Six players the Bills could trade

Posted on February 11, 2010 by Patrick Moran

Donte Whitner Chris KelsayIt remains to be seen if the Buffalo Bills will soon be more competitive or descend even further into oblivion, but one thing about this team is certain; the roster turnover is going to be extreme.

There’s a slew of pending free agents, led by Terrell Owens and a cluster of mid tier to lower tier players the club won’t bring back.

Some players will get cut simply because they either don’t fit or underachieved.  John McCargo, Nic Harris, Chris Ellis and Roscoe Parrish are among those prime candidates.

The following are six players that could be dealt this offseason.  All contain a reasonable amount of value to other teams; even if they’re no longer needed here.

Marshawn Lynch- On the field he’s unmistakably been passed by Fred Jackson as the  go-to back and off it he’s done nothing, and I mean nothing to alter his perception of being a nuisance.  New coaching staffs tend to wipe slates clean upon arrival but in Lynch’s case I’d be stunned if he were back in 2010.

People tend to overlook the most disturbing thing about Lynch last year wasn’t the three-game suspension or 450 rushing yards on the entire season.  It’s the nonchalant way he appeared doing it.  Lynch often looked disinterested as   “Beast Mode” was replaced by a “whatever” posture. Eighty two of those 450 total yards came on just two carries.

So much damaging discernment is thrown upon the Bills for drafting Donte Whitner ahead of Haloti Ngata in 2006.  Well how about the Lynch gaffe of 2007? For starters the team already had Jackson; an unambiguous sign talent evaluators weren’t doing their jobs.  More alarmingly they evidently didn’t do their diligence on Lynch off the field. Turns out his college maturity troubles wouldn’t be isolated once he turned professional.

Of course as this decade’s luck would go for Buffalo, the New York Jets drafted Darrelle Revis exactly two picks AFTER Lynch.

Having said all that, Lynch is talented and has the potential to be elite. There’s always a team willing to give a gifted player another chance and when that fails another will do it again.  Lynch in the right surroundings could be a 1,400 yard rusher in this league, easily.

Possible destination: San Diego, Philadelphia.  Both teams offer a change of scenery and could use a talent influx at running back.  LaDainian Tomlinson will leave San Diego soon and Darren Sproles is no every down back over 16 games.  Maybe the Bills could coax a second or third round pick from the Chargers.  Or if the Bills are serious about a Philadelphia quarterback perhaps they offer Lynch in a trade package.  The Eagles could use Lynch’s talents.

Notwithstanding Lynch’s troubles and the potential of a long suspension with one more mistake, he has the most upside and probably value of anyone on this list.  If someone is willing to roll the dice on his God given talent, I say Good riddance.

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Kyle Williams- There’s nothing wrong with Williams; he simply doesn’t fit into the new 3-4 defense. As colleague Brian Galliford says “He most closely resembles a one-gap nose tackle in the 3-4 Over, but he’s not a perfect fit there, either. At best, Williams looks like a rotational player that can give you downs at the nose or at end, but he’ll be a liability no matter where you put him.”

That doesn’t mean Williams has no trade value; he does.  He was a Pro Bowl alternate last year and there’s always a market for an overachieving hard worker. He’s also under contract for three more years at a reasonable salary.  There should be at least a modest demand for him assuming the Bills put him on the block.

Possible destination: Houston. We say the Texans because former Bills defensive line coach Bill Kollar worked with Williams for three years. He knows what kind of football player he is and won’t have to worry about his tackle taking off any plays.  The reality is almost any team that employs a standard 4-3 could use a player like Williams.  There’s no reason to not be able to get some value in return and Buffalo would have no problem pocketing the savings.

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Donte Whitner- Some people hold disdain for Whitner because he was drafted so high while others think he simply doesn’t make enough plays. He’s also yet to play a full 16 games in four seasons.  Regardless of why he’s not celebrated by Bills fans, the only thing that really matters is he’s arguably just the fourth best safety on the roster.  That doesn’t cut it for an alleged team leader.

Rookie Jairus Byrd made more impact plays in less than a season than Whitner has in four years and frankly speaking, so did George Wilson.  If the team decides to bring unrestricted free agent Bryan Scott back there’s little reason to require Whitner. I guarantee Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey could care less if Whitner was the eighth or 800th pick of the draft; they’re going with the best players at each position.  If the team can get something of decent value for Whitner it’d be mindless to not consider it.

Possible destination: Washington, Cleveland.  Whitner just recently moved to the D.C. area. Does he know something we don’t?  His hometown of Cleveland could be a great fit for a team dire for talented bodies. For the record I have no problem with Whitner; just feel he’s expendable and could bring something in return—we’re good at safety without him.

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Aaron Schobel- Of everyone on this list he’s the least likely to be traded because it’s very possible he may retire.  Schobel hinted strongly following last season and wasn’t posturing at the time, nor is he now.

Truthfully, the Bills silently may be hoping he follows through on the departure talk. Although he’s far and away the team’s most consistent defender he falls into the same grouping several others all of a sudden do; he doesn’t match the new defense schematically.  If Schobel doesn’t retire the Bills have to try and convert the nine-year veteran into a rush linebacker, an experiment similar to Green Bay and Aaron Kampman last year that didn’t work.

Dealing the talented Schobel may sound easy in theory, but the four years and $27.5 million in base salaries he’s owed makes it tremendously challenging. Perhaps a team on the verge of contending could come into play, but even that’s no given should the Bills make him available.

Possible destination: Houston, The recliner.  Houston would be scary with Schobel opposite Mario Williams.  It’s also a trade Schobel, who is from Texas, would likely be happy with as they’re expected to be contenders in 2010.  Still, if the Bills are hoping to do away with Schobel the best chance is he decides to run off into the sunset.  That would be a lot of money in the organization’s pocket they could use to replenish talent into the new defense.

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Chris Kelsay- He had one of his best seasons in 2009 but the move to a new defense looks like the end of Kelsay’s career in Buffalo.  Galliford says “he doesn’t have the athleticism in space to play outside (and unlike Aaron Schobel, doesn’t possess the pass rushing ability to make up for his lack of athleticism), and lacks enough bulk and anchor to play up front”.

Kelsay only has one year remaining on his contract at an affordable $3.7 million.  That could be attractive to a 4-3 based team looking for a short term, low risk upgrade.  If the Bills can’t find a taker, and rumor is they tried last year, I’d expect the organization to simply cut him loose and use his money elsewhere.

Possible destination: Seattle, Atlanta, Tampa Bay.  Kelsay has more value than he did at this time last year because he was better in 2009. While I wouldn’t expect much in return the team should be able to get something; and that’s usually better than nothing.

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Trent Edwards- Without question Edwards is the biggest enigma on this list. He may be the starter in 2010, may be the backup or may be on another team.  Heck, for all we know he could be leading the Las Vegas Locos next year. Personally I believe he’s done in Buffalo.  Gailey and staff may be new, but it won’t take long to see his confidence is shot and so is assurance teammates have in him.  Edwards never endeared himself to Bills fans and if he returned the leash would be exceptionally short.

That doesn’t mean his NFL career is unavoidably over.  Edwards could be one of those archetypal “change of scenery” types of players.  Perhaps playing out in the west coast in a system and weather more suitable to his liking could once again ignite his career.  Buffalo could and almost certainly will explore that possibility.

Possible destination: San Francisco, Arizona, Seattle. Neither of these teams have a secure situation at quarterback. Perchance one of them wants to give Edwards a chance to compete he could turn things around.  Maybe we’re reaching here, but not as awfully as those who think he’ll turn it around with a new staff in Buffalo.

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2 Comments on Six players the Bills could trade

  1. george

    in my opinion every person on the bills roster should be labeled as trade candidate. There is not 1 player on the entire roster who is irreplaceable at their position. Whether there is sufficent value back for them is the key, but nobody should be exempt from trade talks

  2. Six players the Bills could trade : Buffalo Sports Daily | Drakz Free Online Service

    [...] the rest here: Six players the Bills could trade : Buffalo Sports Daily Share and [...]

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