It was a full house at WGRZ on Sunday, as The Buffalo News' Bucky Gleason, Vic Carucci and Jay Skurski joined Channel 2's Adam Benigni and Heather Prusak for an episode of "Sports Talk Sunday."
The quintet focused on financial decisions facing the Bills this week, evaluations of two key Sabres and then closed with a stirring video of "Baby Shawn" from Niagara Falls.
The show aired originally at 11:30 p.m. March 6 on WGRZ-TV. Here are five talking points from the show:
1) Can the Bills keep guard Richie Incognito? The News' Tyler Dunne penned a terrific feature on Incognito, the embattled lineman who turned his career around -- off the field, especially -- and has set himself up for a big pay day. Given the Bills' position against the NFL salary cap, keeping the elite run blocker will be a tall task.
Carucci admits that it will be tough for the Bills to keep him. With roughly $12 or $13 million of cap space, Buffalo still has to sign its restricted free agents and draft picks, and Incognito could command as much as $8 per year on the open market. Skurski says all it could take is a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are roughly $80 million under the cap, to offer upwards of $10 million per season.
2) The absurdity of a hometown discount: One topic mentioned in Dunne's piece on Incognito was whether he'd take a hometown discount to stay in Buffalo. Bucky agrees that it's Incognito's time to get paid -- he's 33, after all -- and Vic notes that there's "no sentimentality in negotiating."
Skurski points the finger at Bills GM Doug Whaley, who said before the offseason that his top priority would be to bring back Cordy Glenn and Incognito, one of the best left sides of an NFL offensive line. Whaley slapped the franchise tag on Glenn, but the onus is on him to meet this second challenge.
3) Praising Peyton: The Broncos confirmed that Peyton Manning has played his last snap in the NFL, and he'll have a press conference today. Carucci points to Manning's landscape-altering ability to manage the game at the line of scrimmage with a "computer-like football brain."
Vic adds that Tom Brady -- who wrote a glowing Facebook post about Manning's career -- adopted many of Peyton's tactics. Manning ends his career as a five-time league MVP and a two-time Super Bowl champion.
4) On Evander Kane, Dan Bylsma: WGRZ's Heather Prusak catches fans up on the Sabres, shining the spotlight on Evander Kane, who squandered a breakaway in regulation and his shootout attempt in the loss to Minnesota, then shouldered the blame in an interview after the game. Prusak admits that Kane has scored 18 goals this year, but three of the last four have been empty netters.
Bucky likes that Kane was willing to be accountable, but still calls for more leadership and production from the second-highest paid Sabre, at $6 million per season, while Prusak argues that Buffalo won't be able to count on the production of just Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel forever.
A quick allusion to Mike Harrington's column on Dan Bylsma is raised, but Bucky explains that Bylsma is the least of the Sabres' problems. Buffalo's head coach approaches this season with a perspective on the long-term, even if his detail-oriented approach may be viewed as mundane and obnoxious.
5) "Baby Shawn" Kennedy and Stephen Curry: Instead of the weekly "Extra Points" segment, host Adam Benigni plays back video of his trip to Miami, where he saw "Baby Shawn" Kennedy, a 4-year-old from Niagara Falls with inoperable brain cancer, meet his hero, Warriors star Stephen Curry.
Here's the WGRZ story and a photo gallery from the meeting, with the video embedded below.
The next "Sports Talk Sunday" runs at 11:30 p.m. March 13 on WGRZ.