The Building Blocks: Opening the Next Window
The Buffalo Bills feature 24 unrestricted free agents, a new coaching staff, and perhaps a new beginning. Who will the Bills be building around, and who SHOULD they be building around?
Championship teams don’t happen overnight. Super Bowl winning teams aren’t built based on one or two free agency periods. As much as parity is prided upon by the NFL each year, the formula for winning a championship remains largely the same. Draft well, stack draft classes, supplement with free agents, and have a coach to bring it all together.
Simple? Of course there are other factors that interrupt even the best laid plans, such as injuries, better teams, and those magical odd moments that sometimes are unexplainable (strange bounces, and never-before-seen calls).
To help you out so you don’t get too much false hope entering any season, and to help you justify excitement levels with off-season moves for the Buffalo Bills, I have come up with the BuffaloBlock System, or BS.
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The BS is simple, I will provide you categories of players, and identify who the folks who get paid a lot more than a contributor will have to decide on to create a Buffalo Bills dynasty around.
The BS tells you, the fan, who our building blocks truly are. Who can be traded, and who can not be. By using BS, you will understand just how close, or far the Buffalo Bills are from multiple championships.
The Time is Now Guy – BS Says – Not a Building Block
The guys in this category all could be on Super Bowl teams. They have reasonable contracts, and would be great supplemental pieces to get their position over the top on a team that is just a piece or two away. Unforatunately, due to age, they can not be considered a building block of the Buffalo Bills. Their window to win a championship is now. If the Bills rebuild, these are guys that either will have a difficult time with it, or possibly be traded.
DT Kyle Williams — Possibly retiring this offseason. Even if he doesn’t, based on age and remaining contract length, he isn’t a future building block. He just isn’t a building block at this stage of his career.
RB LeSean McCoy — His best years are right now. Not in the future, and he doesn’t owe anybody anything in terms of mentoring the next generation. Just had one of the best seasons I have ever seen from a Bills running back.
LG Richie Incognito — 33 years old, but signed until 2019. He will be around, but not the basis of how you build a franchise. Hopefully he steadies building blocks on the offensive line for those years.
Other teams may have too many of these guys, and not enough real franchise building blocks. The problem with these guys is they will be Pro Bowl players one year, and fall the next, and be a bad contract on the back-end.
The Current Window
I don’t know how these guys are in the locker room, however, their contract and age states they better be Prob Bowl players or top performers on the team, or else you can forget a championship. They are the present blocks that all other pieces revolve around at this present time.
TE Charles Clay, DE/OLB Jerry Hughes, LT Cordy Glenn, C Eric Wood, and DT Marcel Dareus.
The names above represent key positions that you won’t be drafting or signing free agents for the majority of their contracts. When they don’t perform or suffer injuries/suspensions, the team has a mountain to climb to replace them. Glenn and Dareus represent the ideal player you want in this category. They are homegrown and signed long-term thru their prime. The positions they represent are also hits in the draft that teams covet.
The New French Doors
These guys are what you hope will be the results of stacked draft classes. They will help you win in the current window on their current deals, but really the Bills need to make room to keep as many as possible to create the stable foundation championship teams are built upon. Maybe the current window guys and these will partner to get to the playoffs soon, but ideally in a rebuild or reinforcing path, these are the critical decisions to make.
WR Sammy Watkins, LB Preston Brown, RT Seantrel Henderson, S Aaron Williams, CB Ronald Darby, and CB Nikell Robey-Coleman
Too young to tell if they are worth attempting to keep long term, however, they do show potential, and with the right development, could propel the building blocks from 8-8 to 11-5 with the right mix.
DE Shaq Lawson, LB Reggie Ragland, RG John Miller, RB Johnathon Williams, CB Kevon Seymour, DT Adolphus Washington
Newsflash, there can be only one quarterback. If you have 2 quarterbacks you may have depth, but also distractions that can derail a playoff run. The Bills are going to decide before March if Tyrod Taylor is their QB. If he is, Cardale Jones can’t be a building block, because he won’t be on the field. He can be a strong support piece, and give key moments like Frank Reich.