The Buffalo Bills currently hold two first round picks, number 12 and 22 overall. This we know. What we also know, or at least assume, is that the Bills are very interested in adding a rookie quarterback in the early part of the draft. With the New York Jets acquiring the 3rd overall selection, it appears that Buffalo will have to trade up even further in order to secure their signal-caller of choice for the future.
Although the team is armed with plenty of draft capital, holding six selections in the first 96 picks of the draft (12, 22, 53, 56, 65, and 96), another possibility in attempting to trade up involves dealing a veteran player along with draft picks. Buffalo has already made use of this strategy in moving from pick number 21 to pick 12, sending left tackle Cordy Glenn to the Cincinnati Bengals as part of the package to acquire the 12th selection. Could the Bills look to do so again? And if they do, which players would appear to be unlikely to be dealt in trade talks?
A quick disclaimer about the list—I obviously can’t list everyone, but I’ve decided to lump the players into different groups. Some recent acquisitions (defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, for example), make no sense due to the enormous signing bonus given as part of the player’s contract. Rather than spend a ton of time discussing players like that, I chose to focus on the ones who make little sense to remove from the roster.
On to the list!
WR Kelvin Benjamin
In a group already devoid of NFL experience and overall talent, using the presumed number one receiver to trade up for a quarterback would not be a wise decision. Without Benjamin, the Bills have a receiving corps headed by Zay Jones and Andre Holmes, with Kaelin Clay and Rod Streater the only other players who have even registered an NFL statistic. This group needs additions, not subtractions. It would make no sense to deal Benjamin. The argument could be made, of course, that it made little sense to deal Sammy Watkins last season, but the team at least went ahead and acquired Jordan Matthews, who the coaching staff felt was a better fit for their system, in a separate trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. Trading Benjamin is far less likely to happen, and he should be untouchable in talks to move up in the draft.
The starting secondary
Safety Micah Hyde is named in the headline, but let’s be realistic—the entire starting secondary isn’t going anywhere in a trade. Hyde and his counterpart at free safety, Jordan Poyer, combine for one of the better safety duos in the NFL. Tre’Davious White enters his second year after completing a phenomenal rookie season, and the team signed free agent Vontae Davis to a lucrative one-year deal to start across from White. Davis would be the most likely of the four players to be traded, as his one-year deal would only leave the Bills with a dead cap hit of $1.5 million, but doing so would not make much sense from a talent standpoint.
QB A.J. McCarron
This seems fairly obvious, but it’s not as if his situation on Buffalo’s roster is set in stone long-term. McCarron was signed as the veteran quarterback to presumably serve as a “bridge” to allow whichever rookie the team drafts to prepare for a long run of dominance. It would seem foolish to burn that bridge before even crossing it, but it isn’t unprecedented—the Cleveland Browns acquired Brock Osweiler last season via trade, only to release him prior to the beginning of the season in order to start rookie DeShone Kizer...whom they have since traded to the Green Bay Packers prior to the start of his second season. Okay, maybe Buffalo shouldn’t emulate Cleveland with regard to their quarterback decisions.
TE Charles Clay
It’s all about the Benjamins, here. Trading Clay would lead to a $9 million dead cap charge. If Clay is on Buffalo’s roster, he’ll count the same $9 million against the cap. Why trade a productive, if overpaid, tight end when he’s the most dynamic play maker in the position group? This would be a classic instance of creating holes where one doesn’t already exist. Also, I find it hard to believe that a soon-to-be 30-year old tight end would be the piece that swayed another GM into making a huge draft pick trade with Buffalo.
LT Dion Dawkins
Buffalo just traded its franchise left tackle in order to pave the way for the younger and far less expensive Dawkins to assume the starting role. It would be shocking if he were moved one year after the Bills moved up in the draft to select him, especially given the lack of options on the current roster to replace him.
- LeSean McCoy—no 30-year old running back is untouchable, and most won’t move the needle enough in trade talks to warrant much consideration, either. Shady probably isn’t going anywhere, but I wouldn’t be surprised if his name comes up in discussions.
- Richie Incognito—He just took a pay cut to stay in Buffalo.
- Kyle Williams—Duh.