FanPost

My Linear Logic as to why the Bills should at the very least consider trading for Alex Smith.

Dear Fellow Bills Fans:

After reading Brian Galliford's article today "Comparing Buffalo Bills Skill Players To '09 New Orleans Saints" I decided to make a bold and highly questionably comment in the section below.

Here is that comment:

Drees Brees = Alex Smith ???

Call this idea silly, but when the Saints signed Brees, he was still a relative unknown commodity(compared to where he stands today). In fact Smith going to the NFC championship game in 2011 and back-up QB in this years Super Bowl might even be a more proven commodity now than Brees was before coming to NO.

A numbers look for comparison sake:


_________________Brees( 2004+2005) Smith (2011+2012)
comp.% __________65.1 _____________65.8

yards/att _________7.55 _____________ 7.55

TD% ____________5.8_______________ 4.9

INT% ____________2.4_______________1.7

RTG _____________97_______________97.4

OK, so why did I use Smith to compare to Brees you ask? Simply for the main fact that Brees was a semi -"proven" commodity to hit the FA market in his prime and Smith, soon turning 29, is also in his prime and is said to be available. Also, Brian's article was asking us to take a look at the Saints offense. What was the missing piece? Brees, of course. Before reading any further, please look into any other numbers you want for these QB's. I, for the sake of argument like these numbers when beginning to evaluate a QB.

Also, please note that I began this hypothetical with several question marks. I do not have any "man-crush" on Alex Smith.

1. Smith is better than all QB's on our roster.

For reference sake here are great pages to look at for numbers:

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/F/FitzRy00.htm

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/S/SmitAl03.htm

Let's assume you looked at those. You would probably find eerily similar numbers. One big difference that stuck out to me is Smith's lower INT%. Also, many people in the comments section pointed to Fitz's higher TD numbers. I ask you, which is better more TD's, less INT's or a better TD:INT ratio ?

I would like to argue that the ratio is of greater value. If you have the ball more, you have a higher percentage to win games. If the opposing team has the ball more, they have a greater chance to win. Using this argument Smith is the better QB.

Also, Smith has spent the past 2 seasons under one of the best football minds in the world while Fitz has spent his time under Gailey (out of the NFL). Harbaugh has consistently stated that he has two #1 QB's. He has even gone so far as to say that they are willing to keep Smith on the roster for $8.75 million dollars as a back-up.

This is where I digress from purely numbers. Football is all about winning. And while there are lucky bounces here and there, in the end the numbers favor the talent. Smith has a winning record. Fitz does not.

Smith played on a good team you say?

Sure, the 49ers are a really, really good team. Smith helped them to be good.

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/comeback.cgi?player=SmitAl03

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/comeback.cgi?player=FitzRy00

If you look at the links above, it shows the amount of 4th quarter comebacks and game winning drives. Smith is a good comeback QB (In 2011, he came back to win in 6 of the '9ers 14 wins)and Fitz, well if you managed to leave the TV on or stay in the stadium after you predicted that game tossing INT, you already know is not. In fact Fitz is one of the worst comeback QB's of all time.

I will take Wins over Losses. Fewer TD's but far less INT's. Plus Spiller can grab those TD's ;)

2. Smith is a proven, improving, winning commodity

I kind of touched on this point already, so I will not go into much detail here. Smith has a winning record, his numbers have improved. He won a playoff game, was on a SB team, the last full game he played in he was 18-19 passing. Yes, he was benched. He had a concussion and his replacement played "lights out" and never stopped. If your starting goaltender in hockey was out with a concussion and your back-up was on an unbelievable run, would you go back to your starter? Only if the back-up showed signs of normalcy. Kaepernick never did. He was the toast of the league and Harbaugh took a bit of scrutiny for sticking with Kaepernick. Harbaugh still maintained he has 2 #1 QB's and still keeps that stance.

3. Smith is better than all other (reasonably) available QB's

I exclude Flacco. I also exclude Freeman. And all those other "franchise QB's".

If you can find a better QB on the market for a cheaper price, please let me know.

I include rookies. I will say that drafting a QB remains imperative. Smith is my solution for now. If a rookie can come in and outplay him in training camp and in season, wonderful! However, given reports of these rookie QB's just not being day 1 ready, I would like to hedge my bets. Drafting remains a crap shoot. 50% of round 1 QB's just simply do not pan out. Smith has panned out for Harbaugh, I trust his judgement and coaching abilities and believe that Marrone can be a good QB coach. Draft a QB AND trade for Smith. I want to win now AND in the future.

4. Smith would make for a good stop gap QB.

Again, I have made my argument for this case above but to delve deeper. He knows how to win games. He knows how to win playoff games. He out-dueled Brees in their playoff match-up and at least equaled Manning in the championship game. If not for the special teams gaffe, the Niners may have been in the SB last year. It could also be argued that IF Smith was never concussed, he could have won the SB for them this year as well.

The Niners were a 6-10 team before Harbaugh arrived on the scene. They had talent on the roster that was still improving. They hired an up and coming coach. They had a great RB in Gore. They had talent on their D. Sound familiar??? Sure they have 2 of the best LB's in the game. We are missing these pieces, yes, but I believe we can find improvements there in this off-season.

5. Smith would conceivably come at a relatively cheap price.

Smith's cap number is $8.75 million this year. Oddly when we combine the cap spaced saved by Barnett, Wilson, McGee and the non-tenders to Nelson and Jones we have already saved $8.75. Also, it is widely rumored that the Bills will ask Fitz to restructure his contract. Even if we do out right cut Fitz, we are paying less money to Smith than Fitz. If we keep Fitz at his current salary and add Smith's, we are using $19million on the QB position. Teams that use this much space on the QB position: Pats, Steelers, Broncos, Ravens, Lions, Giants. Wow, with the exception of the Lions(hell even they made the playoffs), I would love to be mentioned with those teams in the same sentence more often. It's only for 1 year as well. Also, the cap went up by at least 3 million this year.

So what does it take to acquire Smith? I don't know but I would be in discussions with the 49ers. I would say 2 4th round picks is reasonable. With the 2014 becoming a 3rd with a playoff appearance and becoming a 2nd with a SB appearance. This is purely speculation and I would like to know their asking price. What would you give up for Smith?

Conclusion:

I never imagined I would be writing this fan post when I made this comment today but the more that people wanted to dispute Smith, the more I saw of a QB who "gets it" and is "in his prime". You can point to Smith having a good team around him. I would say that many experts and Bills fans alike had predicted the Bills as being playoff caliber last year. In fact, if Fitz had led TD winning drives in 4 games (TEN,NE#2,IND,STL) we would have been in the playoffs, not to mention the pick-fest that was week 1 against a BAD NYJ team. If he wins two of those we are a respectable and improving 8-8, instead we were once again a laughingstock and Gailey was rightly fired.

We are close! We are very close. I just don't believe a rookie can take us this year. BUT if we were to find one that could, lets take a page from the Niners and the Seahawks. Seattle now, you say? Yes, Seattle. Nice talent on the roster and what did they do? Trade for Flynn and draft Wilson. I want to follow this pattern. If we find a Wilson in the draft and he wins the "open competition", excellent! If we find a Kaepernick and has to sit a 1.5 and we go to the AFC Championship game next year and the SB in 2014-2015, excellent.

Point being Alex is a proven winner and the cost to get him is not ridiculously high. I am eager to have discussions on your thoughts and thank you for reading this post.

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of BuffaloRumblings.com.

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