BUFFALO – Ahead of the March 11 start date to the NFL’s 2015 free agency period, the Buffalo Bills have ordered scout teams to evaluate the region’s top-performing turnstiles, according to an anonymous team source.
"If there’s an opportunity to improve this team at any position, we’re going to explore it," the source said. "We'll leave no stone unturned. Or turnstile, in this case."
After a 2014 campaign that saw the Bills’ offensive line struggle mightily at both guard positions, the front office reportedly began exploring free agent options at the start of the offseason. But with headliners such as Mike Iupati, a three-time Pro Bowler with an All-Pro on his CV, commanding top dollar on the open market, scouts were instead directed to research more cost-effective, inanimate replacements.
"We had a revolving door in those positions already. This was the next logical step," the source said.
According to the source, scouts are employing the same evaluation process that they use on traditional offensive line prospects - and so far, they like what they see.
"With the 1100 series three-arm model, you see a lot of positive attributes. Strong base, low at the point of attack, great anchor - especially when the lock functionality is enabled."
"Then you look at a 1001 four-arm rotating carousel," the source continued, "and you see things you like there, too. Rugged build, fluid rotation, consistently disrupts the path of the defender to one side."
"Of course, across the board, you’re sacrificing lateral mobility, football instincts, and actual human consciousness," the source concluded, "but frankly, the drop-off isn’t as bad as you might think."
The source noted that while the approach may be unconventional and potentially illegal, cap savings make it a worthwhile risk.
"This is a production business," the source said. "If I can go out and get a turnstile for $2,500, slap a jersey on it, call it Erik, and get the same negative-25 Pro Football Focus grade out of it over the course of a season, then I’d say we've done our job."