There's an old saying that the rich get richer. It happens to be true. As it relates to Buffalo, in this mock, the 49ers sign Jairus Byrd to an offer sheet with a term that the Bills simply can't match. Perhaps the 49ers include a term that Byrd must be the highest paid member of the secondary while also pegging his salary (though not bonus money) a shade beneath what the Bills are paying Gilmore. Byrd punches his ticket to a Super Bowl caliber team. The 49ers replace Goldson while giving up little more than they received from Kansas City for Alex Smith-the pair of second rounders will be at the top of the respective drafts while the first rounders Buffalo receives will be at the bottom of the first rounds. In summary, Byrd goes to a contender, the 49ers use found money to get Byrd (the team would likely have cut Smith if they had no trade partners), and the Bills pick up 2 first rounders for a guy who could have held out. The league is happy because someone has finally poached a franchised player, undermining any collusion talk. Win-win-win-win. The only people who might grumble are the San Fran fans who worry that Byrd is another Whitner due to the shared taint of being former Bills.
Losing Byrd clears his franchise tag money off the books. The Bills could try to turn around and sign Levitre. However, even if Buffalo wanted to, by that point Levitre would have already signed a deal with someone else-one worked out well before the start of free agency officially began.
The good news for Bills fans is that the team has roughly $28 million to spend in the free agent market. The team dumps the money that would gone to Byrd (or Levitre) on Rinehart and McKelvin. The hope is that Rinehart can slide into Levitre's LG spot if the team can't get a guard capable of starting in the draft and that McKelvin can work as the 3rd CB along with his return duties. With the remaining $20ish million the team turns to Delanie Walker for help at TE, loses out on Bowe to KC (though who really got the worse end of that is debatable), signs G Donald Thomas from New England, are openly told by ILBs Brad Jones and Dannell Ellerbe that they prefer to play for less on better teams but do snag OLB Philip Wheeler from Oakland, and sign CB Keenan Lewis from Pittsburgh.
Heading into the draft the Bills have their picks, San Fran's #31, and have free agents TE Walker, G Rinehart, G Thomas, OLB Wheeler, CB McKelvin and CB Lewis in the fold.
- Chiefs: OT Luke Joeckel-This became a foregone conclusion the moment the Chiefs traded for QB Alex Smith.
- Jaguars: DE Dion Jordan-The Jaguars have needs everywhere and for some reason seem sold on Gabbert's unproven ability not to suck. Jordan should give the remaining Jacksonville fans something to cheer about and boost the lackluster sack numbers.
- Raiders: LB Jarvis Jones-He's got a world of talent and also a big question with his spinal condition. The Raiders have never been averse to taking risk with reward. Plus, the team lost a good OLB in free agency. Jones should help with Oakland's woeful sack numbers as well.
- Browns: QB Geno Smith-- The Eagles lost out on both 3-4 guys who look to be top 10 players and are only too happy to drop back to 6. Meanwhile, the Browns take their next QB of the future, shortly to be consigned to ‘bust status'.
- Lions: DE Bjoern Werner-The Lions cut Vanden Bosch and need a replacement. Werner should be able to get after the QB and is rated quite a bit more highly than the next 4-3 DE (Ansah).
- Eagles: CB Dee Milliner-Sharrif Floyd would be the pick if he were a 3-4 DE instead of a 4-3 DT. But he isn't. So there. Plus, the Eagles had what should have been a terrific secondary but which was in reality marginal.
- Rams: OT Eric Fisher-The Rams have to get Bradford some time to throw the ball. St Louis doesn't want to wait for Fisher and Johnson to come off the board and make a move with Arizona.
The Bills are on the clock. With a pick at the end of the first round and another early in the second, the team has already filled some needs at CB, TE, G and OLB. Since Nix doesn't believe in maximizing the value of his first round pick it's a good bet that he pulls the trigger on one of:
- DT Sharrif Floyd, never mind that Buffalo has Williams and Dareus. Maybe Nix will choose to stack talent like he's prattled on about
- OT Lane Johnson, a luxury pick but no more so than Floyd would be
- G Chance Warmack, with a free agent guard and Rinehart re-signed this seems unlikely but, again, Nix could say he was stacking talent
- OLB Barkevious Mingo, Buffalo added one OLB in this free agency but the LB was so terrible that another wouldn't hurt
- S Kenny Vaccaro, maybe Nix doesn't want to try Aaron Williams at safety and we'll instead see him get the Fitz treatment-starter role with no competition
- CB Xavier Rhodes, doesn't seem likely if the Bills get a free agent CB and re-sign McKelvin.
- WR Cordarrelle Patterson, he's big and has boom-or-bust written all over him
It says something about the draft class that seven different guys make sense at #8 in terms of value. There are no QBs on the list because I think Nix will stay true to the board at #8 and, in this scenario, take a QB at the end of the 1st or early in the 2nd. Of the seven listed, which do you prefer at #8?