A few weeks back, ESPN.com's Tim Graham raised a few eyebrows when he stated his belief that the Buffalo Bills, were they forced to trade disgruntled OT Jason Peters, they might not get even a first-round pick in return.
Flash forward to present time. The Bills and Peters aren't any closer to reaching a contract agreement, and with fears mounting that Peters could repeat - to a more lethal degree - his holdout from a year ago, a trade seems imminent. Graham, however, changed his tune on potential compensation during a live chat Friday:
A first-rounder and a third-rounder could get it done... I do see Peters bringing back a first-rounder. I wasn't convinced a few weeks ago, but the more people I speak with about it, the more that seems probable.
Graham also reinforced the idea that Peters would hold out when a fan asked if the Bills could force Peters to play, as the Bengals did with Chad
I have the strong impression Peters doesn't care about other examples. He's doing his thing.
Finally, Graham expressed his belief that the Bills are approaching a must-trade situation with Peters:
...this situation is evolving to a point where the Bills might have no choice. This isn't a decision that hinges on who the replacement will be.
We spoke at length a little over two weeks ago about potential trade partners should Peters be traded. Now that it seems like a foregone conclusion, let's revisit the teams mentioned at that time:
Philadelphia: The Eagles aren't necessarily looking to fortify their offensive line via trade, but they've got plenty of ammo (12 draft picks), and Peters is the type of player that Andy Reid loves. Bleeding Green Nation's take
Detroit: The Lions have three picks in the top 33 selections this year, and plenty of needs. I asked Sean Yuille, lead blogger at Pride of Detroit, whether or not he thought the Lions might be potential players for Peters. His response:
I honestly don't think anything will happen. Tom Lewand basically said that the Lions want to build their team through the draft when asked about (Jay) Cutler, signaling that the Broncos obviously wanted way too much. I guess I could see Detroit giving up the #20 pick for Peters, but there is no way they would give up multiple picks (in my opinion, anyways).
St. Louis: Orlando Pace is now in Chicago, and Alex Barron is slated to start at left tackle. Ouch. Clearly, the Rams could draft a tackle with the second overall pick - but Peters might actually cost less. Still, if the Bills aren't thrilled with paying Peters top dollar, the second overall pick might not interest them. I'm inclined to remove the Rams from our original list at this point, but Peters would be a pretty big step forward in their rebuilding process.
Arizona: Mike Gandy. I don't think I need to say much more. Peters would be a good fit for Arizona's scheme, but they've got their own major player on the trade block in Anquan Boldin, which might be prohibitive to the team making a move for a veteran via trade. Scratch them as well.
Pittsburgh: We had them on the list originally, but after re-signing three linemen (Max Starks, Willie Colon and Chris Kemoeatu) and considering their general team-building philosophy, I'm thinking it was kind of ridiculous to include them in the first place.
Right now, Philadelphia and Detroit are the obvious front-runners, but they're shaky contenders at best in my book. One might be able to argue that teams like Cincinnati, Green Bay, Houston, Jacksonville, Oakland, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington could get in on the action - but they're less likely, in my book. Feel free to speculate on potential trade partners and compensation in the comments section, but the bottom line is this - if Graham is talking to folks in the league and coming back with this information, it's nothing but good news for our Bills.