General manager Brandon Beane has put his stamp on the Buffalo Bills. He has overhauled the roster with astonishing speed, jettisoning most of the players acquired by his predecessor. Some of the moves have been met with cheers and others with jeers. Most have elicited a combination.
It is universally agreed, that Beane’s biggest move (so far…) will define his tenure. This is true whether you believe that Josh Allen will finally bring an end to the seemingly eternal parade of substandard QBs or whether you are pretty sure you actually see the word “BUST” written on his forehead or even if you’re somewhere in the middle. A lot of digital ink has been spilled about the impact of the Josh Allen decision.
But what about the cost? Much of the talk about the cost of Beane’s trade up for Allen has centered on the players that Beane could have had with the picks he sent to Tampa Bay. There’s another angle to be considered, though, and that is the cost the Bills incurred to acquire those picks in the first place.
Josh Allen was drafted seventh overall, following a trade of picks 12, 53, and 56. Of those picks, only 53 was part of Buffalo’s draft allotment. The Bills had pick 21 but moved up to 12 by sending Cordy Glenn (and an exchange of late round picks) to Cincinnati. The Bills got pick 56 and a 1-year rental of cornerback EJ Gaines in exchange for one year of Sammy Watkins. Watkins, of course, had cost the Bills a pair of first round picks and a fourth round pick. To unpack all of that, the Bills effectively got Josh Allen for a first round pick, Cordy Glenn, and Sammy Watkins. To mix the Nix, Whaley, and Beane eras, the Bills got Josh Allen for a trio of first round picks (2014, 2015, 2018), a pair of second round picks (2012, 2018), and a fourth round pick (2015).
Put that way, ouch.
It is worth pointing out that Beane really couldn’t consider the cost the Bills had sunk into Watkins and Glenn. That said, the cost in draft picks to acquire Josh Allen demonstrates why the Bills have been so mediocre for so long. And that doesn’t even take into account the fact that Beane was attempting to trade up even higher than 7, which would have cost even more.
There hasn’t been nearly as much discussion about the trade up to get LB Tremaine Edmunds. The irony is that everything about the Edmunds selection is related to the quarterback situation. The Bills traded up from 22 to 16, giving the Ravens the top pick in the third round in the process. The Bills got that pick from Cleveland when the team shipped starting QB Tyrod Taylor to the Browns. Further, the Bills acquired pick 22 by trading down in 2017 when Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson were both on the board. To select Edmunds, the Bills used a first round pick, traded starter Tyrod Taylor, and passed on a pair of possible franchise QBs in the 2017 draft. In terms of draft picks, it really was just that first round choice. Taylor was a free agent when he came to Buffalo and the Bills clearly didn’t see either Mahomes or Watson as “the guy”.
Maybe that’s why the Edmunds trade didn’t involve Rumblings being littered with clumps of torn out hair.