Three weeks after engaging in rank speculation regarding the future of Marcell Dareus comes word that the Buffalo Bills shopped the defensive tackle in the offseason. It is worth pointing out that the “word” is coming from Jason La Canfora, a man who isn’t seen by Bills fans as being the most reliable of sources. That acknowledged, with the trade deadline – 4 pm New York time on Halloween – rapidly approaching, the possibility of trading Dareus is worth revisiting.
One part of the La Canfora story that certainly rings true is that the Bills weren’t met with an overabundance of interest from other teams. That’s easy to understand. Dareus had a couple of legal entanglements in 2014, was suspended in 2015 for 1 game, and was suspended again for 4 games in 2016. That history alone would give a team pause before committing resources to a trade (picks and/or players) and cap space for Dareus’ contract. Dareus will be suspended for 10 games if he is caught with marijuana in his system again.
But that’s not all of it. Since posting 10 sacks, 35 tackles, and 14 assists in 16 games during 2014, Dareus has just 6.5 sacks, 66 tackles and 32 assists in his 28 games since Jim Schwartz was shown the door. Even more worrisome is the widespread belief that Dareus didn’t buy into either of the past two defensive schemes. Some teams, like Buffalo, aren’t willing to take on talented but troubled players. Others are.
Seattle traded for Marshawn Lynch when Lynch was one stupid move from a lengthy suspension. Seattle has the 17th-ranked run defense. Seattle runs the 4-3 defense that Dareus found so agreeable in 2014 but also traded for Sheldon Richardson. The Seahawks have almost no cap space, so it makes the move difficult.
Oakland, and their 19th-ranked rush defense, will be in Buffalo just before the trade deadline and could take Dareus home on their flight. CB Sean Smith has been a part-time player for the Raiders, has the size McDermott likes, and has played about 43% of Oakland’s defensive snaps. Like Dareus, Smith’s production hasn’t been equal to his cap hit. Could the Bills and Raiders look to help each other out with their mega-deal misfires?
Kansas City is 25th against the run, in part due to the departure of Dontari Poe. Andy Reid has shown that he’s willing to put up with divas so long as those divas produce more than headaches. The team doesn’t, however, run the 4-3. Ditto for the Indianapolis Colts and their 26th-ranked rush defense - never mind that their owner is prone to making stupid personnel moves. The Packers don’t splurge on guys like Dareus and certainly not when their season is circling the drain due to the injury to Aaron Rodgers. The Chargers are 31st at stopping the run but the head coach, Anthony Lynn, knows Dareus perhaps a bit too well.
The only remaining suspect is Jacksonville, currently 30th in the league at stopping the run. The team runs the 4-3 and, unlike Lynn, head coach Doug Marrone probably has good memories of Dareus. The Jaguars have cap space to absorb Dareus’ contract. They also have former Bills linebacker Paul Posluszny, an older player who could, amazingly, prove to be an upgrade to Buffalo’s LB unit on passing downs.
With a trade to one of the most likely teams listed above (Oakland, Jacksonville), it seems unlikely that the Bills would get much beyond a player-for-player deal. While Bills fans might not like the lack of value, how much is Marcell Dareus worth sitting on the bench?