“We play in a month. The main thing is to have our roster set when we play the Jets,” General Manager Brandon Beane voiced his eagerness and excitement for 2017 when appearing in front of numerous reporters in Orchard Park Friday afternoon.
With the pros, there’s the cons and vice versa.
“This is not a throw in the towel thing at all. … You don’t know me if you think I’m throwing in the towel,” he later added.
Beane is basically banking on immediate dividends and nothing else. 2017, to Beane, won’t be a “bridge” year.
Beane’s decision to trade corner Ronald Darby and receiver Sammy Watkins Friday yielded a respectable return. Watkins was traded to the Los Angeles Rams for corner E.J. Gaines. The Bills, in an attempt to fill the gap for Watkins, traded corner Ronald Darby to Philadelphia for receiver Jordan Matthews.
Buffalo also received 2nd and 3rd round picks for next spring’s draft. Not a bad trade, at least on the surface.
WNYNewsNow’s favorite “W” question is, “Why?”
Watkins, ready for his fourth year, did not receive a guaranteed team option next season for his rookie contract. The former first-round pick has a well-documented injury history despite his also well-presented history of explosiveness.
The No.1 receiver’s trade was, if we are being candid, expected based on the situation. Yes, I know Beane stressed during his presser that the decision had nothing to do with Watkins set to become a free agent next season. The decision also, for that matter, apparently had nothing to do with Watkins and his chronic history of foot/hamstring issues.
Beane’s statement doesn’t fool me, however. I really think his statement, however, should be discussed in another article I’ll save for around Week 8 or so. That article will be derived from the following Beane quote: “I’m not one that believes, ‘I didn’t draft him, so I don’t care about him.’ ”
Jordan Matthews will provide a solid No. 1 option this year. This year is the key phrase.
Matthews is a potential rental, set to become an unrestricted free agent next year. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor is seemingly on thin ice after a setback season last fall. That means rookie Nathan Peterman could inherit the reigns next season.
With all due respect to Peterman, his decent arm may not be enough to keep the receiver in town. A solid regular season and maybe even, dare I say, a playoff season could keep Taylor and, consequently, Matthews in Buffalo for the long-term. Matthews, of course, could use a 1,000 yard campaign to improve his market value and worth to the Bills.
Bills fanatics and unbiased experts also mustn’t forget Matthews’s knee trouble. Coach Sean McDermott said the team doctors are “currently ok with it.”
What the bleep does that mean?
What happens when the team decides in November, when Buffalo seeks to make a playoff run, the knee isn’t where they’d like it to be? Are you going to bank on Anquan Boldin becoming the No.1 man when, quite honestly, he should be in the slot considering his age?
This isn’t a knock on the future HOFer. It’s a statement of life. Boldin would be better suited in the slot. Andre Holmes should be the No. 2, but we don’t know for certain.
If Matthew’s knee does hold, however, the offense could produce at least 20 points a game. 20 was a seemingly tall summit to reach on the mountain that was 2016. Tailback LeSean McCoy can’t be deleted from memory even through the initial madness of this trade.
The future, though, is in question. Taylor or Peterman. It doesn’t matter. Will the long-term good outweigh the bad? We haven’t even discussed the other trade, which I’ll do in a separate piece this weekend.