Free agency is winding down, perhaps most clearly signaled by Buffalo's re-signing of Tashard Choice. Levitre is gone (Grrrrr), and Manny Lawson added to the roster. The Bills retained Leodis McKelvin with an expensive extension, the theory being that he can be a starter-the lessons of his history notwithstanding. Kansas City swung a trade for Alex Smith (from San Fran), and Matt Flynn (from Seattle) appears to be Oakland bound. Nick Foles remains on the Eagles for the moment and I can't recall any rumors surrounding him lately. Several third and fourth tier QBs have changed teams, like a certain bearded arrival in Tennessee.
The Bills were allegedly interested in Flynn and are now reportedly interested in Arizona cast off Kevin Kolb. When the Raiders cut Carson Palmer expect more Buffalo-bound rumors to fly. For those who dismiss Kolb and Palmer as bad QBs consider that they were playing behind two of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. Assuming the Bills can replace Levitre with someone who doesn't prove to be a turnstile, either of those QBs should enjoy better protection than they've seen in years. Either of those QBs could also perform much, much better in Buffalo than in their previous cities. I would be surprised if the Bills don't add either Palmer or Kolb before the draft. While I think Palmer would have a better 2013 than Kolb, Kolb might have some remaining upside and would cost a lot less. Kolb might also be broken where Palmer seems too laid back (apathetic?) to live in a state of perpetual rattled-ness. Of course, Palmer might not have any interest in Buffalo given that he already did his time in Cincy. Put it all together and it looks like Kolb to me.
The Chiefs and Raiders appear to be out of the QB market. The Browns (Campbell, Weeden, McCoy) and Cardinals (Skelton, Stanton, Hoyer) are both hurting for a starting QB. Jacksonville (Gabbert) can't be ruled out even though their GM has made noises about Gabbert being a better prospect than any of the QBs in the draft this year. The Jets (Sanchez) need a QB and it is worth remembering that Josh Freeman's rookie deal winds down this season. So, Buffalo looks to be competing with the Browns, Cardinals, Jets and possibly the Jaguars and Buccaneers in terms of finding an early round QB.
- Kansas City: OT Luke Joeckel-Picking up Alex Smith makes it possible for the Chiefs to take the best overall player. Reid would love to trade this pick to make up for the picks lost to San Fran but there is no one to entice reasonable offers.
- Jacksonville: DT Sharrif Floyd-Jacksonville needs help all along the defensive line, the owner has a thing for guys who went to Florida universities and the GM won't sign Tebow.
- *Arizona: QB Geno Smith-The Cardinals aren't screwing around in their quest for competent QB play. They ship the Raiders their first and second rounders for Smith. It's below the chart value but the Raiders have no second round pick so the deal makes sense for them.
- Philadelphia: OT Eric Fisher-The Eagles have been so hard up for a good LT that they've used a pair of former Bills and a player whose greatest attribute may have been his first name (King). The jerks at ESPN are sure to capture the shocked and saddened expression on Dion Jordan's face, possibly with an extreme close up.
- *Miami: CB Dee Milliner-The Dolphins are pick heavy and can afford to ship their first and their early second rounder to get a guy who doesn't figure to make it out of the top 10.
- Cleveland: QB Matt Barkley-The Browns might like to trade up but lack the juice to make it happen. With only Smith off the board the Browns hopefully find their best QB since Bernie Kosar was side arming his way to disappointment.
- *New Jersey Jets: QB Mike Glennon-All of the happy talk aside, the Jets are moving on from Sanchez sooner rather than later. Knowing that Buffalo is desparate for a QB the Jets ship their first and third, while getting a 5th rounder back in change from the Raiders.
- *Minnesota: OLB Jarvis Jones-Three QBs in the top seven push a lot of talent down the board. In a situation like this the offers should be coming in fast and furious from teams who feel like they need an impact player to take the next step. The easiest trade with Minny involves their two firsts (23, 25) for 8.
- *St Louis: DE Dion Jordan-Jeff Fischer gets the man who perhaps will be his new Freak while still having another first round pick. The Raiders have added Arizona's 2nd, New Jersey's 3rd and now the Rams' 2nd.
- Tennessee: OT Lane Johnson-The Flaming Thumbtacks can use an upgrade at both tackle positions.
- San Diego: G Chance Warmack-The Chargers have needs all over the offensive line. Warmack should nail down one of the guard slots and give Rivers a chance to step into his throws.
- Detroit: DE Bjoern Werner-The Lions need help at DE after some free agency losses. Dropping back from 5 to 12 - picking up a 2nd rounder from Miami in the process - works out very well for a team in a city where not much is going well lately.
- Tampa Bay: CB Xavier Rhodes-Is Ronde Barber the oldest CB since Darrell Green? While Tampa might think of a QB to replace Freeman if he has a 2011 type season, the QB run early in the round makes it probable that they can get a QB in the second or third to develop and get a year to know if Freeman is gone at the end of the season.
- Carolina: DT Sheldon Richardson-The Panthers need help at WR but the draft is seemingly deep at that position. Richardson represents both value and need.
- New Orleans: DT Star Lotulelei-The Saints thank the terrible QB situations around the league as they watched both Richardson and Lotulelei drop all the way to the mid teens.
- Oakland: S Kenny Vaccaro-The Raiders replace Michael Huff with a safety who will hopefully better live up to his first round billing. I suspect that Raider Nation would be ecstatic with this sort of scenario: Vaccaro plus two 2nds and a 3rd.
- Pittsburgh: OLB Barkevious Mingo-James Harrison's replacement?
- *Oakland: OG Jonathan Cooper-The Raiders ship the pair of second rounders they picked up in their multiple trade downs to Jerry Jones. They exit the first round with the top rated safety and second highest rated guard.
- New Jersey Giants: DE Ezekiel Ansah-The Giants have kept their defensive line well stocked and won a pair of Super Bowls as a direct result. With Ansah still on the board it's doubtful they'd even pick up the phone to listen to offers to trade down. One of those calls might have come from Buffalo.
- *Buffalo: WR Cordarrelle Patterson-Nix pulls a TJ Graham type trade, hopping up just a couple of slots to take a WR. It costs Buffalo just 23 and a 4th. As with the TJ Graham trade it is possible that Patterson would have been on the board for a couple of more picks-and if not him then Keenan Allen.
- Cincinnati: LB Alec Ogletree-The Bengals pass on Te'o, a player who disappointed both in pre draft workouts without even mentioning the whole fake girlfriend spectacle.
- St Louis: LB Manti Te'o-Jeff Fischer doesn't shy away from taking on players with baggage.
- Chicago: OT DJ Fluker-The Bears have a better chance of winning if they can keep Cutler from being planted every other play.
- *San Francisco: DE Datone Jones-The 49ers send picks 31, their second 3rd rounder and one of their 5th rounders to Indy, who started the day with just 4 picks. The 49ers pick up a DE who should help keep the heat on opposing QBs.
- Buffalo: QB Ryan Nassib-Buffalo treats the pick as, essentially, found money. The Bills take a shot on Marrone's college QB, figuring that they get to test drive him for a year before perhaps taking a more prototypical franchise QB in 2014 if he stinks up the joint.
Nix may not have been the top QB on Buffalo's board but he does have a chance to beat out Jackson and Kolb in the preseason. And he might become the franchise QB the team has sought for better than a decade. Ending the first round with perhaps the top WR on the board and a QB would be a nifty day's work.