I know that this sounds crazy given the fact that Andy Levitre has been our most consistent and arguably best o-lineman for the past several years but it makes sense and here is why.
The first and most obvious reason is the money that it will cost to keep him. As an example I will look at Ben Grubbs' signing in NO last year:Saints signed OG Ben Grubbs, formerly of the Ravens, to a five-year, $36 million deal.
The deal includes a $10 million signing bonus, and $16 million "fully guaranteed."
I think that we all can agree that this type of deal will be the floor of what Levitre will be looking for. I know that it is not an outrageous amount of money, only if this was a team that didn't have as many holes as the Bills have.
Everyone on here seems to be in agreement that WR and LB are the two biggest needs for this team (outside of QB but that is a whole other story). With that being said we need to think about what those two positions will cost to fill. We need a verified number 1 WR so let's look at what that will cost. Let's use Vincent Jackson (only because he was signed last year to be a number 1 WR for his team) as an example:
Vincent Jackson - Signed a five-year, $55,555,555 contract. The deal contains $26 million guaranteed
One would have to think that again this will be the starting point for guys like Dwayne Bowe, Greg Jennings and Mike Wallace (I mention these names only because they are the most widely considered number 1 WR candidates). That is quite a bit of money.
Now lets move on to the LB position. This one is a little tougher to predict if I am staying current with using last year as a baseline so I will use Kamerion Wimbley as my example. I use him because although he plays DE in Tennessee he was signed as a pure pass rusher which I would think that is what should be our top priority when looking for a LB. So here is what he signed for last year and what should be the starting point for guys like Connor Barwin, Manny Lawson and Paul Kruger,
Wimbley signed a five-year, $35 million contract. The deal contains $13.5 million guaranteed, including a $9 million signing bonus
When you start to add all of these numbers up and include what it will cost to sign our draft picks and our restricted FA's, at worst franchise Byrd and fill out the rest of the roster the math just does not add up. At that point you have to look at what your priorities should be. Like I said earlier if this was a team that didn't have the glaring needs at other important positions then its a no-brainer to keep him if you have the cap space. Unfortunately we don't have that team so it makes more sense to devote that money to adding a top player at a more important spot on the roster.
The last and maybe most important point here is this; Is Levitre even worth what he will get paid? I know that sounds like an insult to a guy who has been a warrior for us, his durability, his versatility.....all good qualities......but not great qualities. To me, that's just it, Levitre has hit his ceiling. Granted his ceiling is a really good player, but do we want to break the bank for a really good player, and an OG at that?
This is why I think that we thank him for his services and congratulate him on the new very large contract that he will most undoubtedly sign in the near future.