As a Buffalo Bills fan and blogger, I will always feel a special affinity for Paul Posluszny. Buffalo Rumblings was launched on April 7, 2007, just three weeks prior to the start of the 2007 NFL Draft. My first major assignment was to cover that draft, and the most exciting move made that weekend was the team's trade up to the top of the second round to select the Penn State star. I was just one member of a thrilled Bills fan base that day.
With Posluszny agreeing to a six-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars last night - one that could pay him over $40 million in total and $15 million guaranteed - it felt like the end of an era for me, personally, as a fan and as a blogger. That's doubly true considering the fact that the entire 2007 draft class, which once held so much promise, is now gone.
The way Posluszny departs will leave a bad taste in the mouths of Bills fans for a while, particularly if reports that the Bills only offered Posluszny a four-year deal (with less money) are true. There's little question that Posluszny was a fan favorite in Buffalo, and the team's failure to retain a 26-year-old free agent despite very public and intense efforts to do so will leave a lasting, and largely negative, impression.
As it pertains to the 2011 Bills (and iterations beyond), I'm not particularly chuffed that Posluszny is gone. Even with the Bills utilizing a 3-4 defense, they really only need one full-time inside linebacker, given that their sub-packages with extra defensive backs typically take an inside 'backer off the field. Posluszny would have been that every-down guy, so from that angle, it hurts the team in the short term. Over the long haul, however, it should not be particularly difficult for the team to find a cheap - and perhaps more athletic - replacement.
Bills GM Buddy Nix highlighted yesterday - before Posluszny had decided to play in Jacksonville next season - exactly why the team wanted to keep him around. Posluszny is a tough player. He's a leader. He was a team captain here. He's the type of personality that the Bills could've built a defense around. From that angle, too, his loss is a blow. From a statistical production standpoint, it can be considered a blow, as well.
However, the one thing Posluszny did not provide in his four-year career in Buffalo is lasting impact. He was a good player, and very easy to root for. He was not the centerpiece of this defense, and it's debatable if he'd ever have reached that plateau in Buffalo. His departure gives the Bills a chance to get more athletic, and find more impact, at the inside linebacker position. I will always remember Posluszny's career as one of underrated quality play, frustration at its incompletion, and failure to reach expectations that were far too lofty from the get-go.
Still, it's hard to say goodbye. It really is the end of an era for me as a fan that covers the Bills as thoroughly as we do here. Au revoir, Poz. See you August 27.