A few years ago, Buffalo Rumblings held an offseason contest in which our readers would develop and present their plan to improve the Buffalo Bills over the offseason. The BROP (Buffalo Rumbling Offseason Plan) competition brought out a number of ideas, from the mundane to the wild. Fresh off the end of the playoff drought and faced with daunting obstacles and thrilling opportunities, 2018 would seem to be the right time to revive the tradition.
Speaking of timing, we are currently less than a month from free agency. In previous years, the BROPs tended to straddle the free agency period, so people who posted later had a bit of an advantage. The cut-off date for entering the BROP competition this year will be March 6. That includes the time period in which teams can apply the franchise tag, as well as the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine, but it shuts down the competition days before teams are permitted to brazenly tamper with prospective free agents.
Previous iterations of the BROP included several sections that need to be included in any competition entry:
Front Office & Coaching: The Bills aren’t moving on from head coach Sean McDermott or general manager Brandon Beane this season. With the coaching carousel grinding to a halt with Frank Reich’s hiring by the Indianapolis Colts, there doesn’t seem to be any chance of much change in Buffalo’s line up of assistant coaches. If you want to justify a move and replace someone, then have at it, but be sure to include a rationale as to why owners Terry and Kim Pegula would sign off on it. This is also the place in the BROP for any big pre-free agency move up the draft board you’re wanting the Bills to make—think the Washington-St. Louis trade of several years ago. Putting any such move here will have a cascade effect on each of the following sections.
Bills’ Players: In this section, you lay out your plan for Buffalo’s own free agents, players you plan to cut, players you want to trade (for draft picks and/or players), and contracts you want to restructure or extend. Keeping the contracts realistic will prevent people from slamming your BROP as wildly optimistic. Sure, Kyle Williams is a loyal man, but he’s not playing for Buffalo in 2018 for the veteran’s minimum.
Other NFL Players: This is where you splurge on players who you want the Bills to sign and swing draft pick trades for other players. (Trades involving Bills players for other NFL players should be discussed in the section prior.) You’ll have a better chance in the competition if the trades and free agent contracts are reasonable. Kirk Cousins isn’t coming to Buffalo for $25 million per season, and Seattle won’t be trading Russell Wilson for Tyrod Taylor and pick No. 22 in the 2018 NFL Draft.
NFL Draft: Who do you like and what is your plan for acquiring them? Right now, the Bills are projected to need about $8.5 million in cap space to sign their draft picks. That could change depending on the moves you make, so keep an eye on the contracts signed in 2017 by incoming rookies. If, for example, you trade a lot of Buffalo’s 2018 picks to move up to number 3 overall, the 2017 number 3 pick (Solomon Thomas) signed a 4-year, $28 million deal with a 2017 cap hit of $5.1 million. Those numbers are set to rise to about $30 million and about a $5.4 million cap hit. If Buffalo traded all of their picks in the first 4 rounds to Indianapolis to move up to number 3, Buffalo’s rookie pool would drop from $8.5 million, which could allow for more free agent spending. If your BROP has Buffalo moving way up the board, it would be a good idea to point to some fairly recent deal(s) as a potential model.
Conclusion: Some of the Rumblers voting on the BROPs aren’t going to read every carefully chosen word. The conclusion is your condensed review of the moves you made and your outlook for the 2018 Bills.
In order to keep the BROP easily readable, title each of the 5 sections, preferably in bold. When suggesting contracts, it would be extremely helpful to keep a running track of the amount of cap space added or subtracted. So, if you want to dump Tyrod Taylor, you’d add a note bumping the available cap space up by $10.44 million; if you want to re-sign Kyle Williams, you’d lower it by the amount of that proposed contract. Doing so will allow people to see that your numbers really do add up, and it also means people don’t have to take notes and do the math themselves.
At the end of your BROP fanpost – clearly labeled as (your name)’s BROP – you must include a poll. In place of the A, B, C, D, F grading system, we’re going to use a numeric 1-5:
5: I liked almost everything in this BROP
4: I liked more of this BROP than I disliked
3: I liked about as much of this BROP as I disliked
2: I disliked more of this BROP than I liked
1: I disliked almost everything in this BROP
When voting, I’d ask people to really consider how much of the BROP they liked, as opposed to stampeding to 5 or 1 based on one free agent or draft move. No matter how much you want the Bills to draft or sign Player X, a BROP’s exclusion of that guy doesn’t render the entire thing hot garbage. Even the most ardent Taylor hater will probably find some good in a BROP that keeps him around in 2018.
As a model – for the format, not the content – for the BROP competition, I’ll be posting my take on the BROP in the fanpost section very soon.
Here are some resources to get you started:
- Bills free agents and their 2017 salaries
- Contract projections for all Bills free agents
- Potential Bills trades or cuts that could save cap space
- List of possible veteran cuts
- Which Bills deserve a contract extension?
- All of our free agency coverage including replacement options from around the league
- Bills see familiar faces to trade with at top of draft
- Final list of Bills draft picks
- All of our draft coverage