Recently the Bills traded away two of their best players in Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby. With several reports that the team may not be done dealing their veteran players in exchange for draft picks, I took a look at the Bills current roster and determined seven players who could be traded at some point this season. Players are listed from most likely to least likely to be traded.
Trade 1: Reggie Ragland to the Redskins for a fourth round pick
Currently Ragland is buried on the Bills depth chart as he doesn’t fit Sean McDermott’s defensive system and the team is expected to move him if possible. The Redskins have a few solid options to start at inside linebacker in their 3-4 defense. However, none of them offer the same upside as Ragland. This offseason, the Redskins wanted to get younger on defense and adding Ragland would give the team a potential long-term starter. Both current starting inside linebackers will be free agents after the season while Ragland only has a $1.6 million cap number for the 2018 season. Flipping a fourth round pick for the former second round player is the kind of move the Redskins need to make.
Trade 2: Tyrod Taylor to the Jaguars for a conditional third round pick
If the Jaguars make the playoffs then they will give the Bills a second round pick instead, otherwise it remains a third round pick. Taylor looks like a good quarterback, as the Bills run the ball, call play action deep ball passes and play strong defense; something the Jaguars want to implement. However, Blake Bortles seems to be finished as a NFL starter, although he was recenelt ynamed the starter for week 1. But the team has all the pieces in place to make a playoff push. Taylor would give the Jaguars the consistent quarterback play they need while benching Bortles. With Bortles benched, it protects the Jaguars from him getting hurt and them owning him $19 million next season.
Moving Taylor allows the Bills to take a look at fifth round rookie Nathan Peterman. While I don’t believe the Bills view Peterman as a potential franchise quarterback, maybe he proves them wrong. At the very least trading Taylor nets the Bills another day two draft pick and ensures them that Taylor won’t win them a game or two on his own as the team hopes to land a top three pick.
Trade 3: Charles Clay to the Cardinals for a fifth round pick
Currently the Cardinals starting tight end is Jermaine Gresham, needless to say the team can upgrade fairly easy. With a lack of consistent weapons on offense outside of David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, Clay would provide Carson Palmer a jack-of-all-trades playmaker. Injuries have derailed Clay’s time in Buffalo, but Clay was a beast in Miami. For the cost of a fifth round pick, the Cardinals can add another weapon to their offense. Meanwhile the Bills move on from Clay, don’t have to worry about releasing him after the season with a $9 million cap hit and open up playing time for 2015 sixth round pick, Nick O’Leary.
Trade 4: LeSean McCoy to the Chiefs for a 2018 third round pick, 2019 fourth round pick and Spence Ware
Andy Reid isn’t afraid to acquire his former players in Philadelphia and McCoy would give the Chiefs a proven three-down, dynamic playmaker in the backfield. After the Chiefs traded away their first round pick in 2018 in the Patrick Mahomes draft day trade, the team will be reluctant to trade their second round pick, but a combination of a third, a fourth and Ware should be enough to land the almost 30 year old veteran. The Chiefs offense would immediately become more dangerous with a trio of Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and McCoy.
The Bills aren’t likely to bring back McCoy in 2018 when they can save $3.7 million against the cap by releasing him. The team has high expectations in second-year pro Jonathan Williams and would like to get a look at him as the starting running back. Once Ware is healthy, he will prove to the Bills to be a 25 year old back who can split carries with Williams, or start if Williams struggles. While most fans would like to see a first or second round pick for McCoy, an almost 30 year old running back with 2,280 career touches isn’t likely to fetch that kind of offer. The Chiefs might have to rework a contract or two in order to fit McCoy into their cap space, but it’s possible.
Trade 5: Lorenzo Alexander to the Broncos for a fourth round pick.
Lorenzo Alexander is coming off a career year in Buffalo with 12.5 sacks. However, at age 34, Alexander isn’t going to improve off of that this season. While the Broncos have an excellent defense, they are currently dealing with injuries at the linebacker position. Alexander has experience at both inside and outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. The Broncos could use his depth and veteran leadership now that Shane Ray is expected to be sidelined for the first month of the season with a thumb injury, plus DeMarcus Ware’s retirement. In addition, Alexander can contribute on special teams; he is well worth a fourth round pick. The Bills flip an aging player with no upside for another fourth round pick. It also allows the Bills to take a look at fifth round rookie, Matt Milano at outside linebacker.
Trade 6: Marcell Dareus to the Cowboys for a second round pick
Earlier in the offseason Jerry Jones said he wanted the team to get a “war daddy” along the defensive line. Dareus may or may not be a “war daddy”, who knows what Jones meant by that, but Dareus would give the Cowboys their best defensive lineman they’ve had since the DeMarcus Ware prime days. Despite being only 28 years old, Dareus has a checkered off-field history and the new Bills regime may not want to put up with it anymore. We know Jones is willing to take chances on players with off-field concerns. While Dareus has struggled the last two seasons, during the 2013 and 2014 seasons, he had 17.5 sacks. The Cowboys have proven that they will give up draft picks for big name guys and Dareus could seriously improve a weak Cowboys defensive line.
With this trade the Bills could net their third or potentially fourth second round pick in the 2018 draft. With the combination of Dareus’ decline the last two seasons, his $22 million cap hit, if they release him after the season, and with the team wanting to take a look at Adolphus Washington as the starter; Dareus could be a serious trade option for the Bills.
Trade 7: Cordy Glenn to the Seahawks for a first round pick and Jermaine Kearse
In the past the Seahawks have made several trades swapping their first round draft picks for proven veteran players; Percy Harvin in 2013 and Jimmy Graham in 2015. Starting left tackle, George Fant tore his ACL during the Seahawks preseason game and is out for the season. The Seahawks need to get serious about protecting Russell Wilson and trading for Glenn could be a major step towards that goal. Sending back Kearse isn’t a big deal for the Seahawks, as he is fourth on the depth chart behind both Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett. Plus the Seahawks would like to keep both Kenny Lawler and Kasen Williams to go along with third round rookie Amara Darboh.
Glenn is one of the more underrated left tackles in the league, but he is injury prone and the team has high hopes for second round rookie Dion Dawkins. While reports have surfaced that the team doesn’t plan to move Dawkins to left tackle, if they trade Glenn they should give the rookie a shot at left tackle. Remember Dawkins is like Glenn; a college guard/tackle tweener who could play left tackle in the NFL. Adding another first round pick from this trade would also allow the team to take a tackle in the draft, which is expected to be loaded with good tackle prospects. Adding Kearse would provide the Bills the veteran leadership at the wide receiver position and he can play on the outside allowing Jordan Matthews to slide back into the slot.
Now before the Bills fan base comes to my front door with an angry mob, remember these are just hypothetical trades. Also remember, no one saw the Bills trading their number one wide receiver and cornerback in the same day, so you never say never with NFL trades. Now to conclude the added draft picks for the Bills in these hypothetical trades; they netted a 2018 first, one or two seconds, one or two thirds, two fourths, a fifth and a 2019 fourth round pick. If the Bills are serious about rebuilding the team through the draft, adding seven extra picks to their already nine draft picks in 2018 is the way to do it.