Buffalo Bills 2013 Offseason Preview

Will the Bills go after a QB despite Fitzpatrick’s contract? (faniq.com)

If the 2012 Houston Texans were a bigger disappointment than receiving homework on Friday in grade school (nice, Matt), then the 2012 Buffalo Bills are like going to Buffalo, expecting to indulge on countless wings, only to be force fed Buffalo Wings M-E-T-H-O-D Man style. Honestly, the only thing I find more annoying than Ryan Fitzpatrick’s high interception rate is when my word processor unexpectedly quits and no, it doesn’t have an autosave feature in case you were wondering.

The Bills, under new head coach Doug Marrone, bring in the new Syracuse Football mentality of winning. Hold on, I didn’t actually put winning and Syracuse Football in the same sentence, did I? Nonetheless, Marrone seems like a coach who players will actually like playing for. Remember Dick MacPherson? Well, he was Marrone’s college coach, who after the 1990 season decided to jump to the NFL only to be replaced by Bill Parcells after an 8-24 run with the New England Patriots.

Under this new regime, the Bills have already announced that they plan to cut ties with restricted free agent Donald Jones. Four days later, they released their best linebacker and former Green Bay Packers great, Nick Barnett. Then, merely hours later, they announced the releasing of starting strong safety George Wilson. Doing so has saved the Bills something in the neighborhood of $6.4 million dollars — dollars they should probably use on impending free agent guard, Andy Levitre.

The Bills signed Mario Williams last season in hopes that he’d be able to slow down the likes of Tom Brady. Unfortunately, Williams was dealing with a hand injury, which made it almost impossible for him to shed blocks and pass rush. Assuming he comes back in full health, I expect him to be one of the leading candidates for Comeback Player of the Year. Also, targeting a guy like Chris Kelsay should help Williams garner fewer double teams.

As far as pass rushing is concerned, the saddest development might be the impending retirement of Shawne Merriman. Merriman might choose to sign elsewhere, but with the Bills looking to get younger, expect the lights to finally be out for the once dominant outside linebacker.

I think the Bills, who were 6-10 last year, need to upgrade at quarterback, while still getting younger at positions like safety and tight end. With plenty of defense coming out of this draft, the Bills might want to consider trading away their 8th overall pick and then ringing in on a QB in the later rounds. I highly doubt they follow the formula and draft a young outside linebacker or tight end, especially considering their strong suggestions of wanting a new QB.

It looks like the Bills can get rid of the monster contract they gave Fitzpatrick without a cap penalty, but that might mean another season of going through growing pains. This is something that is hard to ask any fan base, nevermind asking the one that hasn’t seen their team in the playoffs since 1999. Every year that passes by, the once famous Buffalo Wings begin to become a little harder to digest for the fans who feel as though their team can’t even put together an 8-8 record.

Possible Free Agents:

QB Tarvaris Jackson
QB Tyler Thigpen
RB Tashard Choice
FB Corey McIntyre
WR Ruvell Martin
WR Donald Jones
WR David Nelson
TE Mike Caussin (RFA)
G Andy Levitre
G Chad Rinehart
T Colin Brown (RFA)
DE Kyle Moore
DE Shawne Merriman
DT Spencer Johnson
LB Nick Barnett
LB Bryan Scott
CB Leodis McKelvin
S George Wilson
S Jairus Byrd

Draft Picks:

1st Round — #8 — Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas — With general manager Buddy Nix coming out and saying he wants to find the franchises future Quarterback you’ve got to believe Ryan Fitzpatrick’s days are numbered. I think if Gerogia’s outside linebacker, Alec Ogletree is available you take him, but with Buddy having said he’s been rather impressed by Wilson, don’t be surprised if they go QB.
2nd Round
3rd Round
4th Round
5th Round
6th Round

By: Mike Barbosa
E-mail: mbarbosa@thefootballjuice.com
Twitter: @Mike_TFJ

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