The most important event in the NFL is about to begin. Important to the fans of any team that hasn’t been to the playoffs in over a decade. Namely the Buffalo Bills fan base which I am a proud member of. Well, usually proud.
Fans get to dream of big names coming to town and bringing us that ever elusive trophy. This year, like most has a ton of enthusiasm because of the building blocks we have. The difference this year is we are retaining our own free agents. The signings of WR Stevie Johnson and TE Scott Chandler along with a few others gives us even more hope for the upcoming season. We don’t have to go into the FA market and pull a rabbit of the hat just to replenish our losses. This year we get to add missing pieces to help us get over the hump.
While I shall admit you can find me in the dreaming about big names tent, I would like to dip you in the reality tent as well. Just don’t fold up that fantasy tent just yet because you never know what Nix has up his short sleeves.
Fantasy VS Reality:
Pass Rushing Defense End:
Fantasy: Mario Williams.
Come on, admit it, he has you drooling. Why not he would be a perfect fit for us. The reality part is he will command over 15 million per season and probably over 25 million upfront. Not likely to happen but again you never know.
Reality: Mark Anderson.
• 6' 4", 255 lbs
• Current Team: New England
• Birth Date: 05/26/1983 (28 years old)
• Birth Place: Tulsa, OK
• 6 years experience
• College: Alabama
By far Anderson had his best showing since entering the league. He fit into Little Bill’s system perfectly. Many are calling him a "one-team wonder". He may be but I see us as a great fit for him. He will be playing with our greatest assets, our Defensive Tackles. That should help him tremendously! I see this not only as a value pickup but also as filling a need.
Fantasy: Brandon Carr.
Brandon Carr might be the best free agent cornerback available. Of course the problem with that is his agent knows that. It will probably take a 10 million per year offer to nab him with 15 plus at least in signing bonus. Just too steep for our team with pass rushing and wide receiver needs, not to mention some extensions to hand out this year.
Reality: Richard Marshall.
• 5' 11", 198 lbs
• Current Team: Arizona Cardinals
• Birth Date: 12/12/1984 (27 years old)
• Birth Place: Los Angeles, CA
• 6 years experience
• College: Fresno State
Marshall should fall down to about the fourth or fifth best CB slot. At that spot he’ll be a value signing for the Bills. He has the size and versatility (plays safety too) that Nix and Coach Gailey covet.
Fantasy: Manny Lawson.
Okay, so this isn’t a 5 star fantasy pick, mostly because this is a very weak linebacker class. There are a few top shelf inside backers but not much in the other areas. Manny had a good season and if he makes it to FA he should do well.
Reality: Rocky McIntosh.
• 6' 2", 242 lbs
• Current Team: Washington Redskins
• Birth Date: 11/15/1982 (29 years old)
• Birth Place: Roosevelt, NY
• 6 years experience
• College: Miami (Fla.)
Most folks may have forgotten this but Bills fans can relate to it. Rocky was a good linebacker. Along came a new coach and made everybody learn new positions in the new scheme. The Bills made the switch back and in doing so created a nice opening for a still viable 29 year old. Rocky should fit in and challenge Kirk Morrison for a starting gig. Not to mention he shouldn’t cost too much.
Fantasy: Vincent Jackson.
Admit it. Jackson would look really good running down the field at The Ralph with Stevie also drawing attention. Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller coming out of the backfield. Wow, we could really test the opponent’s secondary and be very exciting on offense. Jackson made 10 million last year as a franchise player. This year it might take 10 to 12 to sign him. With Stevie onboard for over 7 million a year this is little chance of them adding Jackson.
Reality: Josh Morgan.
Josh won’t be easy to land. Many other teams could use him and that includes his current team the 49’ers. An up and coming youngster with some speed and good size. Not Jackson or Reggie Wayne but would look good in a Bills jersey.
• 6' 1", 215 lbs
• Current Team: San Francisco 49ers
• Birth Date: 6/20/1985 (26 years old)
• Birth Place: Washington, DC
• 4 years experience
No matter what or where the Bills go with this free agent market it is obvious that they will do something this year. I can’t wait until Tuesday to see what that might be. What do you think Nix and company might do in this deep free agent market?