FanPost

A Dynamic BROP

So I decided to put aside some articles and stadium/highway designs that I’ve been working on – Don’t worry, Our Mock 2.0 is still rolling – in order to put together the best possible (last minute) BROP out there. Actually, elements of what I had planned to discuss tied-in so I thought why not put forth my ideas now. While my personal friend Doug Whaley is trying to get this Byrd situation in line, he gave me free reign of the office to help turn around the franchise. Assuming I have some leeway with our cap and draft, here’s my plan.

I. End of Season Review

Based on the 2013 season, a lot hinges on the successful development and good health of QB E.J. Manuel. We don’t need him to be a top 5 QB, but he needs to be more consistent and aware to sustain drives. He has good tools, but they need honing and the coaching additions offensively should help with that honing. Offensively, the Bills would do well to upgrade a few blockers and add some big receiving threats. That puts the onus on E.J.; if he fails, we can draft an early QB next year as the draft class could be quite strong in that area between Mariota, Winston, Hundley and Petty.

Defensively, the Bills took a huge step in the right direction for the most part. We actually had a top-10 overall defense in several areas thanks in large part to 57 sacks. Schwartz should be able to keep up a similar pace with the pass rushing, but the big areas in need of improvement are run defense and 3rd down defense. If the Bills can limit the damaging run plays more consistently by bringing in another interior linebacker, we should be more sound against the ground.

2013 was disappointing being that it marked the 14th season in a row without a playoff berth. But this was a step in the right direction. Injuries and inexperience were the main problems. What was improved was the mentality to hang in games and to be aggressive. That has not been seen in several years and energy is something the Bills need to push through the pain and history to become a better team.

II. Front Office Moves

The Dougs have already made most of their moves already. On the plus side we seem to have an aggressive new DC with Mike Schwartz and the offense is getting additional help as well. Unfortunately Danny Crossman appears to be staying much to my chagrin, but his job will be on the hot seat if there are no improvements from last season.

One coaching addition is bringing in Steelers assistant Jerry Olsavsky as the new assistant LB coach. If you look at our coaching chart, it’s the one slot defensively that we are lacking. It’s not necessarily the position Jerry was looking for, but he could in turn help coach one LB group while Fred Pagac takes the other. Olsavsky would in turn help bestow the knowledge that Dick Lebeau has used to hone a solid Steelers defense.

We need to make the front office into a conduit for the Dougs; clearly the Wilson traditions have failed in the last decade and the Bills players always seem to be hurting more than other teams. You have had a nice run, Bud Carpenter, but we could do well in bringing in a new head trainer. Additionally, team president Russ Brandon needs to instruct "the old guard" to listen to Whaley & Marrone in order to convince better players to sign with us.

III. Bills Players

It saddens me, but Byrd seems set to leave Buffalo despite a hefty 3 year offer. This hurts us, but it would hurt more to let him walk for nothing especially with reports that Cleveland seems to have some interest in him. I’m no idiot Whaley! My solution: use of a non-exclusive tag. The Bills can retain Byrd on an $8.4 million tag for the season, BUT this leaves him free to negotiate elsewhere. Cleveland will come knocking and take Byrd off our hands, but they in turn give us 2 first round picks, likely delayed for the 2015 & 2016 draft. It does not help us immediately, but we’re in for a long haul rebuild given future free agents.

However, what I propose, we could remove the tag in time for Cleveland to take Byrd without any initial salary hitch, in return for their 26th overall pick this year. Top safeties tagged are valued in the low 20’s and if Byrd is really getting this much hype, it could yield an additional pick for the Bills as well especially if a bidding war begins.

Meanwhile, I do think we will re-sign K Dan Carpenter and TE Scott Chandler to short term, mid-range contracts. Both had good 2013 campaigns with us. Carpenter could be in for a 2 yr - $1 million per year deal (face it, you don’t just let kickers with his accuracy go after a season like his); Chandler a bit pricier at 2 years - $3.27 million a year. In addition, I do think we can afford to retain Arthur Moats, at worse he can be a decent backup who has great ties with the community which is important in maintaining a good relation with the fans. Moats gets a one year, veteran minimum ($730,000) in which he can battle out for a spot in training camp. This is a total of $5 million spent re-signing players. Note if Chandler goes, we can target another FA TE like Pettigrew or Finley.

Bills FA’s let go include Alex Carrington (unless the Bills plan on using 3-4 DEs somewhat regularly) although he could be a late re-sign candidate due to teams passing on him due to his past injuries. Leonhard, Welch, Caussin… are all gone and while the Bills could put in a deal for FB Frank Summers, we could probably get someone as able in free agency after the draft.

I plan to offset the cost of my re-signings by cutting Doug Legursky (before the draft – $1 million savings), Kevin Kolb (before the draft - $3.1 million savings) and Erik Pears (after the draft - $2.75 million savings). Note I am saving Pears for later given the uncertainty of Hairston, bringing in a veteran tackle or a solid draft prospect. That’s a total of $6.85 million in savings. Factor out the re-signs I have an additional $1.85 million to play with and that will be used towards that to sign that 26th overall pick from Cleveland. (I also leave a note to consider long-term contracts with the likes of Dareus, A. Williams, Spiller, Jackson or Hughes for Doug Whaley.)

IV. Other Free Agents

Now, the draft can only do so much; experience plays a factor with any team and there are certain areas where we could use some. I spent $11.7 million with another $10 million in reserve for future re-signings of current Bills players or for a tackle if we opt to not take one in the draft.

LB Karlos Dansby – the 32 year old vet from the Cardinals came off of a solid year, and while some teams may be worried about his age, the Bills could use a solid mentor for Kiko and allow #50 to move to the weakside. Dansby may not be on the field 100% of the time, but Kiko can sub in the middle and Dansby does well against the run and pass. Cost is a bit high, but that’s what happens when you get a middle LB; 2 year - $5.5 million per year.

CB Jabrari Greer – the Bills could use some veteran depth and Greer has had a good history with the Bills before. His best days are behind after some injuries with the Saints, but he could easily split time at nickel with Robey and man as a starter in case of injury. Cost again a bit high, but not prohibitive with a 1 year - $3 million deal ($1 million guaranteed).

DE Willie Young – a Lions DE, Young has had his ups and downs, but put together an OK season last year with 3 sacks. He is not a pass rush specialist, but is fairly solid against the run. He could complement Jerry Hughes fairly well. Cost 3 years – $1.7 million per year deal. I tried to bring in Jared Allen, but five million dollars minimum was a little hard to come by.

RB Toby Gerhart – the Bills get a young, able backup bruiser of a back and not breaking the bank. Cost 2 year - $1.5 million per year. If not, the Bills could target Bradshaw, Starks or Leonhard. I don’t think the Pats will keep Blount out for dibs for long.

V. The Draft

A lot hinges on how Marrone feels some younger talents could do in 2014 and I am going to have some fun with this. First off, there are 6 players absolutely gone by the Bills pick (Bortles, Manziel, Bridgewater, Robinson, Clowney and Mack). Two spots could take Matthews and Watkins out of the mix as well.

1 - WR Mike Evans – Texas A&M: alt picks OT Taylor Lewan, LB C.J. Mosley
The Bills would do well with a tall WR outside and FA depth is small.

1 - FS Calvin Pryor – Louisville: alt picks TE A. Seferian-Jenkins, OT Cyrus Kouandjio
The Bills get a somewhat cheap long term solution and solidify the secondary.

2 - OG Gabe Jackson – Miss St: alt picks DE Trent Murphy, WR Jordan Matthews
Finally, a solid guard to take off where Levitre left except he’s bigger!

3 - OT JuWaun James – Tennessee: alt picks OT Billy Turner, LB Shayne Skov
James did well at RT and has good measurements – competes for starter.

4 – DE Chris Smith – Arkansas: alt picks OG Anthony Steen, TE Arthur Lynch
I swear I’m not only targeting the SEC; you can never have enough DEs.

5 – TE Crockett Gilmore – Colorado St: alt picks DB Aaron Colvin, WR Devin Street
Bills get a TE with upside to backup Chandler or whoever starts.

6 – FB Jay Prosch – Auburn: alt picks P Tom Hornsey, HB Henry Josey
We get a FB and a special teamer; Prosch should’ve been at the combine.

7 – QB Keith Wenning – Ball St: alt picks OG Justin Britt, TE Colt Lyerla
Backup QB familiar with colder weather should Manuel struggle…

7(s) – P Pat O’Donnell – Miami: alt picks HB Antonio Andrews, DE Ben Gardner
Moorman’s successor to be, really any best punter available will do.

Not perfect, but heck when is a draft ever… what we get are big players ready to rumble in the snow. Remember we still have some extra spending money so we could grab a veteran at any position. Oh you note I added a supplemental seventh for losing Levitre last year; should that not appear, we grab the best UDFA punter out there.

VI. Post Draft Moves

Keeping this short although I could go on and on…

Add WR Neutz – Buffalo, OL Gabe Ikard – Oklahoma, HB Jerome Smith – Syracuse, HB David Fluellen – Toledo, OL Matt Hall – Belhaven, DB Brandon Dixon – NW Missouri St, LB Steele Divitto – Boston College

VII. Outlook

Here’s your new depth chart heading into the season…

POSITION

Starter

Backup

Reserve

QB

EJ Manuel

Thad Lewis

Keith Wenning

RB

CJ Spiller

Fred Jackson

Toby Gerhart

FB

Jay Prosch

TE

Scott Chandler

Crockett Gilmore

Tony Moeaki

WR1

Mike Evans

Stevie Johnson

T.J. Graham

LT

Cordy Glenn

LG

Gabe Jackson

Mark Asper

C

Eric Wood

Gabe Ikard

RG

Kraig Urbik

J.J. 'Unga

RT

JuWuan James

Chris Hairston

WR2

Robert Woods

Marquise Goodwin

Marcus Easley

DE1

Mario Williams

Jerry Hughes

Corbin Bryant

DT1

Kyle Williams

Stefan Charles

DT2

Marcell Dareus

Alan Branch

DE2

Willie Young

Chris Smith

WLB

Kiko Alonso

Nigel Bradham

MLB

Karlos Dansby

Arthur Moats

SLB

Manny Lawson

Ty Powell

CB1

Stephon Gilmore

Jabari Greer

Ron Brooks

SS

Aaron Williams

Da'Norris Searcy

Jonathan Meeks

FS

Calvin Pryor

Duke Williams

CB2

Leodis McKelvin

Nickell Robey

K

Dustin Hopkins

P

Pat O'Donnell

LS

Garrison Sanborn

All-in-all, the Bills have added 14 new faces and 6 new starters in the fold. The defense gains a few solid run defenders while the offense gains a big receiver and some help on the O-Line to allow E.J. to succeed. The Bills could keep 2 kickers on the roster (I know, many of you will view it as a waste), but I figure, if a 6th corner or LB emerges from the shadows, Marrone will make a decision to give a kicker to boot.

Meanwhile, the Bills finish the season 10-6. We lose to the Pats (once only!), Broncos, Bears, Jets (once), Packers and Chargers. However, we pull of wins against the Phish (twice), Jets, Patriots, Chiefs, Vikings, Browns, Raiders, Lions and Texans. E.J. still struggles here and there but throws for 2,900 yards and 25 TDs while Spiller runs over 1,000 yards with Fred close on his heels. The Bills finish with 50+ sacks again, but finish in the top half of all defensive categories as well.

Go Bills!

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

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