Buffalo Bills: Subtle clues from Brandon Beane’s press conference

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) /

Brandon Beane’s press conference at One Bills Drive this past Friday involved a few subtle clues as to what the Buffalo Bills might do in the draft.

Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane held a press conference at One Bills Drive this past Friday. Beane is an expert at using a lot of words to say very little. It’s difficult to have any concrete takeaways from most of his statements.

He does, however, drop subtle clues occasionally leaving the media and fans to speculate on the meaning of particular words and statements.

A day after this press conference, the Jets traded up to the No. 3 overall spot in the draft with the Indianapolis Colts. Even though the press conference was before the trade, it’s now even more important to look for minor clues to try to determine if the Bills might be willing to make a trade up for a quarterback. The team probably needs to get up to the No. 2 overall pick to make sure they get their guy now that the Jets have moved to No. 3.

So let’s dig into his comments, first starting with the statement from Beane on his desire to trade up further. He tried to assure the media that the Bills were not necessarily looking to trade up from No. 12.

"“I know everybody assumes we’re going higher, but I don’t know that. But there are some players at 12 that I know would not have fallen to 21, so I’m excited about that. We’re in the range for some of these guys and that’s not necessarily quarterback.”"

With this statement, Beane is trying to send a message to GM’s across the league that the Bills are not desperate to trade up. He then goes out of his way to point out that it might not necessarily be a quarterback who the Bills value which also helps in trade negotiations as teams know they can charge more if you are trading up for what you believe is a franchise quarterback.

I don’t think that he’s being completely truthful about it not necessarily being a quarterback, but where I do see some truth is that Beane assigns strict values to things and that he will not pay more than he has deemed appropriate even if that means missing out on a quarterback that he likes.

Most of the clues I noticed from Beane’s press conference came while discussing the signing of free agent quarterback AJ McCarron.

"“We did our homework on all these guys, we looked at a lot of different areas, we took it slow. I know everyone was jumping on guys quick, but I went with the more methodical, let’s make the right decision and not get into chase mode.”"

With the above statement, Beane mentions the Bills took their time indicating they were not desperate to find a signal caller in free agency. You can take this as either a sign of confidence in Nathan Peterman or that the team wasn’t worried about using as many assets in free agency for a quarterback because they plan on using their draft assets instead.

The move paid off in the sense that the Bills got McCarron for pennies on the dollar when compared to other quarterback contracts around the league this offseason.

Related Story: Determining AJ McCarron’s role in 2018

The next hint related to McCarron came at the end of a response about whether he was a bridge quarterback.

"“He [McCarron] felt like this was a good opportunity for him to come in and win a job. We felt like it was a good opportunity for him to come in and showcase his talents so that’s where the marriage, so to speak, came.”"

What I noticed in the above sentence was that at no point did Beane indicate he believes that McCarron is capable of winning the starting role. He said, AJ thinks he can win the job and that Beane thinks he can show off his talents. I wonder if that was a slip indicating he has bigger plans at quarterback still to come this offseason or just an oversight. Another clue came when Beane said:

"“We got him [McCarron] and Nathan right now on the roster and those guys will compete. We’ll see what else happens between now and the first game.”"

There was no reason for Beane to add the second sentence above. The message this sends to me is that he expects change between now and the first game. To prove this, it’s not like you hear him talking about what he is looking to do at left guard between now and the first game after the signing of Richie Incognito but he did mention it in regards to AJ McCarron.

Beane also sent a message to the agents of any players the Bills are still negotiating with in free agency that if they are looking for top dollar, Buffalo is not the place for them. Beane said:

"“We’re very low on money. We can do some lower-level things but nothing that’s going to hit the ticker.”"

Another topic covered was the lack of moves at wide receiver despite the Bills need at the position. If you were disappointed that the Bills didn’t snag a wide receiver, here is what Beane had to say:

"“We’ll continue to look at all areas including wide receiver. But we’re looking for fit and best value. We didn’t find that, but we still have the draft. If you remember, that position specifically, a couple guys came open in May last year.”"

In the above statement, Beane once again reinforces that he believes in value and he has proven in his short tenure that he does not stray from that value. That is the one thing that has me worried in relation to moving up in the draft for a quarterback because I don’t think Beane will mortgage the farm to get his guy.

In regards to adding receiver depth, it sounds like the Bills will look to add one in the draft and potentially another after it.

The last quote I want to touch on is related to the Bills free agent signings on the defensive line. Some have speculated that it could mean that Jerry Hughes or Shaq Lawson will be traded or cut. Beane flatly denied that, and went on to say:

"“I think you saw how we did it at Carolina. We want to be strong up front and Sean does as well. Our staff knows what we’re looking for, we want to protect on the offensive line and wreak havoc on the defensive line and that was the moves with Star and Trent Murphy.”"

Beane obviously can’t say he wants to trade Shaq or Jerry but it’s true that both he and McDermott believe in having a strong defensive front line. While I do think it’s possible that they trade either Lawson or Hughes, I think it’s more likely to happen after June 1, when the cap hit would be less to the Bills.

One thing that’s interesting in relation to the defensive line compared to the quarterback position is how they approached each roster deficiency so far. They gave out contracts totaling $78.5 million with over $30 million guaranteed to Star Lotulelei, Trent Murphy, and Kyle Williams.

Related Story: On Kyle Williams’ decision to return for one more year

The news of Star signing happened days before free agency became official further indicating the Bills were aggressive to help their defensive line.

At quarterback, they acted in the opposite manner. They let the market sort itself out for the top quarterbacks and then they signed McCarron on the cheap after the dust settled.

Next: 2018 full first-round mock draft 2.0

To me, more than anything else that was said above, that indicates that they plan to do whatever it takes, within reason, to move up to the No. 2 spot in the draft in order to take a quarterback.