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Billieve Podcast: 2019 NFL Combine, John Ross trade, Shaq Lawson

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Breaking down the NFL Combine, John Ross trade rumors, Shaq Lawson’s future, and more.

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On the latest edition of Billieve: A Buffalo Bills Fan Podcast, host John Boccacino is joined by co-host Anthony Marino to talk NFL Combine, discuss a potential trade for a wide receiver not named Antonio Brown, break down the future of DE Shaq Lawson, and address an important vacancy on the Buffalo Bills heading into the 2019 season that no one is talking about.

The NFL Combine is in full swing in Indianapolis, with the NFL Network providing around-the-clock coverage of college standouts running the 40-yard dash, lifting weights, documenting their height and weight, and measuring their hand size. It is also the scene where coaches set up private meetings with the members of the Class of 2019 NFL Draft to get to know them and figure out if they fit into the team’s draft plans.

After offering up their thoughts on the Combine, Boccacino and Marino turned to trade talks, specifically for speedster and former Combine star John Ross, whom the Cincinnati Bengals tabbed with the ninth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Ross reportedly is on the trading block, and GM Brandon Beane should definitely investigate ways to acquire Ross, who despite battling an assortment of injuries would still hold value in Buffalo’s offense opposite wide receiver Robert Foster on the outside.

Ross, who ran the fastest 40 time at the combine (4.22 seconds) appeared in 16 games (11 starts) for the Bengals, catching 21-of-60 targets for 210 yards and seven touchdowns in his first two seasons.

Another hot-button topic on the podcast: the future of Lawson. Buffalo must decide what to do with Lawson’s fifth-year option. The team hasn’t exercised a fifth-year option since 2015 when it picked up cornerback Stephon Gilmore’s option. Should Beane deal the emerging edge rusher for a second- or third-round pick rather than open up the checkbook and pick up his option?

Lawson was the 16th pick of the 2016 Draft. If the Bills exercise his option, he would play the 2019 season under the terms of his original contract (his cap hit will be $3.27 million), then be paid in 2020 what the average of the third through 25 top salaries at his position was in 2019.

If the Bills give Lawson the fifth year, his salary would likely fall in the range of $10-$11 million for the 2020 season. Lawson took a step forward last year, splitting time at left defensive end with Trent Murphy and finishing with four sacks, 30 tackles 11 QB hits, six pass breakups, and two forced fumbles.

Marino seemed comfortable dealing Lawson for a third rounder in the 2019 Draft, while it would take a second rounder for Boccacino to move on from Lawson, and even then, he feels that might not be worth a trade.

Lastly, our podcasters shared the news that the Bills have a job opening heading into the season: they are seeking a passionate fan to play the role of Billy Buffalo, the team’s mascot, at home games and events in the community.

What do you think, Bills fans? Should Buffalo make a deal with Cincinnati for John Ross? How about Shaq Lawson, would you deal him for a 2nd/3rd round pick or pick up his fifth-year extension? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section, and check out our podcast for thoughts on these topics and more on the latest Billieve: A Buffalo Bills Fan Podcast.

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