Crowell goes elsewhere. We Get- Michael Boley
- Starting C- I would target three men with Birk and Brown gone: Meester, Grove, and Saturday, in that order. I think we can walk away with one, hopefully Grove as he would be the one to last the longest here (Meester and Saturday I would go with 3 year deals MAX to get them here). Grove I would be willing to go for a 4-5 year deal. We Get- Meester
- Vet QB- Much has been discussed about this, and I think we should look at 4 guys seriously: Charlie Batch, Kyle Boller, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Sexy Rexy Grossman. And that is the order I would pursue them in as well. I would hope to get Batch the 11 year vet who would know the team is Trent's and that he is here to be a mentor and sounding board for Trent during the game and practices. We Get- Kyle Boller
- Vet WR- With Hardy down for most of the year, and Roscoe now looking for work I need to look at these guys hard: Lavernaues Coles, TJ Houshmanzadeh, Amani Toomer, Reggie Williams, Bryant "Panda" Johnson, Michael Jenkins, and Michael Clayton. All are on the tall side (except Coles and TJ) and while I would love to get TJ or Coles, I need to be sane in expectations since they will be some of the hardest pursued FAs next to Ray Ray Lewis. But since Wilson has told me we have GOT to win now, I bet the farm on TJ and Coles We Get- Lavernaues Coles
- FB- I immediately call up Leonard Weaver's agent and see how much the guy wants. He can plow people, he is actually quite agile, and he can be a 3rd down RB in a pinch as well. He has pretty good hands and he helped make Maurice Morris and Julius Jones go over 1000 yards as a pair (1272 to be exact). Also, he ran the rock 30 times for 130 yards (4.3 Y/A) and caught 20 passes for 222 yards and 2 TDs (1 more TD than Roscoe had and only 10 yards fewer at 4 catches less even!). If he will not come, go after Heath Evans and Lorenzo Neal as my backup plan. We Get- Leonard Weaver
- 3rd RB- JJ Arrington and Warrick Dunn are the only guys in FA I would pursue since both can run to the outside of the tackles, and both have some real wheels. I like that as I think we need to complement Lynch and Freddy that way. I will assume JJ decides to go elsewhere just to be a bit pessimistic at this point. But Warrick would be a real get for this team as his experiences and his veteran locker room and off the field skills would hopefully rub off on my wild 3rd year back as he becomes Lynch's mentor. In the end though I miss on both as JJ wants to try and be more than a 3rd down back and Warrick gets grabbed by a contender to be their vet/mentor (punks).
- 5th CB- While there is an abundance of people in FA this year at CB, I see the ever spiralling upwards price tag on FA CBs and wait till the 1st week is over to grab a vet, targeting the following: Eric Green (good in zone, less so than man), Daven Holly (good speed and hands, injury prone though), Benny Sapp, and DeMarcus Faggins (very good STer, makes up for some ST losses). We Get- Daven Holly
- Depth Players- This is what the draft is for.
What we got from FA
After FA, we are now heading into the draft with a much shorter list of needs. I have now gotten myself a Starting C, a Vet WR, a starting OLB, a Vet QB, a FB, and our 5th CB. So we now have Jake Grove, Kyle Boller, Reggie Williams, Leonard Weaver, and Daven Holly on the roster. We are now just looking for a Pass Rush DE, a Pass Catching TE, a 3rd RB, and depth players.
2009 NFL Draft
Here is how I think the top 10-20 picks will go for this year.
- Detroit Lions- Eugene Monroe OT (not sexy but needed)
- St. Louis Rams- Jason Smith OT (Bulger needs protection)
- Kansas City Chiefs- Aaron Curry OLB (gave real thought to Orakpo here as well)
- Seattle Seahawks- Michael Crabtree WR (need WR help badly and with Smith and Monroe gone they will go for explosivness)
- Cleveland Browns- Brian Orakpo DE (Need a DE, and Orakpo is the biggest pass rusher here with top 10 talent in this draft)
- Cincinatti Bengals- Everette Brown DE (Cincy needs a pass rush more than another OT in Lewis's mind and my guy goes here)
- Oakland Raiders- Jeremy Maclin WR (Oher a possibility but Al's WR lust continues and he overrules Cable)
- Jacksonville Jaguars- Michael Oher OT (Smith keeps tumbling as Jacksonville parties to get Oher at #8)
- Green Bay Packers- Aaron Maybin DE (While B.J. Raji is tempting to them, they need another OLB and with Curry gone they decide to put "Project Mayhem" in at OLB)
- San Francisco 49ers- B.J. Raji DT (49ers party as he tumbles to them as they now have some real beef in their 3-4 D at NT. Stafford considered for a while, but Singletary opts to run with Shaun Hill 1 season and wait till the real QBs come out next season)
Philidephia Eagles- Andre Smith OT (With Maybin, Orakpo and Brown all gone the Bills are stuck in a quandy, who to take? Pettigrew, Johnson, Maulauga? All of whom feel like reaches, and at this point, all are people I don't want at #11, so I hit the phones. With Washington, Chicago and Philly all looking for OLine help I start talking. I cut a deal with Philly leaning on them for their 21 and 28 picks, but taking their 21st, 53rd (2nd rd.) and 117th (4th rd.) picks as then I do not need to give up any of my picks beyond the 11th.)
Now that I am away from the 11th pick I wait to see who is free at #21 who is the BPA at my positions of need. Since Smith is now off the board, there are only lesser OTs left. So when #21 comes around, I look at the remaining players I can take.
- Denver Broncos- Michael Johnson DE (need help all over the dline, they think hard of Peria Jerry)
- Washington Redskins- Brian Cushing OLB (With Marcus Washington now gone, they need someone to come in and play, issue is they need Oline and LB help they go LB here)
- New Orleans Saints- Malcolm Jenkins CB (need SOMEONE who can play DB there)
- Houston Texans- Louis Delmas S (with all round 1 DEs gone, they opt to give their CBs some help in the deep field).
- San Diego Chargers- Rey Maualuga ILB (They keep a USC guy in state and they get some needed help this season)
- NY Jets- Matthew Stafford QB (Amazingly the 1st QB is off the boards finally and the Jets get him, they then insist that they had planned this all along since 2008)
- Chicago Bears- Darrius Heyward-Bey WR (With no OTs left of any use and the drop off in CBs to steep, they opt to give their O some help with the fastest man in the Combine)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Knowshon Moreno RB (They need help all over the O and in some places on the D, but they can't keep their RBs healthy, so they opt for Moreno)
- Detroint Lions- Mark Sanchez QB (With the best luck in years, the Lions luck into their franchise OT and possible franchise QB in getting Dirty Sanchez this late in the draft!)
- Buffalo Bills- Alex Mack C I take the Center of our future here with this pick. He has also shown ability to play G as well and could take the place of Preston as my swing man, meaning if Preston can't show me anything come TC, he gets cut. With the sheer depth of TE in the 2nd round I decide I can bag my DE and TE there. Original Pick- Brandon Pettigrew TE (And the party commences for Bills fans as they get a real TE for once due to their targeted DEs and OLBs for the 1st Round now all gone)
In Round 2 with the picks I now have the 42rd AND 53rd picks in that round to work with. Looking at the holes I need to fill I target the following:
- 42nd- Paul Kruger or Connor Barwin DEs, either of these picks would give me very solid pass rushers who could contribute from day one as situational rushers. Both players are tall, and if your like me and you like athletes at this position, Connor's combine scores make you drool. Original pick(s)- Tyson Jackson or Robert Ayers DE
- 53rd- Shawn Nelson TE, Here I get a fast (4.56 40) seam stretching TE who showed really good hands and body control in the combine pass catching areas. With a decent vertical and leaping ability, he should be the safety blanket along with Reed that can let Trent shine. Original Pick- Eric Wood C (We got Meester but we now have our eventual starter in year 2 or 3 after the draft)
In Rounds 3-6 I would look for the following depth guys- Cody Brown OLB, Lawrence Sidbury DE, Kory Sheets RB (4.47 at the combine), Johnny Knox WR (4.34 @ combine), T.J. Lang G, Sammie Lee Hill Jr. DT, Vance Walker DT, Jason Williams OLB, Victor Harris CB, Curtis Taylor S, Otis Wiley S.
In the end we COULD end up with Lawrence Sidbury DE (75th pick), Cody Brown OLB (107th pick), Kory Sheets RB (117th pick), Otis Wiley S (139), TJ Lang G (171)
And thats how I would approach FA and the draft if I were the Bills GM working for Wilson. I get a pass catching TE in the draft since I have Fine to block, I get what many consider one of the best C prospects to come out in years, and I get 3, count them 3 pass rushers in Kruger/Barwin, Sidbury and Brown. If Fewell can't make magic happen with that, then we need more help than I thought. As it stands I fill the largest holes, get some young talent on the team, and I have insurance at some important positions as well. As for the Rounds 3-6 picks, these are all approximate guesses as to our pick numbers since comp picks have yet to be determined by the NFL yet, but this is where I think we could possibly get these guys.