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Bills an Example of Losing Cheaply

Buffalo, 11 consecutive years out of the playoffs, just traded one of its few established performers, Lee Evans, to the Ravens for a middling draft pick. Unloading Evans and replacing him with a minimum-salary young player cuts the Bills' costs by about $3 million this season, which is more than profits would rise if every seat were sold. Trading Evans makes a winning season less likely, but the odds of a profitable season go up -- and a built-in excuse is created. How long until a Buffalo team official says, "We knew we'd have an off year when we lost Lee Evans," as if he had been swept from the practice field by helicopter-borne commandos, rather than deliberately traded away.

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