Recently, Bleacher Report re-graded the nine most impactful trades of the past 10 years and the Buffalo Bills were involved in two. Unfortunately, the grades were not good.
Over the past 10 years, the Buffalo Bills have been in some of the bigger trades that have had significant impacts on the landscape of the NFL. The bad news is that these deals have not worked out in the favor of the Bills.
In a recent ranking of the nine most impactful trades of the past decade, the Buffalo Bills had two of the top three trades on Brad Gagnon’s list for Bleacher Report. The first deal, which makes the list as the third most impactful, was the Bills trading Marshawn Lynch to the Seattle Seahawks.
In this deal, the Bills sent Lynch to the Seahawks during the 2010 season and in return got a fourth round pick in 2011 and a fifth round pick in 2012. There is no question that the Seahawks got the better deal as Lynch went on to win a Super Bowl as well as make three Pro Bowls over six seasons.
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As for the Bills, it was hard to fault them for making the deal. The Bills drafted Lynch in the first round and he made an immediate impact with two 1,000 rushing seasons but injuries and a suspension limited his impact. The team also used another first round pick on C.J. Spiller, and the belief was that he would be the featured back going forward.
The lack of production, combined with the trade being mid-season, limited the leverage the Bills had in any trade negotiations. It is really hard to argue with the ‘F’ grade that Gagnon gave the Bills on this deal, especially considering they didn’t select any players with those picks that made a lasting impact.
The writing was on the wall when the Bills used a top-10 pick on running back C.J. Spiller in 2010, so this deal was neither surprising nor heavily criticized at the time. If anything, the decision to draft Spiller was a bigger target.
But now, with Lynch a potential Hall of Famer who made a tremendous difference in Seattle, and with neither Chris Hairston nor Tank Carder delivering from the draft slots Buffalo got back for him, this looks like one of the most one-sided trades in league history.
Seahawks grade: A+
Bills grade: F
The other trade that the Bills were apart of comes in as the most impactful trade of the past 10 years, according to Gagnon, which was the Bills decision to trade back from 10th overall in 2017 with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs went on to select Patrick Mahomes, who has won an MVP award already, plus leading his team to a Super Bowl win this past season.
Once again, the Bills didn’t receive a favorable grade here with only a C- but this grade should be much higher. While Mahomes is a great player, and has a bright future and likely a Hall of Fame career, the Bills made some excellent moves with the added picks that resulted in Tre’Davious White that year and Josh Allen and Tremaine Edmunds the following year.
Buffalo was compensated for that move back with an extra third-round pick, as well as a first-rounder in 2018—picks that ultimately landed Pro Bowl linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and, um, wide receiver Zay Jones.
Jones is already a goner, but Allen, White and Edmunds could all pan out magnificently. And if that happens, the Bills might eventually become comfortable with the idea that they passed on both Mahomes and Deshaun Watson and took this trade in order to greatly improve their defense.
But for now, Mahomes is the reigning Super Bowl MVP, the second-youngest regular-season MVP in modern NFL history and already one of the most legendary players in the game. He’s delivered a title to Kansas City, making this trade a franchise-changer for the Chiefs. Meanwhile, the Bills still are still waiting for their first playoff win this century.
Chiefs grade: A+
Bills grade: C-
However, Patrick Mahomes was far from a sure thing at the time of this NFL Draft. There was nine other players selected before Mahomes and of those nine, five did not have their fifth-year option picked up this offseason.
In addition, the Buffalo Bills were in a bizarre position considering they had a new head coach in Sean McDermott but a general manager in Doug Whaley, who was fired shortly after that NFL Draft. Last year, McDermott addressed this and said that being a new head coach he didn’t have time to scout the quarterbacks and instead focused on defense.
While it remains to be seen if this a good excuse, it certainly makes sense. The Buffalo Bills wouldn’t want to use a Top 10 pick on a player that they were not 100% confident in.
The Buffalo Bills made a big trade this offseason with the addition of Stefon Diggs and hopefully 10 years from now, that is a deal that will show to be favorable for them.