As you may have seen late last night, middle linebacker Paul Posluszny is no longer a Buffalo Bill. The Jacksonville Jaguars swooped in and signed Poz to a 6-year contract reportedly worth $7 million per season.
This is definitely a bit of a blow, but how much does losing Poz actually hurt the Bills? Not a big deal, or a disaster?
Let’s take a look at both sides of that argument:
This is a disaster:
1) Have you seen the depth chart at inside linebacker? – Yeah, with Poz gone this is not the most inspiring group. In fact, here is the group: veterans Andra Davis and Reggie Torbor and rookies Kelvin Sheppard and Chris White. Ouch. Can anyone in this group cover ANYONE in the passing game? Poz wasn’t fantastic against the pass, but he is better than any of these guys.
2) You are aware he was far and away Buffalo’s leading tackler last year, right? – Poz was in fact Buffalo’s leading tackler. (And there’s a pretty good chance Buffalo’s second-leading tackler in 2010, Donte Whitner, also will not return.) That’s 150 tackles or so that are going to have to be made up somewhere. Not to mention Poz was a captain and a team leader.
3) I’m so sick of that *^$@!% cheap #$@%@#$ Ralph Wilson. #&&$@$& penny-pinching ^&*&#&*&& old %*^$%!!! – Okay, first off, watch your mouth. Think of the children. Second, yes, not signing your highest-priority free agent does come off as pretty cheap. And we all know the Bills can be a “bit” stingy at times.
This isn’t so bad:
1) Really, how good is Poz? – Yeah, he was Buffalo’s leading tackler last season, but didn’t it seem like most of his tackles were made after some running back had already gained eight yards? How many game-changing plays has Poz made in his career? How often does he make plays in the backfield?
2) Good, now he can be on someone else’s injured reserve. – Poz has always been injury-prone, and if you have to wonder how long that arm he basically shattered a few years ago is going to hold up.
3) Six years, $7 million per year? You can have him, Jaguars. – That’s not an exorbiant price, but it’s pretty hefty for a linebacker who isn’t really elite.
Here’s my take – this isn’t good, but it’s not a disaster either. Short-term, it’s a big loss: Poz is better than Torbor and Davis, who are probably penciled in as the starters. However, that’s simply a lot of money for a guy who is not a superstar and is injury-prone. He was clearly wasn’t comfortable in the 3-4 defense either, and Buffalo is going to shifting more and more to the 3-4.
All in all, in the long-term, losing Poz isn’t too bad. This season, however? An already-struggling run defense just took a hit. Let’s hope Kelvin Sheppard is ready to go.