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Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 12-16

Posted by Chris Brown on December 16, 2011 – 2:34 pm

Three games left for the Bills, but Fan Friday is here for you each and every week. Let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – Chris,
Can you confirm that it would cost the Bills $9.4M to franchise Stevie Johnson for next year?

Thanks,
Jason K.

CB: Your number is in the range projected for 2012. In 2011 the franchise tag for a wide receiver was $11.3 million, but that number is going to come down considerably in 2012. That’s because under the new CBA the franchise tag figure will no longer be the average of the top five salaries at the position. Instead it will be the average of the highest-paid player at the position in each of the last five years.

So the number won’t be reached with just salary figures from 2011, but from 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. That’s going to drive the figure down. Estimates are pegging the wide receiver figure to be between $9.4 and $9.8 million depending on whether the salary cap stays flat at $120M or goes up to $125M.

I’m not convinced that the Bills will make use of the franchise tag, especially in light of reports that Johnson is looking for less than the projected franchise figure per season. Signing him up long term would likely prove to be the better option.

 

2 – Chris,
What day does free agency start in 2012? I heard that it’s starting later this year. Thanks for your help!

Brandon Pease

CB: Free agency will start later than the typical March 1st date in 2012. The market will not open until March 13th and it will open at 4 pm, not midnight.

 

3 - Hi Chris,

I know we signed Fitz to a long term deal, but as disgruntled Bills fan I think we should trade all our draft picks this year for Luck & next year’s # 1 if we have to. They’re saying Luck is better than Elway & Manning so I can see trading all those picks. If we can’t get Luck, how about moving up to get Barkley? We need a franchise QB & Fitz is not the answer. At best he is probably a 8-8 QB. I like Fitz, but he is not going to take this team to the next level. Also why don’t we go back to playing the 4-3 defense permanently. Warren Sapp & Jamie Dukes said that in the beginning of the season. Forget the 3-4 it does not work. Williams & Dareus in the middle who is going to run on us. thank you!!

ICON77

CB: First of all to say he’s better than Manning or Elway is not something I’ve heard anyone say. All I’ve heard is he’s the best QB prospect since Manning in ’98. Trading your entire draft for one player is foolhardy. I respect the need for a team to have a franchise quarterback in this league now more than ever, but the holes that still exist on this team are too numerous to toss away an entire draft’s worth of choices for one player.

I think there might be more merit to your 4-3 defense request. My only concern there is where do you put Nick Barnett? Shep is the bigger and stouter run defender so he would presumably be your MLB. Barnett could probably play WLB because he runs well, but having never seen him in that role I’m not sure about it.

 

4 – Hey Chris,
With the way things are going and their remaining schedule, a 5-11 finish seems very possible. It’s still a little premature for that, but hypothetically if that were to happen, that would get Buffalo a very nice draft pick, so do you think they should take a quarterback like Matt Barkley or Landry Jones, if one is still available when they pick?

At the very least, it would give Fitzpatrick competition for his job, so if he doesn’t perform, he’s not going to start. If Fitz can prove himself and bring back the magic next year, then you could always trade a guy like Barkley or Jones for a very nice return. If Fitz doesn’t work out, then you’ve got a very promising young quarterback to take over. With Fitz’s contract, it would suck having him as a backup, but at the same time, you can’t start him if he’s not performing just because of his contract.

Thanks,
Jack

CB: I think Barkley won’t be there assuming the Bills pick around 7 or 8. Landry Jones would be there, but I’m not sure he’s deserving of that value (top 10). Knowing Buffalo is committed to Fitz I think it makes getting a top flight pass rusher trump everything if the right one is there when the Bills are on the clock.

That’s not to say your QB idea doesn’t have merit. If the right signal caller is there when the Bills pick Buddy Nix said last year that you have to take him no matter what. So it shouldn’t be completely dismissed.

 

5 - Chris,

Happy Holidays and a great 2012 to you and yours!

I have concerns about the receiving corps next year. A playmaker opposite Stevie has got to emerge. Have the coaches seen enough to make them think Brad Smith could be that guy, or do you think we need to invest a 2nd or 3rd round pick on a potential no. 2 WR?

Also, you’ve stated that Gailey places a high value on Roscoe Parrish’s abilities, and that you expect Roscoe to stick. I, however, believe that David Nelson has truly earned the slot receiver spot. I’d hate to see David lose playing time, he will only get better. Will the coaches simply hand over the slot receiver role to a healthy Roscoe?

Thanks so much,
Kenny in Indiana

CB: I still think Roscoe can be a valuable contributor to the offense, but I don’t believe it has to be at the expense of David Nelson. This team’s most popular formation when everyone was healthy was a 4 WR, 1 back set. So Parrish and Nelson can be on the field at the same time. Minus Roscoe and Easley there was a lack of top end speed at the position on the field. Speed isn’t everything at receiver, but it helps.

As for putting a draft priority on receiver I would expect them to consider a speed wideout in the middle rounds knowing Easley’s delicate injury history. Merry Christmas to you and yours as well.


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