With one game remaining in his second season, Rex Ryan has been relieved of his duties as the Head Coach of the Buffalo Bills.
While I am just as tired of the coaching carousel as the rest of you, I do think it was the right move. Rex shouldn’t be the only one to blame, though. Doug Whaley and Brandon should also be looked at to take some of the blame.
With the lowest draft retention rate in the NFL by far and the salary cap space of a Super Bowl contender, the Buffalo Bills‘ front office has not done themselves any favors as they now look to the future.
For awhile I thought Doug Whaley was the perfect fit. He came from Pittsburgh which was always regarded for their high quality staff over the years and Whaley was the first GM in some years that was young and fresh and could bring a new perspective to Buffalo.
First, we’ll start with the LeSean McCoy trade. That trade goes as a big credit under Whaley, but if you look deeper it seems more like it fell into his lap. Chip Kelly was looking to unload big salaries and bring in “his style” of players so when Whaley asked who he liked on the Buffalo Bills roster he chose former Oregon player Kiko Alonso for an even trade.
Whaley still deserves credit for that trade, especially seeing how well McCoy is producing for this team.
Next is Sammy Watkins. Let me clarify I like Watkins a lot and I believe when healthy and being used the right way he can be a top 5 WR in this league. When the Bills moved up to the fourth pick in that draft I was hoping to draft Khalil Mack, a well rounded LB who could have made a perfect fit to this defense that had a glaring need for LB at the time. Someone who could rush the passer, cover the run and cover the pass.
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The 2014 Draft was also one of the most WR rich drafts in recent history, with players like Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham, Brandin Cooks, Kelvin Benjamin, Marquise Lee and many more.
The Bills could have also saved another first round pick by staying put at #9 in that draft and taken an offensive lineman, for example Taylor Lewan. As Dallas and Oakland have shown us, having a great offensive line in place goes a long way in building a successful offense. Take note that the Buffalo Bills have a glaring need at RT, Seantrel Henderson is serving a suspension and having to plug Jordan Mills in hasn’t worked out well.
Let’s move on to the lack of salary cap space the Bills have.
There is a lot of money tied up in players who haven’t produced in accordance with their paycheck for one reason or another.
Marcell Dareus missed the first four games due to his second suspension and then missed a few more due to injury. Jerry Hughes has had a down season after putting up multiple double digit sack seasons. Charles Clay has just been starting to get more involved in the offense in the last few weeks.
Let me clarify that I also like Clay and believe he can be a premier TE, but remember the Bills have an offense geared for running the ball, so why the need to get in a bidding war with Miami for Clay?
Stephon Gilmore, as well as 23 other free agents, are set to hit the market next year and the Bills are already closer to the salary cap than they should be. Whether they place the franchise tag on Gilmore or try to work out a deal if possible, it will place more strain on cap space. With a lack of depth in multiple positions already, there are some good players they would hope to retain. However, it might not be possible.
Last, but certainly not least, is the QB position. Why the need to give Tyrod Taylor a new contract when he was committed and ready to play this season under his old one? Taylor has had a similar season as he did last year with the standout games being against Seattle and Sunday’s game against Miami. Maybe he does deserve more time to prove himself as a franchise QB, but with his option can the Buffalo Bills afford to keep him as well as make other moves essential to this roster?
Any chance to renegotiate is probably gone with the decision to start EJ Manuel in the season finale against the Jets.
Who would the Bills turn to at QB if Taylor leaves? Manuel will get another chance to show how he has progressed this Sunday. The Bills have repeatedly said Cardale Jones isn’t ready. How far away is Jones from starting? The Bills need to find that out as soon as possible. Other options are hoping to find a QB in the draft or Free Agency.
Kirk Cousins is the most notable player on that list and it looks like Washington isn’t letting him go. The rest of the list is questionable at best in my opinion. Can one of those QB free agents be plugged in and start next season?
That question most likely wouldn’t be answered until next pre-season, which would leave the Bills in the same place they have been for so many years with the exception of this season — not knowing who the starting QB will be.
Then there is the possibility of a trade. With names like Tony Romo and Jimmy Garoppolo floating around as potential trade targets, should that be something for the Buffalo Bills to explore? Whaley has been aggressive in the past and with the firing of Rex Ryan, the pressure seems to have shifted to Doug Whaley to turn things around.
Between fans and media, his name has been trending these days. This may be his last chance to prove to Terry and Kim Pegula whether or not he should remain as General Manager for the Buffalo Bills.
What do you think Doug Whaley needs to do this offseason to keep the owner’s trust? Leave your comments below!