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Stability over Flash. Why the Bills Shouldn’t Trade.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – DECEMBER 02: Dalvin Tomlinson #94 of the New York Giants celebrates his third quarter tackled against the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium on December 02, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

When Beane came to town in spring of 2019 he immediately developed the identity of a dealing General Managers. In his first couple years Beane was never afraid to pick up the phone to acquire players or assets. From Sammy Watkins, to Marcell Darues, to trading up for Josh Allen. Beane’s aggressiveness in his early tenure has created an  insatiable appetite for action every trade deadline. 

If you are one of the countless members of the Bills Mafia calling for the Bills to “DO SOMETHING,”  and throwing out ridiculous trade proposals that even Madden wouldn’t accept, you are wrong. A trade in this season COULD help the Bills make a deeper playoff run, but could be a destabilizing action for the years ahead.

Cap Situation

According to Sportstract, assuming the worst and the salary cap stay at it’s projected floor, the Bills would have about 5 million in projected cap space for 2021. (That number could change once the NFL figures how much revenue it really lost this year.) That is 5 million with Matt Milano becoming a free agent, Josh Allen’s and Tremaine Edmunds fifth year options and possible extensions approach, and holes on the team that need to be filled.  That immediately disqualifies any player with a hefty cap number going into 2021. Bringing in a player like Geno Atkins, Stephon Gilmore, Fletcher Cox, or a Kerrigan would be impractical without finding a way to the trading team eating the contract or taking on a Bills bad contract. Beane aggressively attacked the Bills dire cap situation upon becoming GM and he will not put a team back in place where they are up against the cap again. It may make sense to go all in for teams with aging quarterbacks like the Saints but it simply would not be worth it for the Bills. 

David Richard/Associated Press

Value of Assets 

“Well Ryan, what about trading for a rookie contract.” Dalvin Tomlinson is a name that has been floated around plenty. When I started writing this Desmond King was on the market. Now this is more a philosophical than it is an argument against making a trade. Is it worth a 3rd, 5th, or 6th round pick to bring in a rental player that will leave at the end of the season in the hopes to win at comp pick bingo in 2021? Long term success is built through drafts. Beane and company have proven themselves to be competent talent evaluators. 

Trust the Process

What is the real issue with the defense this year? It is unknown whether Tremaine Edmunds is fully recovered, Matt Milano remains on a pitch count, and the Bills have not had their full rotation of cornerback for a single game. This defense has not had the injury luck of last year and McDermott has proven before he can right a ship mid year. Despite the poor showings there is reason to believe this team can turn it around it.The defense has shown flashes of being a lock down defense but has yet to put together four quarters of success defense. 

At the end of the day, this team is 6-2 at the halfway point for the second straight year. Up until the next Steelers game, there Bills probably won’t face a stand out defense. The offense will be (should) able to give the defense plenty of cushion while it gets healthy and improves.

This is not to say any trade would be bad. It is to understand that trades have consequences. There are smart value trades to be made. But does getting a 1-tech make this a Super Bowl team? Maybe, but probably not. 

Trusting the process, protecting the future, and finding ways to win with who you have in house is the recipe for sustainability. 

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