Alright guys, you asked for it, and back by popular demand, it's the Buffalo Rumblings Offseason Plan [BROP] competition! For those of you wondering just what that is, here's the scoop:
Since we as Bills fans are infinitely more qualified to run a team than Doug Whaley and Buddy Nix, this is our chance to prove it by playing GM! Those who wish to compete assemble a written plan for the offseason, from front office/coaching moves, to free agent signings, right up through draft choices!
This event is going to begin in one week (following the conclusion of the NFL Scouting Combine) on Wednesday February 26th at 00:00!
Entries will be accepted until 23:59 (11:59 PM) on Tuesday, March 4th!
After one day of additional voting, finalists will be chosen and final voting will occur on the ensuing weekend of March 7th.
So how does this work? Let's break down the rules:
[A] The Rules
You called up Buddy Nix and told him it was Doug Whaley speaking and you forgot your key to the office. Buddy slips his spare key under the doormat at One Bills Drive, and now you're in. As the new acting General Manager of the team, you are tasked with making whatever moves in the front office, coaching staff, or roster that make this the best team possible. You could define "best team" however you wish, whether it means a guaranteed year of playoffs or setting up for a stretch run a year or two down the road. Of course, ultimately you have to answer to the fans, and they will give you an approval rating that determines if you were successful or not.
To enter this contest, between the start of competition on February 26th and the end of the entry period March 4th, write and publish a FanPost detailing your mock offseason which fits the template described in section C of this FanPost. Your Offseason Plan needs to conform to Buffalo's Adjusted Salary Cap of $149.8 million for the 2014 season (which has $127.9 million committed between current contracts and the cost of a rookie draft class, leaving $21.9 million in space). Feel free to vote on any other entry you see. And that's it! Finalists will be automatically chosen based on the overall approval ratings at the end of each offseason plan.
[B] The Judging
The winner of this competition will be chosen by you, the fans! Since we as fans know what is best for this team, it's only fair that we are the only proper judges of our peers.
Entries will be graded by members of the community by voting in a poll at the bottom of each fanpost. The grades will follow a GPA system, with possible choices of A,B,C,D, and F. The score will be weighted based on how many of each letter the entry receives.
After the grading period is over, I will take the five entries with the highest cumulative GPA as finalists and create one final fanpost breaking down each one. There will be a final poll at the bottom allowing the community to vote on their favorite finalist - whoever gets the most votes is the winner!
[C] The Template
In order to have reasonable consistency between all submissions and to make it easy to choose finalists, I'm asking everyone who makes a submission to follow these rules:
- Post your entry as a fanpost with "BROP" (Buffalo Rumblings Offseason Plan) in the title somewhere. You can put it in brackets, or do whatever, but I need to see it so I can easily identify it as a valid entry.
- Include a poll at the bottom of your fanpost with the following answer choices: [A,B,C,D,F]. This poll is used to determine the community's overall opinion of your Offseason Plan, which decides the finalists.
- Within your fanpost, please include the following sections. This is a suggestion, not a requirement, but it makes reading the plan and comparing it to other teams easier. I encourage you to be creative and include as many animated GIFs or MSPaint drawings as your heart desires, but do try to structure the plan efficiently:
- End of season review/Strategy summary
Break down the general strategy of this plan. What was your opinion of the last season's results? Are you trying to make the playoffs? Clean house and prepare a new regime? Build up the team for a playoff run the following season? What's your plan of attack?
- Front Office and Coaching Staff
If you plan to make any changes to the staff, Explain it here. That includes changes with scouts, coaches, assistant coaches, etc. I'll even let you fire Russ Brandon if you want, but only if you're sneaky about it (hint - hide the pink slip with the Jairus Byrd franchise tag paperwork)!
- Buffalo's Players
For all the UFA's, RFA's, and ERFA's that Buffalo has, break down if you plan to re-sign them or let them walk. Or, hell, if you plan to tag and trade them. If you're re-signing them, keep in mind the set costs (RFA's and ERFA's) or the market value (for players like Byrd and Chandler). This is also where you could trade or cut other players currently under contract with Buffalo, for cap savings or maybe just because they need a new alarm clock. It's your plan!
- Other players
If you plan to acquire players through free agency or other teams, walk through it here. Detail any free agents you sign and their contracts, or any trades you might make to acquire new players.
- The Draft
Break down your draft strategy here! Mock the first set of picks, then go through each Buffalo pick in order selecting the college player that best fits the team you want to build! If you plan to make trades during the draft, go over them as well.
- Post Draft Moves (OPTIONAL)
If there are any players you don't expect to be drafted (consensus ranking at 250 or worse), and you'd like to see them as your UDFA group, you could talk about them here. Maybe there's a player you weren't gonna cut immediately, but you are okay cutting after the draft. Cut them here. If you have any other plans that I can't think of (Exhibition game in the Carrier Dome during OTA's!) feel free to list them here.
Finally, break down your Offseason Plan. Walk us through the moves you made, the overall cost, and what the depth chart looks like. Give us a prediction for next season, or a couple years down the line. Make your case for why this is the best Bills team one could make.
[D] Player values, cap numbers, and resources to get you started
To help achieve some semblance of similarity between plans, I'd like to try and set a few baselines for things like trade value and contract value, especially for a few of the hot-button names that have come up recently. In addition, I want to give you guys access to enough resources to put together well-researched plans. So let's go over some stuff.
 Player Trade Value
If you wish to trade one of these three hot button players, I've broken down their value in a way I think is decently fair and reasonable. Please try to stick to these value estimations when doing your trade scenarios. If you think of another player, try to keep their value to a realistic level by comparing the player to a past trade.
Jairus Byrd Tag and Trade:
Richard Seymour was traded to the Raiders in his last contract year for a first round pick. If Byrd is tagged, signs his tender, and helps choose his destination, he’ll be viewed favorably as a long term option, and get a good return. As a top-tier safety, he is valued between 700 and 800 points on the trade value chart, slotting at a pick between 21 and 26 overall, or a package of smaller picks.
Stevie Johnson Trade:
As an above average starting wideout on a relatively team-friendly contract, Johnson could attract a good amount of attention from teams looking for his ability to get open against any defender. The downturn last season with his nagging injury issues (plus the eccentric behavior) drops his value to between 250 and 350 (a late second round or early third round pick).
It should be noted that, as a player under contract, Stevie Johnson's remaining prorated bonus (worth $5.65 million) will be charged to Buffalo's cap space if he is traded.
Jerry Hughes Trade:
Hughes is a former first round pick who had a breakout season this past year, reaching the 10 sack plateau. He’s in the last year of his rookie contract, which is relatively team friendly at $4 million. Him having shown renewed focus this past year, teams may be eager to pick up a young pass rusher and make him a starter, especially if Buffalo is moving away from the 3-4. But the single year of contract doesn’t help him. As a promising young pass rusher with a good resume, Hughes measures in with value between 300 and 400, a mid to late second round pick.
Jerry Hughes is still under contract, but he has no prorated bonus, so there are no additional costs for trading him.
 Player Cap Hits
Here's a quick reference for some of the more noteworthy contracts in this offseason. For a more detailed breakdown, check out www.overthecap.com.
|Jairus Byrd (Franchise Tag)||$8.3 million|
|Mario Williams (regular cap hit)||$10.6 million|
|Mario Williams (bonus becomes a signing bonus)||$2.6 million|
|Mario Williams (released)||$1 million savings ($17.8 million in dead money later)|
|Kevin Kolb (cut)||$3.1 million savings|
|Kevin Kolb (cut after the draft)||$2.1 million savings|
|Erik Pears (cut)||$2.9 million savings|
|Erik Pears (cut after the draft)||$2.75 million savings|
|Doug Legursky (cut)||$1 million savings|
|Doug Legursky (cut after the draft)||$0.85 million savings|
 Free Agents
Here's a breakdown of Buffalo's free agent class of 2014:
An Exclusive Rights Free Agent may only negotiate with the Bills and only for the 3-year veteran minimum salary ($0.63 million). If the Bills elect not to offer him the salary, he becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent.
A Restricted Free Agent may be tendered an offer in a tier based on the team's estimated value of the player, with a higher tier representing draft pick compensation and a higher salary. If Mike Caussin and Thomas Welch were to be offered the baseline RFA tender, the team would receive no compensation if the player left for a different team's contract, due to their UDFA draft status. The cost for the baseline RFA tender would be $1.26 million for one year.
An Unrestricted Free Agent may be negotiated with for a few days before reaching free agency, at which point they may negotiate with any other team.
 Draft Pick Value
This chart, from DraftCountdown.com, sets up the values of each pick as we know some teams to estimate them. It is useful for assembling a draft pick trade. When trading up, the package of picks being offered should exceed the package of picks being received by about 0- 5%. For example, if a team wished to trade up from #5 overall to #4 overall, adding in the 101st overall pick (worth 96 points) and the 133rd pick (worth 39.5 points) for a total value of 1835.5 against 1800 for the value of the 4th overall pick.
|Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4||Round 5||Round 6||Round 7|
 Draft Information
Looking for good resources for guys to draft?
Someone at NinersNation assembled a list that finds the consensus rankings of over 400 players eligible for this year's draft. This is a great place to get started with picking names out of the crowd, especially as you move into the lower rounds.
If you're looking for scouting reports, prospect rankings, or film to watch, here are some good sites to check out:
www.draftbreakdown.com --Film cutups of hundreds of draft eligible players, allowing you to see their good and bad plays.
www.mockingthedraft.com --SB Nation's own draft headquarters, assembling draft analysis and news from across the web. Has a great community of regulars.
www.fanaticalyankee.com --A very eccentric, but very interesting draft analyst. If you can get past his odd verbiage, he has plenty of unique (and often spot-on) opinions about the players he sees in his scouting.
There are hundreds of other sites out there which investigate players, including the aggregates like ESPN, CBS Sports, NFL Network, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! There is no shortage of opinion on a player once you know who you're looking for.
Buffalo's draft picks are as follows (and the full draft order can be found here):
First Round: #9 overall (1350 points)
Second Round: #41 overall (490 points)
Third Round: #73 overall (225 points)
Fourth Round: #105 overall (84 points)
Fifth Round: #137 overall (37.5 points)
Sixth Round: #169 overall (23.8 points)
Seventh Round: #201 overall (11 points)
 A Salary Cap Reminder
The Salary cap (adjusted) for Buffalo is $149.8 million. After factoring in money currently committed to the cap and the estimated cost of rookie salaries, the cap space that Buffalo has to begin with is $21.9 million. Any moves the Bills make must fit within that space!
[E] In Conclusion
You have a week to plan before the entry window opens, so get started on those ideas! If you have any questions or I need to clarify something, please use the comments section to let me know. I hope you are all as excited as I am for the second year of this event!