Buffalo Bills Lack “Top 50” Trade Value According To Grantland’s Bill Barnwell


Oct. 14, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver (13) Stevie Johnson stretches on the sidelines against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Bills defeated the Cardinals 19-16 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills are entering this season without much hype or expectation. For what seems like the 100th time since Jim Kelly was last under center at Ralph Wilson Stadium the Bills have ‘blown it up’ and have a new quarterback in town in an attempt to return to relevancy for the moribund franchise.

As a Bills fan I’m acutely aware that the team is devoid of any truly valuable players. I mean Mario Williams is an exceptional football player, but he gets paid an exceptional amount of money, mitigating that value.

So when I headed on over to Grantland to check out Bill Barnwell’s Top 50 assets (here & here) in the NFL.

Here are the “rules” as outlined in the piece by Barnwell:

"1. Contracts matter. Mike Wallace is a better receiver than Randall Cobb, but Wallace just signed a five-year contract that guarantees him $27 million, while the Packers have Cobb under contract for two more years at a total cost of less than $1.9 million.2. Contracts don’t matter as much as they do in the NBA version of this column. NBA contracts are guaranteed and clearly defined. NFL contracts have nonguaranteed base salaries and bonuses that are often paid early in a deal, even as the cap hit stretches across the length of the deal. Those bonuses then accelerate onto the current cap in the event of a trade, but the team can also get out of the contract without having to pay the nonguaranteed base salaries if they wa— you’re falling asleep. Wake up. For the purposes of this column, we’re considering both the specific nature of the current point in the player’s contract (e.g., Matt Ryan having just one year left on his contract) as well as the broader terms of the entire contract (e.g., the entirety of Ryan’s deal).3. Age matters. Tom Brady is an incredible quarterback, but when he made his way into the Patriots lineup in 2001, Robert Griffin III was in sixth grade. Remember the golden rule of NFL contracts: You don’t value a player for what he’s done, you value him for what he’s going to do. That’s in play here.4. Pretend that every team can fit each player on this list within their cap and that they have a below-average starter at the position in question. The Broncos aren’t going to deal Von Miller for Cam Newton because they have Peyton Manning, even though that trade would happen in a heartbeat if Brock Osweiler were starting in Denver.5. Positional scarcity matters. Quarterbacks are more valuable than pass rushers, who are more valuable than wide receivers, who are more valuable than interior linemen. When in doubt, we looked at how organizations valued top players at each position when re-signing their own or shopping in free agency.6. It’s a question of degree. The Steelers might not trade Ben Roethlisberger for Russell Wilson, but they’d have to give the possibility of acquiring a younger, cheaper, healthier guy some thought. The Seahawks would hang up on the Steelers if they called and offered Roethlisberger for Wilson.7. This list runs in reverse order. If Patrick Willis is 25th on the list, the 49ers would probably at least consider dealing him for one of the first 24 players on the list, but they wouldn’t bother having much of a conversation for players 26 through 50."

The list is quite quarterback heavy seeing as how quarterback is the most important position in the NFL, and knowing the Bills quarterback situation, there’s one strike against the Bills for the purpose of this list.

I didn’t have high hopes for a large number of Bills to be on the list, but I thought a couple might get at least an honourable mention.

Alas, not one single Bill made the list, nor were any on the lengthy list of honourable mentions that preceded Part I of the article. While I know that this literally means nothing at all, it is still a rather disheartening to see about your team.

While some omissions are more understandable than others (like Mario Williams), I truly believe that a few members of the Bills would be worthy of at least a mention.

Firstly there’s CJ Spiller. The Bills RB rushed for 1,244 yards on only 207 carries and scored 6 touchdowns during the 2012 season; his 6.0 yards per carry average led the NFL. In addition to this, Spiller also caught 43 passes for 459 yards with two receiving touchdowns. If a 25-year old running back, presumably about to enter his prime doesn’t have trade value I don’t know what does.

Stevie Johnson might not be the prototypical star wide receiver, but he just put up his third straight 1000 yard receiving season despite the fact that he has played all three of those seasons for the Buffalo Bills, while being thrown the ball by the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick et al. Given his obvious talent, and potential to break out with someone of even average competence would be enticing to potential suitors. Is he a Top 50 trade asset in the NFL? Obviously debatable, but not considering him would be a mistake and a disservice to his talent.

Okay so now that I’m actually looking at the Bills depth chart, maybe they don’t have as many Top 50 Trade Asset snubs as I originally thought, and like I said lists like this don’t mean a whole lot anyways.

Would the Bills take any player on this list? Gladly! Are the Bills going to be awful because they don’t have anyone on this list? Absolutely not, they’re going to be

awful because Kevin Kolb is their QB

just fine.