The Buffalo Bills and general manager Brandon Beane are slated to make their first pick at No. 54 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. In his tenure with Buffalo, Beane has made a plethora of trades involving draft picks, so it’s not only possible the Bills will pick somewhere other than No. 54, but it’s probable.
If the Bills were to make another move in this year’s draft, there’s a chance that it will take some players in addition to draft picks in order to make it happen. Buffalo has a few clear places of strength on the roster, and given Beane’s history of trading from surplus areas to acquire draft capital, there’s a reasonably good chance that he will do it again.
If Buffalo is going to trade a player to move up in the draft, here are a few candidates to serve as the bait.
T Ty Nsekhe
The veteran was part of a timeshare at right tackle last year, but he was injured during Week 11 against the Miami Dolphins, allowing the other half of that timeshare, Cody Ford, to take all of the snaps. In that time, Ford acquitted himself fairly well. The Bills clearly see Ford as the right tackle of the future, as they devoted a high second-round pick to him last year (No. 38 overall, acquired via trade-up). Buffalo also added Darryl Williams, whose best season came in 2017 when he played exclusively at right tackle, via free agency. Buffalo has great depth here, and given the lack of solid offensive linemen around the league, a trade to help another area of the club wouldn’t be surprising.
Dead money: $1.5 million
G/C Spencer Long
See comment above regarding offensive line depth. Long is a luxury for the Bills—a $3 million insurance policy that may be unnecessary given the amount of depth the club has up front. Buffalo’s starting interior line group of Quinton Spain, Mitch Morse, and Jon Feliciano is very solid, and the Bills have Williams and Ford available to kick inside at guard in the event of an injury to one of those three. If Buffalo wants to deal an offensive lineman and can’t find a suitor for Nsekhe, they could instead choose to deal Long and roll with a different combination of versatile linemen on game days.
Dead money: $700,000
DE Trent Murphy
It’s unlikely thanks to his massive salary cap number, but Murphy is another player who could find himself on the trading block depending on Buffalo’s draft choices. The Bills need some younger players on the edge, as Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison are on the wrong side of 30 and Murphy isn’t far behind. Dealing Murphy in a package that includes draft picks could allow the Bills to move up to pick his replacement. It might not seem to be the most efficient use of resources, but it would certainly be better than straight releasing the 29 year old, which is a distinct possibility given his production (nine sacks in two years with Buffalo) versus his contract ($9.775 million cap hit in 2020).
Dead money: $1.75 million
WR Cole Beasley
A friend of mine pitched this to me the other day, and while I think it would be a terrible move, I suppose nothing is impossible. With the addition of Stefon Diggs and the distinct possibility that the Bills will draft a receiver in one of the deepest receiver classes in a long while, one of Diggs, Beasley, and John Brown could be considered a luxury. In this case, Beasley would be the guy packaged with some draft picks to move up to select his replacement—perhaps a falling player like Tee Higgins?—in the draft.
Dead money: $4.5 million
(Author’s note: Quarantine is clearly wreaking havoc on my brain, but when entertaining hypothetical scenarios, might as well entertain them all).