We all have indulged fantasies about trading Roscoe Parrish or Chris Kelsay for a worthwhile draft pick, or some moderately talented depth player, but the more I mull over the current state of the roster, the more I'm convinced that Kyle Williams is the only realizable asset we have.
First, don't get me wrong, I think Kyle Williams is a hell of a player, probably our all around best defender last year. I'm not one who is big on trading away good players, and I know they are in short supply on both sides of the ball. I also know that, short term, we will be likely taking a hit as far as production from the defensive line position. Ultimately though, I think its something that should be done.
We all know that the Bills are transitioning to a 3-4, and we also know that Williams isn't necessarily the best of fits for that scheme. By our best guess, it seems that the Bills would prefer a traditional two gap 3-4, the worst possible fit scheme-wise for Kyle, although Nix and Gailey also seem (somehwat) optimistic about his ability to play in that system. But even if he is a better fit for the system than we guess, it is unlikely he will ever be a great fit, even in a 3-4 Over system. As with every player on the roster during this overhaul, we have to think of their relative value vs. their potential value to another team. In the case of Williams, I would say we would have to rate him as perhaps an average starter in the 3-4, whereas he is an above average to excellent starter in a one gap 4-3.
More to the point, his value will likely never be greater. He's only 27, but has several years of starting experience behind him. He just achieved career high numbers in sacks (4) and tackles (41) and threw in a forced fumble. His contract is reasonable. We also have a situation in which eight teams (3 of which play the 4-3) will be extremely limited in their ability to pursue free agents. Almost all the upgrades that the Vikings, Colts and Saints can make will be through free agency and/or the draft. Finally, Kyle's value would not be helped by a year in which he proved mediocre in a system which did not fit him. If the Bills were to keep him this year, and he were to struggle, any potential trade partners could use those struggles (fair or not) as leverage in a potential trade discussion.
The Who With and What Fer
As I alluded to above, we really are only looking at 4-3 teams, and likely 4-3 teams that run a one gap scheme. I'm really looking closest at nine teams: Houston, Atlanta, Oakland, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Chicago, Tampa Bay, Carolina, and Seattle. Each of those teams could be thought of as having some need at tackle, although obviously it varies wildly. Below are, I think, the best fits:
Houston- Obviously it helps that Bill Kollar is the D-line coach in Houston. They have some talented DE's, but little inside.
Tampa Bay- They moved to a more two gap scheme early in the year, but switched back to a more traditional Tampa 2 later on.
Ultimately however, I think that the best case scenario would be:
Indianapolis- Kyle Williams for Indy's late 2nd round pick. To me, this deal almost makes too much sense. The Colts are already a championship caliber team, but they are yet to find a solid interior presence on the D-line. Not that they haven't been trying. In the past they've signed Corey Simon, traded a second round pick for Booger McFarland, and even tried to trade for one John McCargo. The Bills would get a second rounder in a deep draft class (especially deep on defense) and Indy would get a young guy who could help take the pressure off of their two excellent DEs. Sounds like a win-win to me.
So what do you all think? Poll is attached.