Under first-year head coach Sean McDermott, the Buffalo Bills have done an about-face when it comes to dealing with talented but troubled players. No one more typifies that culture change than Marcell Dareus, the former first-round draft pick who has under-performed through the first six games of the 2017 season.
According to a report published by CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, McDermott and first-year general manager Brandon Beane grew so tired of Dareus’ act — which included a dismissal from the team prior to the Bills’ Week 3 preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, reportedly for being so late that other members of the team were already on the field stretching — that the team contemplated dealing Dareus prior to the September roster cut-downs.
The money still owed Dareus (his $16.1 million salary for 2017 is fully guaranteed as is $7.35 million in 2018, $8.335 million in 2019 salary, $12.35 million in 2020, and $12.4 million in 2021) was a major roadblock to a Dareus deal, according to La Canfora’s source.
“The Bills remain quite open to moving the former first-round pick if at all possible,” La Canfora’s sources said.
With the NFL trade deadline fast approaching (Oct. 30), there’s still a chance the Bills could move on from Dareus, especially if they absorb the cap penalties. Unlike his predecessor, Rex Ryan, who embraced his role as a players’ coach, McDermott has demonstrated that the only factors that matter when judging a player’s future in Buffalo are his performance and his work ethic.
Dareus has indeed failed to meet the lofty expectations of a player selected third overall in the 2011 NFL draft (behind former NFL MVP Cam Newton and Von Miller, MVP of Super Bowl 50). He began his Buffalo career in dominant fashion, logging 28.5 sacks through his first four seasons in Orchard Park.
Following the quick start to his Bills career, including a 10-sack 2014 season that earned First-Team All-Pro honors from the NFL, Dareus has managed only 6.5 sacks in his last 28 games.
Dareus, the team’s highest-paid defensive player, has now been in on eight tackles with one sack through five games in 2017. During Sunday’s 30-27 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dareus enjoyed his most productive stat line of the season, having a hand in five tackles while appearing in 57 percent of the team’s snaps on the defensive line.