Last year prior to FA I wrote a quick mind dump thanking Stevie for a reasonable contract and making some predictions for FA. Among those were that the Bills would aggressively target Mario knowing that he would require roughly 6 year and 90 million, that they would not be able to land a WR in FA despite interest, and that they should try to resign Bell to avoid having to spend a high pick on a LT. Since I was relatively pleased with my performance last time around, I figured I'd give it another shot this season.
1) Fitzpatrick will be cut at some point tomorrow. The Bills are still a year away from being extremely competitive, so I think they decide to make the financially smart decision, saving the 7 million dollars they would have to pay him this season. I think they simply understand he is not part of the long term plans and want him completely of the books in 2014, when they will be looking to resign Wood, extend Spiller, and add key pieces in FA to a team that is better positioned to compete. Its very possible they target a guy like Chase Daniels or Drew Stanton to compete with Tavaris and whoever they pick up via the draft. I think the QB uncertainty in Buffalo makes it an attractive spot for a guy who is still looking to earn a starting job in the league rather than be a career back-up.
2) The Bills will sign an OG for 2-3 million a year less than what Levitre signs for elsewhere. They will go after either (or both) Vasquez and Moore, and then fall back to Reinhart if those talks start getting too pricey. After FA I expect the OG position to be a huge depth concern entering the draft and will be taken care of in the middle rounds.
3) The top FA WR's are simply going to be too expensive to sign, so the Bills will turn to options such as GIbson, Alexander, or Simpson to provide some depth with upside. WR will be another position that will warrant a lot of attention come draft time.
4) If the Bills fail to land a top guard, they will use that money to agresisvely pursue a second tier CB like Keenan Lewis, or at the least make a play on veteran presence like Jammer, Jenkins, or Rodgers-Cromartie to compete with McKelvin/WIlliams for the starting spot opposite of GIlmore.
5) There will be reports of interest in Ellerbee, but when all is said and done he will sign elsewhere without ever visiting. Same could be said about Kruger, who will quickly exceed the Bills price tag.
6) I hope TE is a priority, and I think a guy like Fasano or Keller would make sense on a cheap 1 year deal. I'm just reluctant to make that prediction since I always believe the Bills will (or should) go for a TE and they never seem to do it.
In short, if I had to make my best guess, the Bills will end this week:
- WIthout Fitzpatrick and with a younger unproven QB signed on a short term contact at around 2.5 million with incentives for starting games
- With a 4-6 million/year LG
- With a 2.5-4 million/year WR who (unfortunately) could be immediately considered our 2nd best WR
- With a 5-6 millon/year CB who competes for the #2 spot
Just my predictions. Let me know what you guys think will happen.