Bills Prudent Spenders in Free Agency

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The word most associated with free agency is frenzy.  The biggest problem delirious teams face for now is not being able to throw enough money at unaffiliated players. Could a Jugs Machine be rigged to hurl cash?  With what they spend on new hires, owners could afford concessions at their own stadiums.

If general managers think the start of free agency is expensive, wait until they learn the true costs.  Underperforming big names who can’t be moved due to overpayment aren’t as fun as they seemed when signed.

Looking on the bright side of having zero spectacular additions is like being happy about missing the playoffs to have more free Sundays.  But a general manager’s Javert-like obsession with getting his man harms the pursuer.

The initial hullabaloo may be fun.  Still, franchises often buy cars that seemed fast only because the speedometer displays kilometers.  Make sure it’s not a knockoff from a former Soviet republic.  By contrast, quiet competence is welcome on the sort of team that has to rebuild after winning a wild card.

Spot effective general managers by how they fill out rosters instead of grabbing headlines.  An obscure player who fits a scheme beats a glamorous name who doesn’t.  Some executives seem like they’re trying to sell jerseys in the spring.  But it’s better to ensure the player will compete well while wearing his during the fall.

The Buffalo Bills are in trouble if credulous sportswriters vote for divisional winners.  There’s better news if it’s still by record.  Despite the dearth of flashiness, new roster members are by chance all at positions where they’re thin.  It’s almost as if the staff is paying attention.

Photo of DE Trent Murphy from

The lineup is much fuller than it was earlier this month, which is reassuring even if games are lamentably far off.  Let’s dream this’ll go as planned, as that’s the only way to make the offseason tolerable.  Star Lotulelei will ideally stuff the center while our enthusiastic new neighbor Trent Murphy attacks from the edge.  And Owa Odighizuwa has the chance to overcome trauma and flummox offensive lines just like he does spell check.

Signings can help even if casual fans have to look up names.  Rafael Bush and Julian Stanford fortify depth at the worst and challenge established players at best.  Russell Bodine and Marshall Newhouse will compete to block out recent gaps.  Vontae Davis may already be a starter, while Chris Ivory is a backup only because of the superhero ahead of him.

A general manager trying to impress fans would’ve chased down everyone who got fan votes for Pro Bowls.  But Brandon Beane isn’t trying to accumulate headlines.  He’s added the sort of players they’ll need in November when this roster is coping with normal wear and tear.  Adding, say, Sammy Watkins may feel like a win for his third club, but giving him $30 million guaranteed may not pay off during actual games.

Oh, right: they need someone to take snaps.  AJ McCarron is welcome simply as a matter of quantity.  Conventional wisdom predicts he’ll soon meet the rookie who’ll be starting over him.  That’s true even if the Jets take a quarterback first thanks to their hasty maneuvering.  New Jersey’s lesser franchise could still have traded up to draft a punter.

But the chance to surprise is why we follow sports.  If everything happened as predicted, Virginia would be heading to the Final Four this weekend instead of hiding their heads in shame.

The cheat sheet claims Buffalo’s newest quarterback understands the game without having the physical gifts to execute.  They may have found their next quarterback coach.  But McCarron will get every chance to put his ideas into action.  We can hope he’s able to convert an idea into action like Daredevil and not like Iron Fist.

Photo of Bills’ QB AJ McCarron from

McCarron thinks this is a chance to add to his 86 pro completions.  Katherine’s spouse has as many repetitions ahead as he desires.  If AJ surprises and plays better than EJ or J.P., then his new team made the steal of the century.  We should be as excited for the opportunity as he is.

This team still must add players to catch and back the line.  And I hate to not look on the bright side, but they still might need to obtain a franchise quarterback in case McCarron isn’t the year’s happiest success tale.

The team remembered they’re allowed to add new workers now.  That’s itself progress.  The staff gets paid to never stop obsessing over the game.  We’re not the only ones who think about football year-round.

Those of us not blessed to make a living conducting transactions were naturally anxious before signings began.  But there isn’t the sense of desperation that has plagued this franchise for a few centuries back to when actual buffaloes took the field in Orchard Park.

It’s a long offseason in case anyone can’t remember all the stupid time.  But impatience now will lead to shoddy conditions when they keep score.

The front office hasn’t tried to wow us except with a tantalizing accumulation of draft picks.  The Bills are moving past the inherent insecurity reflected in feeling they must hustle their supporters.  Magic tricks are unnecessary for those who can actually change reality.  This staff already ended the drought.  Ta-da!

Editor’s babble: As always, thanks to Anthony Bialy for his contributions to our blog. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBialy.

*Views expressed are the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of owners of the website.

About Anthony Bialy

Anthony Bialy recently moved back to Buffalo from New York City and acts like he never left. He thinks "Buffalo 66" is biographical and considers it a crime against mankind that Steve Tasker is not in the Hall of Fame. He likes getting Tim Hortons on the way to get Labatt Blue. Follow him on Twitter at @AnthonyBialy.

9 Replies to “Bills Prudent Spenders in Free Agency”

  1. The Vikings opened up Pandora’s box by giving Cousin’s a fully guaranteed contract… Now other stars are going to want that, if Cousin’s is worth that amount what will Rodgers be worth or Ryan? Dareus, Mario Williams bring back bad memories of getting mega bucks and then having their performance drop. I can only imagine what will happen for teams that get saddled with guaranteed contracts for non-producing players…

    Sooner or later the salary cap will have stay even or drop as it can’t possibly rise every year and eventually the bubble will burst.

  2. ” while Chris Ivory is a backup only because of the superhero ahead of him.”

    I dunno about that. The last two years Ivory has been mediocre at best, failing to average 4 ypc. And before that when he was good, he was a back by committee and only topped 1000 yards once. Dude’s now 30 to boot. Might be more a case of “Chris Ivory is a backup only because the Bills paid him too much not to be.”

  3. It’s sounding increasingly like the Giants are staying put and not taking a QB…probably Chubb with their unloading of JPP today. Looking more and more like the Jets made a great move. Can only hope Cleveland or the Jets take Allen…

  4. Dunno how much I like the idea anyhow, but Manziel had a workout today and 13 teams attended. The Bills were not one of them, which is a little odd considering Cleveland DID attend. If any QB desperate team should have skipped, it should have been Cleveland. Bills should be crawling under any rock they can to find a QB…

  5. heard an interview that he has been clean and sober and working out like crazy. wish the best for him…

  6. Manziel might be clean and Sober, but for the Bills to not attend they must not have any interest in him…

    I work with a Giants fan and he comes over and tells me about the trade of the G-Men making with the Bucs. Then he tells me –The Giants will trade with the Bills for the #2 spot but they want both #1’s this year, both #2’s this year, a #3 this year and next year’s #1 —-I just laughed and told him to keep dreaming!! He based it on what the Jets paid to move up to #3…

    Is Mason Rudolph worth the 12 or 22nd pick in the first round? I’ve read he could be anywhere from 20 or into the 2nd round.

  7. That would be WAY more than the Jets paid. There’s two extra first round picks in that deal than what the Jets paid. The 3rd this year is equal to the Jets second next year…so yeah, two additional firsts. Ridiculous! That said, if we KNEW the guy was going to be a franchise QB, I’d do it. Problem is you obviously don’t know…so that price is probably too high. Skip next year’s first and I’d probably do it. Then you’re paid an extra first round pick over what the Jets paid, but you’re moving up higher (ahead of a team taking a QB) and coming from further back.

    I’m pretty protective of next year’s first, though, because honestly, I don’t expect the Bills to be very good this year…I’d like the top 10 draft pick next year to make up for it.