Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 3-20

Posted by Chris Brown on March 20, 2009 – 5:53 pm

The draft is only about a month away, but there are still some free agent questions out there from you the fan. In addition to answering some of the more popular questions here, I’ve also been responding (as much as possible) personally to your emails as well. I’m a bit behind on them, but plowing through them as best I can.

Remember you can always email me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net on anything Bills. Here we go.

1. Hello Mr.Brown,
 
I would like to know what you think about the Julius Peppers situation in Carolina! Do you think the Bills would be bold enough to sign him, if he is available? Also I was watching NFL network and Mayock said that the TE’s in this draft class are mostly good receiving TE’s not so much blocking classic TE’s, wouldn’t it be more advantageous to pick the best available Offensive Lineman? To help the run and also keeping Trent upright. Since Fine and Schouman, I feel performed okay when given the chance.
 
Regards,
Paul K.
Montreal,Q.C. Canada

CB: First, the Julius Peppers situation. I don’t see the Bills as a serious player because Peppers is likely to get upwards of $13-14 million dollars a year in a new contract. That’s too steep for a lot of teams including Buffalo.

I believe the Bills will address their pass rush in the draft.

As for the tight end position in the draft, Mayock is right, there are a lot more pass catchers than blockers at the tight end position. I think that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the Bills, who have rarely if ever had a dynamic pass catching threat at the position.

I think Schouman and Fine are both good all-around tight ends, but I think the team would like to add a game breaking threat in the passing game there. Of course the staff considered Royal their best blocking tight end last year, which is why he retained the starting role in 2008. So even if they take a pass catching threat at the position, they will likely still be looking for a true in-line blocking TE too.

I think that’s why so many mock drafters have Pettigrew going to the Bills because he fills both of those roles better than anyone else in the draft for Buffalo. But if Buffalo stays at 11, I’m not sure the value is right to take him there.

2. Chris,
My question to you is: What if the Bills are on the clock at 11 and Maybin, Brown and Orakpo along with Defensive Tackle B.J.Raji are gone and one of the top Left Tackles, Jason Smith out of Baylor for example, is available; could you see the Bills drafting him and trading Jason Peters for a 1st round draft pick to a team that may need one like Detroit (20th) and Philadelphia (21st or 28th)?  There is no doubt that Peters is a gifted athlete but with another off season of potential hold outs by him and his agent, do you think it would be beneficial to the team to stop these distractions and get down to business?

Sincerely,
Dan

CB: That’s a tricky scenario. Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe won’t be there, but I understand your point. Michael Oher and Andre Smith should be there at 11, and with the way things are going regarding an extension for Jason Peters, what you’re proposing is more realistic than some might think.

If the Jason Peters situation is still unresolved come draft weekend, I can see the team moving him for a first and middle round pick, maybe more, maybe less. Acquiring an additional first round pick should give the Bills the luxury of taking one of the top four offensive tackles in the draft at 11.

I’d prefer Michael Oher to Smith because Oher is arguably the most athletic tackle in the draft. His instincts still need to be developed, but his athleticism makes up for a lot of those shortcomings that should get better in time. Oher could play on the left side, Smith cannot at this level as I see it.

Now keep in mind that they could address another position at 11 like linebacker in this scenario and get one of the bet of the bunch, whoever they determine that to be and if they’re down in the early 20’s with their other first round pick as you suggest, they could grab Arizona State OT Eben Britton, but he is more of a right tackle at the NFL level according to most scouts.

Things could certainly get very interesting for the Bills on draft weekend.

3.  Hey Chris,
 
I have seen all your blogs and answers to Fan Friday Questions on Brown, Orakpo and Maybin. Just wondering what your thoughts were on 3 other pretty good prospects: Michael Johnson, Paul Kruger and Tyson Jackson. Are they all stretches at #11, or is it conceivable that one of them may still be available in Rd 2?
If they were, it is possible to go after Raji at #11, a DE in Rd2 and maybe trade up to get one of the top 3 TE’s, Coffman maybe? Talk about hypothetical!
 
Randy
NL, CAN

CB: I think that Johnson and Kruger will both be available in round 2, but Jackson will be gone before the Bills pick at 42. Jackson is more of a 3-4 end anyway.

Johnson has freakish physical ability, but is raw and inconsistent. As a result I don’t know if he’ll be able to handle a full time role as a rookie, so that keeps him out of the first round.

Kruger’s upside is a bit limited as I see it. He’s got great straight line speed, but I’m not certain that he’s strong enough right now to hold the point against the run in the NFL. He’s also not that elite explosive type end (ran a 4.79 and 4.83) so he is probably a late 2nd to early 3rd round prospect.

A guy I’d consider in the round two is Cincinnati’s Connor Barwin. He’s more of the quick-twitch athlete you’re looking for to boost a pass rush. I think he could come in right away and help on passing downs, which is what Buffalo needs.

4. Chris,

What are your thoughts on the restructuring of Jason Peters’ contract?  I believe that his holding out at the beginning of the year impacted the team in a negative way.  It seemed that it ruined the whole chemistry of the O-line.  As we all know, it wasn’t until the Monday night game when the run game started to get going.  I wasn’t impressed all season with the protection of Trent Edwards.  Honestly, I don’t know how Peters was elected to the Pro-Bowl.  Do you foresee a possible trade, renegotiation, no action, or something else? Thanks for your time. 
-Joe Maciag

CB: From what I understand the two sides have yet to close the gap on a new contract. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Bills still work to come to a resolution until the NFL draft, and if there is no progress my feeling is they may look into trading him prior to draft weekend. It’ll be unfortunate if it comes to that, but it takes two parties to make an agreement work and if the Bills can’t get some kind of compromise from the Peters camp it doesn’t leave them with too many other alternatives. And I don’t believe they’d be interested in dragging a contract renegotiation through another season.

5. Chris

I know DE is the considered the most pressing need but you and others
have mentioned how the top guys in the draft may not be able to stand
up to the run or are straight ahead rushers, etc.  I’m just another
hopeless Bills fan, but if BJ Raji is available at 11, I’d take him. 
(Full disclosure:  I’m a BC grad but that’s pure coincidence in this
case.) Raji looks like a safer bet and more of a sure-fire thing.  If
Stroud and Raji are pushing in, it might free up the current DE’s. 
I’ve gotten a little sensitive to how the Bills have used some earlier
picks.

Kelley Yost
Fairport

CB: I’ve got no problem with taking Raji at 11 if he’s there and a couple of the top speed rushers are already gone. In fact I think he’s the best secondary option to Everette Brown, though Aaron Maybin is tempting.

Your point about Raji and Stroud is valid, but I still think you could add talent at end in the second round with a Connor Barwin, for example if you took Raji at 11. So I’m not opposed to that approach at all. Heck I wanted Haloti Ngata back in 2006 (no offense Donte). I just believe in getting your big men early.

6. Chris,
Does JP Losman have any suitors or teams expressing interest?  I mean I always supported JP and was actually excited when he got a shot to play this past year but he did so awful.  Is it a possibility we might see JP in the CFL???
Thanks
RF

CB: From what I’ve heard the Denver Broncos were interested in J.P. as a backup, but Chris Simms signed with them before Losman’s agent could enter into any hard core negotiations with Denver. Other than that I’ve heard very little as to interest in him by other teams.

I think his physical ability will convince some team to bring him in as a backup.

You are right that his play last year didn’t do much to help his cause so I’m not confident he could be part of a competition somewhere for a starter’s job. I think he’s got to take a backup role somewhere and hope he gets a chance to step on the field to prove he’s capable.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Leftwich and Simms have same agent

Posted by Chris Brown on January 29, 2009 – 2:41 pm

In a speculative piece on Yahoo sports, it’s mentioned that both free agent QB Byron Leftwich and Chris Simms have power agent Tom Condon as their representation. He’ll have to find two different destinations for them obviously.

Chicago is naturally being mentioned since the Bears have publicly stated that quarterback is their top priority this offseason.

My guess is Condon will steer Leftwich to Chicago where he has a bona fide chance to challenge for the starting job, and he’ll look to get Simms to a team where he has at least a chance to see game action.

Buffalo wouldn’t be out of the question as I see it. I could see the Simms camp looking at the fact that Trent Edwards missed a couple of games each of the past two seasons. Simms has thrown a ball in a regular season game since 2006.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-16

Posted by Chris Brown on January 16, 2009 – 4:54 pm

Here’s the latest installment of Fan Friday. As most of you know by now you can email your questions to me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net. I try to respond to everyone either personally or here on Fan Friday.

1. Chris,    
     Do you think the Bills will sign a veteran QB in the off-season.  I realize that Trent has not done terrible job, but he has not exactly done a good job.  It seems like the game is moving too fast for him still and he doesn’t anticipate his receivers, he waits for them to be open, then throws it, and by the time the ball gets there the window is already closed.  Also, I wonder if he’s the long term solution for this team considering he’s always nicked up and doesn’t play well in cold weather.  Please tell me this team is going to get a play maker at QB like McNabb, Bills fans need some hope after this season.

CB: I don’t think a playmaker like Donovan McNabb is realistic because those kinds of players are usually not out on the free agent market. You usually have to give up something significant for that kind of talent. The Bills will be in the market for a backup quarterback because J.P. Losman will be looking for opportunities elsewhere.

I’ve stated a few times that I think Byron Leftwich might be the best available free agent this offseason. I say that because Kerry Collins only wants to be a starter, and he’s also a free agent. Now Leftwich might be able to find an opportunity where he’ll be given the chance to start (e.g. Chicago) and that would make Buffalo far less attractive, where I’m assuming only the backup job will be what’s offered.

So to expect to see some juggernaut QB get signed to play the role of backup is unrealistic as I see it. You may have to settle for a Ryan Fitzpatrick (who I like), Chris Simms or some other veteran that is accustomed to the backup role and would be more accepting of it.

 

2. Hey Chris,   
 
        A while back on Fan Friday you said something about we can’t compete for Haynesworth or Suggs in the offseason. My question is why not considering other teams sign a big player almost every year, we never really sign a player like that.  Also who do you think we can bring in during free agency considering we need another good DE to get to the QB.  And do you think we can spend the money to bring in Kurt Warner. We need a better QB that can throw touchdowns. Kurt Warner is a leader, that can throw a lot of TDs, Trent Edwards really doesn’t.
 
The needs as I see them are all over the board, but the biggest two are QB and DE

-Showtime

CB: I don’t disagree that there are several needs. Perhaps I should have been more clear with respect to Haynesworth and Suggs. First of all, I don’t think Haynesworth hits the market. He’s too vital for the Titans to let him go. I think Suggs could get away with Bart Scott and Ray Lewis also set to become free agents for Baltimore. Suggs would arguably cost the most due to the higher price tag for pass rushers.

The reason I don’t think the Bills will be able to compete for Suggs is there will be a number of teams competing for him on the free agent market if he gets there. The Bills historically don’t like to get into bidding wars for players, and there will be numerous bidders for Suggs. I’d be very happy with Bart Scott though to upgrade the linebacking unit.

 

3. Chris,
  I recently heard that JP Losman will not be returning to the Bills next season because of another poor showing during this past season.  Do you think any other team in the NFL would pick him up because of that reason?  Thanks.

Jim Brown
Lancaster, NY

CB: It has less to do with his poor showing and more to do with the fact that he’s an unrestricted free agent. Losman also wants to pursue an opportunity where he’ll have a legitimate chance to compete for a starting job.

Even though there are NFL teams in need of quarterback help, in light of how he performed this past season when called upon, I’m not confident he’ll be able to get such an opportunity. I think he’ll have to accept a backup job and hope he gets another shot. He’d be wise to go to a team with an offense that suits his strengths, which is making plays on the run and throwing downfield.

 

4. Hey Chris,
 
What’s up with all the criticism of Poz lately?  People on the message board are calling him a bust, you yourself said you’re “willing to give him another year.”  What are people expecting from this guy that we aren’t getting?  The dude is in on practically every tackle and there are way weaker positions on this defense than MLB.  Why aren’t people calling out a guy like Keith Ellison or Chris Kelsay instead?
-Muzz

CB: I was puzzled by the negativity over Poz too. I think those people that saw Poz play at Penn State were a bit spoiled because he not only made the routine plays, but the big ones as well, a lot of them. Now in the pros those big plays have been fewer and further between and people that saw him play in college think something is wrong. I personally think those big plays will become more and more frequent in year three. In essence this past season was his rookie year after playing all of 2 1/2 games in 2007. He was usually a half step away from making a lot of big plays in 2008. He said himself he wants to make more big plays and no one puts in more time in the offseason than this guy. I really believe it’ll come. Keep the faith.

 

5. Hey Chris,
I agree with your assessment of drafting a pass rushing defensive end. Who would you like to see in a Buffalo Bills uniform?
 
What the Bills need to do with the tight end position, Do you think we should draft, sign a FA, or get the current ones more involved?
 
God Bless The Buffalo Bills!
  
Alex – San Juan, P.R.

CB: First, I’d appreciate it if you could send some of your gorgeous weather up this way. We’re freezing our rears off in Buffalo today. Now back to business.

As I’ve said I’d like to see the Bills use their top pick on a pass rusher. I was very impressed from what I’ve seen from Everette Brown (FSU) and Brian Orakpo (Texas) this year. What I like about them is their brute strength, which will be important at the pro level when it comes to standing in there against the run.

I would like to do a little more research on them before definitively stating that I think they’re the best fit for the Bills. There are some other candidates as well.

If the Bills elect to go the free agent route, I’m concerned because I don’t see them winning a bidding war for Julius Peppers or Terrell Suggs as I stated above. The young free agent talent at DE is not overly impressive. Chauncey Davis had four sacks lining up opposite John Abraham. Antonio Smith had 3.5 sacks lining up opposite Bertrand Berry (who is also a FA, but on the downside) and Corey Smith (Detroit) isn’t much to get excited about either. That’s why I think the draft is the best route to take.

As for tight end the only free agent I’d consider this offseason is Bo Scaife (Tennessee). He had a productive year (58-561-2 TDs) though he’s not going to stretch the field and he’s not any bigger or better for that matter than Schouman or Fine. But his numbers have improved the last couple of years. But if the right game-breaking prospect is on the board in the second or third round (Chase Coffman – Missouri?) I’m not opposed to going that route at all.


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Posted in Inside the Bills