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In the cases of Winfield and Clements, the Bills had little choice to let them go, once they became UFA's and received those huge offers. The key is to identify the players you want to keep and re-sign them BEFORE they become free agents.

But even that fails you. Peters is a good example.

 

PTR

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The other option is to never pay any of the best players, and they leave. How does that work out?

And yet how does Pittsburgh and New England do it, huh? Is every player on their roster the highest paid in the NFL? Neither team throws money at players but they have rings. And when a player gets pissy about his contract they ship him off. But that's okay because they win. So the Bills are wrong because they don't pay players, yet Pitt and NE are right for not paying players?

 

PTR

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I'm not sure what you mean. Care to expand on that, a little?

I meant that even locking a player up early doesn't guarentee anything, as Peters has shown us. (did not mean "you" specifically) Some players honor their deals and some don't. It seems the teams that win have more of those kind of players because you can't give everyone $10M/yr.

 

PTR

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I meant that even locking a player up early doesn't guarentee anything, as Peters has shown us. (did not mean "you" specifically) Some players honor their deals and some don't. It seems the teams that win have more of those kind of players because you can't give everyone $10M/yr.

 

PTR

 

 

Let's not go through this again. Peters was re-signed when he was starting to play RT. He asked for more $ after having a Pro Bowl season at LT. If the Bills really wanted to wrap him up, they would have done something with him after that season, to show they understood he was being underpaid for his position.

 

Now, I'm not suggesting this was all the Bills' fault, it wasn't. But I think a little early foresight and creativity on the Bills part, might have prevented this situation from ending the way it did.

 

With that said, yes you are correct, there is no way to good guarantee players stay with the team. The best way is to WIN consistently. If and when that happens, the fans (at least many of them) will stop bashing Bills management on these issues.

 

It's fairly obvious there are a group of fans who bash the Bills for everything they do, and use their losing record as justification. What they fail to understand is even losing teams might do some things well, and winning teams do some things wrong. The key is to keep the good things, and replace the poor ones...but that actually involves thinking and analysis. It's easier to just complain.

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On the Peters contract offer point, I do recall Schopp and Bulldog discussing at length how ridiculous it was that $9.5 Million/year wasn't enough money to get paid to play left tackle in this league.

 

Take that for what its worth. I don't think the last offer Brandon offered Peters was ever made public, but I am a regular listener of WGR (lets not turn this into a bash WGR post) and I distinctly recall the $9.5 million figure being repeated. So that's the best I can do with some actual media source quoting numbers. Please, take it for what its worth. But I remember that Peters' people demanded nothing less than 8 figures ($10 million base). What the hell is the difference between $500,000 at that point? I don't get it either. But it is what it is. The Eagles recognized Peters value and were pleased to forgo a 1st round pick and elite money to have him.

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The problem with your logic is, had the Bills pursued mostly linemen, in the early rounds of the draft, they would likely be chasing linemen early in the draft, as there is no reason to believe they would be able to keep them, either. They couldn't/didn't even keep an undrafted UFA lineman, once he became a top level player.

 

Maybe, but maybe not. Other than LTs and DEs, I am guessing that corners make more cash than other linemen, thus it makes them harder at times to re-sign.

 

Also, at least our best resources would have been used on linemen. I personally would rather keep Nick Mangold on the Bills than Donte Whitner, even if only for 5 or 6 years. Overall, people who can block, rush the qb and/or stop the run will always mean more overall to a team that plays in Buffalo, and our won/loss record doesn't lie.

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And yet how does Pittsburgh and New England do it, huh? Is every player on their roster the highest paid in the NFL? Neither team throws money at players but they have rings. And when a player gets pissy about his contract they ship him off. But that's okay because they win. So the Bills are wrong because they don't pay players, yet Pitt and NE are right for not paying players?

PTR

What has been alluded to but not specifically mentioned is the greater likelihood of a winning program retaining its veteran players as well as attracting veteran free agents. There are players who have made their money and want a chance at the ring. It is these players who, as things stand now, would not want to play for the Bills.

 

Let's not go through this again. Peters was re-signed when he was starting to play RT. He asked for more $ after having a Pro Bowl season at LT. If the Bills really wanted to wrap him up, they would have done something with him after that season, to show they understood he was being underpaid for his position.

 

Now, I'm not suggesting this was all the Bills' fault, it wasn't. But I think a little early foresight and creativity on the Bills part, might have prevented this situation from ending the way it did.

 

With that said, yes you are correct, there is no way to good guarantee players stay with the team. The best way is to WIN consistently. If and when that happens, the fans (at least many of them) will stop bashing Bills management on these issues.

 

It's fairly obvious there are a group of fans who bash the Bills for everything they do, and use their losing record as justification. What they fail to understand is even losing teams might do some things well, and winning teams do some things wrong. The key is to keep the good things, and replace the poor ones...but that actually involves thinking and analysis. It's easier to just complain.

Again, winning is the cure all. And yes, the Bills switched Peters to left tackle 8 games into his "new, improved, contract." Also as The Dean implied earlier, you can offer an extension too soon or too late, and for too much money or not enough. There's a real skill to it and I agree with those who believe the Bills are a bit weak in this area.

 

On this very subject, here's an interesting read:

 

http://www.profootballtalk.com/2009/06/09/...ssing-practice/

 

It addresses Patriots Logan Mankins and Vince Wilfork. Both former first rounders, both valued starters, dealing differently with the final year of their contracts.

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Maybe, but maybe not. Other than LTs and DEs, I am guessing that corners make more cash than other linemen, thus it makes them harder at times to re-sign.

 

Also, at least our best resources would have been used on linemen. I personally would rather keep Nick Mangold on the Bills than Donte Whitner, even if only for 5 or 6 years. Overall, people who can block, rush the qb and/or stop the run will always mean more overall to a team that plays in Buffalo, and our won/loss record doesn't lie.

This (how to build a roster and retain players) is a pretty complex discussion and the data can be interpreted several different ways.

 

First off, the franchise number for a cornerback, $9.96 million, is higher than any other position except for quarterback.

 

http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d8...mp;confirm=true

 

So what does this mean as far as roster-building strategy? Any number of conclusions can be drawn. One is that because cornerback is a very expensive position, that it is a position that should be filled in the draft and not through free agency. As Bill from NYC says they are harder to re-sign. But doesn't that then support the argument that you draft them? Another conclusion might be that you run a defensive scheme that tends to deemphasize the importance of having elite cornerbacks.

 

I was looking over 3 studies before the draft which analyzed at which positions, first rounders tended to bust at the highest rate. The 3 worst positions as far as success rate were defensive end, offensive tackle, and wide receiver. So as far as building from the trenches, there's that to consider. On the other hand center and guard had the best success rate of first round picks but those are historically the two least drafted positions in the first round.

 

In short there's many ways to build a team. I'm a die-hard Bills fan and optimist. Negativity is for losers. That said, I hope that Brandon can get this franchise turned around. The product on the field won't improve until the performance in the front office does.

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This (how to build a roster and retain players) is a pretty complex discussion and the data can be interpreted several different ways.

 

First off, the franchise number for a cornerback, $9.96 million, is higher than any other position except for quarterback.

 

http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d8...mp;confirm=true

 

So what does this mean as far as roster-building strategy? Any number of conclusions can be drawn. One is that because cornerback is a very expensive position, that it is a position that should be filled in the draft and not through free agency. As Bill from NYC says they are harder to re-sign. But doesn't that then support the argument that you draft them? Another conclusion might be that you run a defensive scheme that tends to deemphasize the importance of having elite cornerbacks.

 

I was looking over 3 studies before the draft which analyzed at which positions, first rounders tended to bust at the highest rate. The 3 worst positions as far as success rate were defensive end, offensive tackle, and wide receiver. So as far as building from the trenches, there's that to consider. On the other hand center and guard had the best success rate of first round picks but those are historically the two least drafted positions in the first round.

 

In short there's many ways to build a team. I'm a die-hard Bills fan and optimist. Negativity is for losers. That said, I hope that Brandon can get this franchise turned around. The product on the field won't improve until the performance in the front office does.

 

Good post. Those numbers are as you say, the averages. My guess is that more LTs make the huge bucks than corners. Same would apply to elite pass rushing DEs but again, this is me guessing.

 

I think that Jauron is governed by a "play not to lose" mentality both on and off the field. This might explain using the huge resources on the secondary and playing them a mile off the ball. Maybe you have also helped to explain his reluctance to take chances in the draft, although Maybin was a very high risk pick imo.

Do you think that Jauron lost some power in the war room this season?

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And yet how does Pittsburgh and New England do it, huh? Is every player on their roster the highest paid in the NFL? Neither team throws money at players but they have rings. And when a player gets pissy about his contract they ship him off. But that's okay because they win. So the Bills are wrong because they don't pay players, yet Pitt and NE are right for not paying players?

 

PTR

 

By having a front office that knows what it's doing. Kevin Colbert and Pioli/Belicheck are some of the finest talent evaluators in the business. They're extremely adept and knowing who to retain and players to replace. They rarely have first or second round bust picks and use UFA effectively.

 

Now, I'm not suggesting this was all the Bills' fault, it wasn't. But I think a little early foresight and creativity on the Bills part, might have prevented this situation from ending the way it did.

 

We all know this is a players's league, at least after the former CBA. In order to mitigate this, signing a guy before he gets to star status is imperative. This is where the talent evaluators must coordinate with management. Levy did right by getting Peters a moderate contract in the summer of 2006. This was only half the battle, as Peters moved to LT in mid 06 and did a commendable job. His play was better in 07. After the 07 season, they elected to sit on principle and avoid recognizing the player. So yes, the Bills demonstrated little foresight and creativity. One wonders what may have happened if Buffalo offered an extension after 07. I'm speculating that Peters would be the LOT in 2009.

 

Buffalo's front office has little credibility, given their penchant for making the wrong decision. This is exemplified by the on field product and which remains a point of contention among fans who recognize that success shouldn't take place one each decade.

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By having a front office that knows what it's doing. Kevin Colbert and Pioli/Belicheck are some of the finest talent evaluators in the business. They're extremely adept and knowing who to retain and players to replace. They rarely have first or second round bust picks and use UFA effectively.

No busts?? I would beg to differ. Pats* draft history The draft is possibly one area where the Pats* are quite mediocre. The fact is the Pats let players walk all the time. They keep winning thanks to superior coaching, game-planning, or cheating. Let's see how they deal with cheap shot fatty Willfork.

 

PTR

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The Bills never make contract numbers of signed players public. They're definitely not going to make them public for unsigned players.

 

As for what was offered, if it was over $9M (as it seems it was) but under $10M (which is the maximum the Eagles were willing to give), Peters could have sucked-it-up and accepted it. The Bills did give him a huge raise after his 2nd season in the NFL, and before he became a legend. The Eagles OTOH gave him nothing the past 5 years.

 

Speaking of which, the Eagles were the ONLY team interested in a) trading a high pick for him and b) giving him what he wanted. Considering at least 3, and probably 4 (the Ravens are reportedly disenchanted with Jared Gaither) teams were looking for starting LT's and used picks before #28 overall, that's pretty odd. Are the Eagles the only smart ones? Time will tell, but Peters has a lofty contract and some lofty expectations to live-up-to, and if he doesn't, he'll be crucified in Philly.

 

 

The Eagles contract averaged about $10.5, if memory serves. (EDIT: I was wrong there, it was $60.65 mill over 6 years, a bit over $10 mill, with more than $24 mill guaranteed in the first two years.) I And you're right, he could have sucked it up and taken less money. But seeing how virtually nobody else does in this our capitalist society, I don't know why you expect Peters to be a special exception and act more saintly than the average bear.

 

The Bills gave him market value in both of his first two contracts. When they did that, they kept him. Then they didn't give him market value in his third contract, and they lost him. This ain't difficult to understand. It's the way that capitalist societies work.

 

And actually, the Eagles weren't the only ones interested, as per Tim Graham, who said, if I remember correctly, at least three teams were interested, including the Giants. The Eagles did give the offer which got accepted, but you're just wrong that other teams weren't interested.

 

And what would make contracts you DON'T SIGN more sacred than ones you do. It's the other way around. The fact that they don't release the terms of contracts they do sign should have nothing to do with Peters's case, as they have no reason to protect his privacy, and there would only be positives in this for the Bills, if of course they gave a competitive contract. But, let's face it, they didn't. So we won't hear about it.

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That's a rock-solid post. :( As I've written here, the Bills (from 1990 - 2005) experienced about nine success stories with their first round picks. The five non-CBs among those success stories were John Fina, Ruben Brown, Eric Moulds, Lee Evans, and Henry Jones. Each of those players was retained for the bulk of his useful career. The four CB success stories were Thomas Smith, Jeff Burris, Antoine Winfield, and Nate Clements. Other than Smith (who stayed seven years, and was the least successful of the four), none of those guys stayed more than six years. The average for the group was to stick around for 5.5 years before leaving for greener pastures.

 

And, as you point out, that's a terrible waste of our first round draft picks. Good teams don't act that way. Take the Colts, for example, during the Bill Polian era. Not every first round pick they've had has been a success story. But, when they have been successful, they've retained that player for the bulk of his useful career. The one exception was Marshall Faulk. But even in his case, they at least got something (a second and a fifth) for trading him away. Compare Polian's discipline--using first round picks as long-term building blocks--with the short-sightedness of the Bills' front office (using first round picks on quick fix CBs, who consistently go first contract and out).

 

 

 

The Polian contrast is interesting. And telling. Great info. Thanks.

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The Bills have shown that they'll invest money in guys they think are worth it. I think most people would have a hard time saying that Clements was worth what he got from the 49'ers. So merely keeping him just for the sake of keeping him, and spending close to 10% of the cap on him, wouldn't have been wise. And from what I recall about Winfield, his wife hated it in Buffalo and wanted out.

 

 

 

Outpaying the '49ers WASN'T our only option. We could have kept franchising him till he signed something more reasonable. Or better yet, we could have signed him a year or two earlier to a new contract. We didn't do that. WHY?

 

And again, the 49ers contract is a mirage. They aren't paying him nearly what it looks like. It's one of those backloaded contracts so he makes good but not sensational money for 4 or 5 years and then has the last two years at about twice his salary for any year before that. So he will be cut before those last two years. So what looked like a $70 million contract was actually about $45 mill or so, not so totally unreasonable.

 

You say we invest money in guys they think they think are worth it, and you're right in some cases, but NOT for CBs. We just don't re-sign them, and then we DO spend first round picks replacing them.

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In the cases of Winfield and Clements, the Bills had little choice to let them go, once they became UFA's and received those huge offers. The key is to identify the players you want to keep and re-sign them BEFORE they become free agents.

 

 

 

Yup. Exactly. And I just don't see that happening at CB. We haven't done it with Greer or McGee. Do you think it will happen with McGee this year? I don't.

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The problem with your logic is, had the Bills pursued mostly linemen, in the early rounds of the draft, they would likely be chasing linemen early in the draft, as there is no reason to believe they would be able to keep them, either. They couldn't/didn't even keep an undrafted UFA lineman, once he became a top level player.

 

Truth is, the Bills are caught in a cycle, mostly because their judgment/luck with DBs has been extraordinary, while they have done a relatively poor job at identifying/developing the big boys. Had they done a poorer job with the DBs, they wouldn't have been so valuable in FA and they might have been able to keep them.

 

It's bad to "chase" any position, of course. Now that the team looks to be pretty well set at DB, you notice they targeted the big guys in this draft, coming away with a DL and two OL in the first two rounds. If Maybin becomes a star, I wouldn't bet on him being in Buffalo when the next contract gets signed.

 

 

 

You have some good points there, particularly that they do appear to have good judgment at picking rookie CBs. But the Bills have extended linemen (Denney, Kelsay and Schobel for three). And not CBs. Extending Schobel cost a ton at the time, and if we had ever had a good pass rusher on the other side would have looked like a great move. They seem able to re-sign linemen. But not CBs.

 

I'm betting they find a way to extend Maybin if he becomes a star (not betting money, though).

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The Eagles contract averaged about $10.5, if memory serves. And you're right, he could have sucked it up and taken less money. But seeing how virtually nobody else does in this our capitalist society, I don't know why you expect Peters to be a special exception and act more saintly than the average bear.

 

The Bills gave him market value in both of his first two contracts. When they did that, they kept him. Then they didn't give him market value in his third contract, and they lost him. This ain't difficult to understand. It's the way that capitalist societies work.

 

And actually, the Eagles weren't the only ones interested, as per Tim Graham, who said, if I remember correctly, at least three teams were interested, including the Giants. The Eagles did give the offer which got accepted, but you're just wrong that other teams weren't interested.

 

And what would make contracts you DON'T SIGN more sacred than ones you do. It's the other way around. The fact that they don't release the terms of contracts they do sign should have nothing to do with Peters's case, as they have no reason to protect his privacy, and there would only be positives in this for the Bills, if of course they gave a competitive contract. But, let's face it, they didn't. So we won't hear about it.

The Eagles' offer was $10M/year. And he could have taken less, given what the Bills invested in him and the contract redo they gave him after 2 years in the league.

 

Speaking of which, that wasn't "fair market;" it was over market for a half-year starter at RT (which Peters was at the time). So taking a little less than $10M wouldn't have been so horrible. That is, if you believe that Peters wasn't looking for $11.5M/year from the Bills.

 

And I heard about the Giants inquiring, but that's about the extent of their "interest." Seeing as how they had the 29th overall pick, they could have offered that and their 3rd rounder for Peters, and gotten him. There was no 3rd team. Again why the Rams didn't offer the 2nd overall and $10M/year, when they'd be spending that draft pick and more money on a wholly unproven player, is anyone's guess. The same goes for the Bungles and the 6th overall pick.

 

The Bills' policy is to not discuss contract numbers, period. Brandon said that they offered him the richest contract in Buffalo Bills history (which is Lee Evans' contract), but he refused it. So we know the Bills didn't offer less than $9M/year, and I read $9.5M/year.

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The problem with your logic is, had the Bills pursued mostly linemen, in the early rounds of the draft, they would likely be chasing linemen early in the draft, as there is no reason to believe they would be able to keep them, either. They couldn't/didn't even keep an undrafted UFA lineman, once he became a top level player.

 

Truth is, the Bills are caught in a cycle, mostly because their judgment/luck with DBs has been extraordinary, while they have done a relatively poor job at identifying/developing the big boys. Had they done a poorer job with the DBs, they wouldn't have been so valuable in FA and they might have been able to keep them.

 

It's bad to "chase" any position, of course. Now that the team looks to be pretty well set at DB, you notice they targeted the big guys in this draft, coming away with a DL and two OL in the first two rounds. If Maybin becomes a star, I wouldn't bet on him being in Buffalo when the next contract gets signed.

The Peters example is not exactly parallel to the CBs who've gone first contract and out. Peters had a great year in 2007; but followed it up by a far less inspiring year in 2008 (especially in pass protection). If he plays up to the best of his ability, there's no question that he'll be one of the elite LTs of the league. The big question mark with him, of course, is motivation.

 

If you could somehow take that question mark away, there'd be no question that the Bills got ripped off in their trade with Philly. But as long as that question mark remains, it drives down the fair value for Peters in any kind of trade. Given that factor, the first round pick the Bills received for him seems . . . close to being fair.

 

Compare the first round pick from Peters to the compensation they've received for losing their first round CBs; which is nothing. (Well, except for whichever compensatory draft picks they may have received for losing those players.)

 

You argue that, when the Bills get a good player at any given position, he's likely to go first contract and out. But the team's past history does not support this argument. From 1990 - 2005, the Bills' most successful draft picks have been as follows:

 

Offensive Line

John Fina - ten years with the Bills, one with the Cardinals

Ruben Brown - nine years with the Bills, four with the Bears

Jonas Jennings - four years in Buffalo, four years (and counting) in San Francisco. He has less than a season and a half worth of starts in his four years with the 49ers.

 

WR

Eric Moulds - ten years with the Bills, two with other teams

Josh Reed - seven years (and counting) with the Bills

Lee Evans - five years with the Bills, locked up for a long time to come.

 

TE

Jay Riemersma - seven years with the Bills, two with the Steelers. He had only nine starts after leaving Buffalo.

 

QB - no draft day success stories from 1990 - 2005

 

RB

Antowain Smith - four years in Buffalo, five years (including two with 8 or more starts) with other teams.

Travis Henry - four years with the Bills, out of a seven year career.

Willis McGahee - four years with the Bills, two years (and counting) with the Ravens

 

DL

Phil Hansen - eleven years with the Bills

John Parella- one year with the Bills, eleven with other teams

Marcellus Wiley - four years with the Bills, six with other teams. But--after his second year in San Diego--he never had more than three sacks in a season.

Aaron Schobel - eight years (and counting) with the Bills

 

LB

Mark Maddox - seven years with the Bills, three with the Cardinals

Sam Rogers - seven years with the Bills, three with other teams

John Holocek - six years with the Bills, two with other teams. He only had 11 starts after he left Buffalo.

Sam Cowart - four years in Buffalo, four with other teams.

Angelo Crowell - six years with the Bills, entering his first year with the Bucs.

 

Safety

Henry Jones - ten years with the Bills, two with other teams

 

CB

Thomas Smith - out of a nine year career, he spent seven with the Bills

Jeff Burris - four years with the Bills, six with other teams

Antoine Winfield - five years with the Bills, five years (and counting) with the Vikings.

Nate Clements - six years with the Bills, two years (and counting) with the 49ers.

Terrence McGee - entering his seventh year with the Bills. His contract is set to expire at the end of the season.

 

As you can see from the above list, the Bills' success stories at the non-CB positions generally spent the bulk of their useful careers in Buffalo. When a non-CB was let go in the prime of his career, there was generally some factor involved other than just money. With Cowart, it was the injury. With Crowell, it was the injury plus the front office's dissatisfaction with how Crowell handled it. The one position (other than CB) where the Bills demonstrated the most short-sightedness was at RB. In that case, they used three first round picks on players who, collectively, gave the team twelve years of play. They also received a total of three third round picks from trading away those guys which, though not much, is better than nothing.

 

Among non-CBs/RBs, the closest the Bills came to a first contract and out situation was Marcellus Wiley. Given that he had two very good years for San Diego before becoming a shell of his former self, it's difficult to believe that TD somehow knew that Wiley wouldn't work out well over the long term. Based on what TD knew at the time, the decision to let Wiley walk may have been the result of some combination of TD's short-sightedness, and the constraints imposed by the mess Butler made of the salary cap.

 

Jonas Jennings is another potential example of a successful non-CB/RB who went first contract and out. But given that he's missed most of his potential starts in San Francisco due to injury, this appears to be a case in which the Bills received most of the value from Jennings' career.

 

Based on the above, there are very few clear examples of the Bills allowing a non-CB/RB to go first contract and out, halfway through a long and solid career. On the other hand, there are a number of examples of good non-CBs/RBs being retained through the bulk of their useful careers. Eric Moulds. Lee Evans. Aaron Schobel. Phil Hansen. Ruben Brown. To a lesser degree, John Fina, Jay Riemersma, and Henry Jones.

 

Compare that to CBs and RBs. Other than Thomas Smith (who spent seven years with the Bills), none of our success stories at CB have spent more than six years with the team. Jabari Greer--an UDFA--left after five years. There are no Lee Evans or Eric Moulds stories among the Bills' CBs; no guys who will spend the vast bulk of their long, useful careers with the Bills. One could say the same thing about the RBs drafted during that time, though Lynch might become an exception to that rule.

 

Given that CBs (due to contract status) and RBs (due to longevity issues) tend to have the shortest stays in Buffalo, the number of first round picks used on the RB/CB positions serves as a potential indication of the front office's short-sightedness. During the '80s--when the Bills were building up to Super Bowl contender status--the team used four first round picks on RBs/DBs. By 1990, none of those four players was on the roster; and none had given the team more than five years of play. However, the Bills had enough success with other players drafted in the '80s to make up for this. During the '90s, the Bills used five first round picks on RBs/CBs. With the exception of Thomas Smith, none of those players gave the team more than five years of play. During the 2000s, the Bills have--thus far--used four first round picks on RBs/CBs. Of the two RBs/CBs taken before 2005, neither is still with the team.

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You have some good points there, particularly that they do appear to have good judgment at picking rookie CBs. But the Bills have extended linemen (Denney, Kelsay and Schobel for three). And not CBs. Extending Schobel cost a ton at the time, and if we had ever had a good pass rusher on the other side would have looked like a great move. They seem able to re-sign linemen. But not CBs.

 

I'm betting they find a way to extend Maybin if he becomes a star (not betting money, though).

Just to add to what you've said Thurman, the Bills also extended Kyle Williams and Brad Butler. Lots of good intelligent posts on this thread. What a relief.

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