The GM series that Bucky Gleason completely ripped off from me is back. Alright, I actually ripped him off, but whatever. I'm playing the Bills GM once again. I've done this 2 out of the last 3 years and have enjoyed it very much. There's a serenity to it that makes me forget about how awful the Bills have been. This year, I'm back with a party bus -stripper poles included- a case full of Genny Cream Ale and all the money in Ralph Wilson's vault. Oh, and Russ Brandon can kiss my ass because I'm doing what I want to do.
I'm also not going to pretend this is X-box or fantasy football. I will definitely try and make this legit with cap numbers and market value, but I'm not a capologist here. This will be realistic as Sex and the City or a stupid romantic comedy. This is a cross between having fun and learning something. Right now, the Bills are 22 million under the cap.
I'm going to break this series up into 3 parts:
- Re-signing/cutting players
- trades/free agency
Yes, I'm going to try and get this series through the door before the real free agency season starts.
As the GM and with a new coaching staff, I have a major decision to make...
Do we rebuild for the future or do we make a run at the playoffs?
On the surface, it would make sense to do major house keeping and not sign anyone over 30. That's what happens when you lose 32 games in three years. You get younger and get guys going into their primes.
However, there is one problem...I'm not patient.
I want to make the playoffs this year! I'm sick of waiting. I just want to get the hell in. I'm not worried about 2014 or 2015. I don't care where we are then. I'm treating it like the Mayans may have been a year or two off in the decimation of the world. If I got to trade five future first round picks for Tom Brady, I'm doing it! Alright, so the Pats probably wouldn't do that. I'm just saying that the goal is playoffs for 2013.
As for needs, they go like this
--Need more offensive weapons
Yes, it seems like this has been the same damn list for the last 13 years. For now though, I'm going by the list of players we have now and seeing who is getting sent his walking papers or joining us next year.
HOLY CRAP! Just cut the guy already. I've been trying to get rid of Chris Kelsay since 2008. Why won't the Bills lose this guy? I've made the joke for years that he must have walked in on Ralph Wilson getting head from Betty White and that the Bills bribed him with contract extensions to keep his mouth shut. He will probably become a coach here when he retires at this point. He's like the Jochen Hecht of the franchise. They love him for reasons I cant comprehend. I've been waiting forever to write an "Ode to Chris Kelsay" piece. It would just say the words "FINALLY!" and a giant middle finger. Anyways, he's not really good and we have enough defensive lineman on this team. Plus, if we go 3-4, I sure as hell don't want to see him as an OLB again, do you? So, screw him. Gone!
Cap savings: 4.1 million dollars
What a waste of 3.5 million bucks. The guy stunk here. He was the master of the 3-yard gain on 3rd and short. Oh, and how can we not forget that wounded duck he threw against the Cardinals? I just remember all the stupid discord about whether the signing made sense or not. It didn't. The wildcat has been dead for years now and Kordell Stewart is rolling over in his grave because of how bad the Bradcat looked here. Ah, memories. He can go back to the Jets.
Cap savings: 2.7 million
I'm a bit conflicted on this one. I'm not going to be saving much if I cut Fitzpatrick. He's only going to save me $450,000 next year. This is why I hate the stupid salary cap. I just don't get the stupid thing. He's making 10-million bucks next year, yet, if we got rid of him, we only save 450K on the cap? What in the blue does that mean? Anyways, had the Bills not re-signed Jackson, I probably would have been fine with keeping Fitz and restructuring his deal, but I don't need two veterans and an incumbent (More on that on another post) battling for the QB job. There's just not enough training camp snaps and meaningless football games to figure out who should start between three guys. Remember Fitzbrohmwards from 2010? Fitz and Brohm hardly got any playing time in the preseason with the starters.
I know when you just look at Fitz's numbers, they aren't that bad: 24TDs, 16INTs, 3,400 yards and a completion percentage of 60%. However, this is where the stats are misleading and you just watch the guy play. So, screw the advanced stats people. I just want to go into a different direction and I think Fitz isn't good enough. Unfortunately, I don't exactly get much cap relief in cutting him, but I do save on cash to the cap.
Cap savings: 450,000
Savings all together: 7.25 million. Now I'm 27 million under the cap.
RE-SIGN OR THROW OUT OF THE BUILDING?
Jairus Byrd- If the Bills don't re-sign Byrd, I think Twitter will explode. I'm talking that Russ Brandon would probably have to delete his Twitter account bad. Even the hot social media girl for the Bills would probably retire. Byrd isn't going. Why? Because the Bills marketing whizzes decided to use him as a Valentine's day photo. Alright, that has nothing to do with it. Anyways, Byrd had a great season. He was probably the best player on the Bills defense this year. His game has evolved big time since his rookie year. He went from being just a pure cover safety to having a bit of an edge to him. According to Advanced Stats, Byrd was tied for 7th in tackles for losses by safeties. Can you imagine what his numbers would have been like if the Bills actually blitzed? Well, they should be doing that a lot under Pettine. I could franchise him, but I'm giving him a long term deal.
Re-signed for 5-years, 34- million dollars.
Andy Levitre- I like Andy Levitre. As I wrote in my Byrd vs. Levitre piece, the Bills left side was very effective in rushing the football. He's also very versatile and can play pretty much every position on the line. The problem for me is that he's going to command something like 50-million or so. I can't afford that if I'm going to improve other parts of the roster. Also, I'm not big on giving that amount of money for a guard. Tackles and centers? Yes. Guards? I just don't think so. Again, the Bills have quite a few holes to fill and I think I can find some guard in the draft and plug him in there.
Let him hit free agency
David Nelson: I really have no clue why the Bills are letting him go. Before they made him a UFA, I would have tendered him. If Nelson wasn't a restricted free agent, I could get behind letting him go. Why would they decide to let him go when they could have had him for cheap? I think he's good for being a undrafted player and will get you 50-60 catches, but I guess the Bills think they have enough possession wide receivers on their roster. Nelson is kind of a poor man's Stevie Johnson, except he's taller. He's a good route runner, but he's not going to burn you or anything like that. If the Bills are planning on putting Stevie in the slot, where you going to put Nelson? On the outside? I think he's a little too slow for that. And since he's now a UFA, I don't think he's going to sign for anything less than 3 million bucks and because of that, I'm not signing him.
You'll be fine, as you have a fine ass cheerleading wife.
Ruvell Martin- Remember how we had that oversaturated training camp battle between Derek Hagan and Ruvell Martin? Well, we aren't going to relive it this offseason.
Let him hit free agency
Corey McIntyre- I forgot we even had a fullback. I assumed Gailey dissolved the position when he was so hard up on having the spread. I'm going keep him around on a 1-year deal for about 800,000. I need some special team guys around here. Plus, I want to be able to look at my TV screen and be able to say to strangers that he was falsely accused of doing this. Nothing breaks a uncomfortable silence between football fans than a classic choking the chicken story.
Re-sign for $800,000
Leodis McKelvin- This is a tough one. I have absolutely no idea what McKelvin wants or what he can get in the open market. I know he mentioned after the season he wanted to get paid as a cornerback and if he thinks I'm giving him #2 cornerback money, he can kiss me ass. McKelvin was awesome on punt returns, having the highest average in the NFL at 18.1 yards per return. He was tied for the lead league with 2TDs returned. Amazingly, he was 22nd in punt returns, yet, 3rd in yardage. If I could get McKelvin for Brad Smith money, i'd kick the tires on it. I say Brad Smith money because that's what he is at this point. He's kind of a gimmick who can't play corner all that well. However, I think McKelvin can get 5-million a year, especially since he's got first round talent on him. Devin Hester got a monster deal from Chicago and he's not exactly a good WR, yet, we know he's an outstanding returner. And if that's the case for McKelvin, I'm letting him walk. I think I can find other punt returners out there. Hell, I can throw Spiller or Easley back there. Bills can't afford to pay for luxury players when they are this bad.
Let him walk.
Shawne Merriman- Haven't we been here before? Funny, but a part of me wonders if I should keep him cause he'd be a nice fit in a Hybrid defense. However, he's shot and I'm just kind of over him. I know he had a few moments last year, but I just think he's cooked and I'd rather bring someone else in.
Let him walk and hope that CM Punk kicks his ass on Twitter
Kyle Moore- I like Kyle Moore. He was 2nd on the team in QBs pressures for defensive ends with nine. That's more than what Chris Kelsay and Mark Anderson had. That's also one off of what Marcell Dareus had. I like him in the Hybrid, as I think he can be a stand up OLB or put his hand on the ground and play defensive end. I also think I can get him for cheap and he'd be a nice change of pace guy.
Re-signed: 2-years for 3 million bucks
Chad Rinehart- I can't really tell you much about Rinehart. I do think his last name would make a hell of a Game of Thrones character, but that's about it. He has started 18 games for the Bills over the last 3 years. I need some depth and I guess I should sign him for cheap since Levitre is gone. He may actually be my opening day starter as well. Eeeeeesh.
Re-signed: 2-year for 2-million
Bryan Scott- It is pretty crazy that Bryan Scott was 2nd on the team in forced turnovers. He chipped in with four interceptions and two forced fumbles. For the Bills paying him less than 1-million bucks last year, that's a pretty good investment. However, Scott always seems to get a lot of crap from fans and media members. As stupid as it sounds, I think it has to do with the perception of him being a journeyman with a pretty common/boring name and the word converted attached to him. No one wants to hear about a guy who played safety and was turned into a LB. I don't even know what position he plays anymore. However, if the Hybrid defense is all about disguising guys and making the opposition guess what position he's playing, Scott may be perfect for that. I think he'd fit in nicely with their blitz package and for depth. Plus, I think I can get him for about a million (Made 800K last year).
Re-signed: 1-year, 1-million bucks
Tyler Thigpen- LOLOLOL!
SpenT 11.5 million on salaries for 2013. Bills are now 18 million under the cap.
UP NEXT: FREE AGENCY AND TRADES!!