Exploring Bills' trade possibilities heading into the bye week - The Buffalo News

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Exploring Bills' trade possibilities heading into the bye week

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The Buffalo Bills passing game has taken a hit with the loss of Jordan Matthews for a month and the injury Charles Clay suffered against the Bengals in Week Five.

Sitting at 3-2, still atop their division, in the wide-open AFC with a bye week ahead, it's fair to pinpoint now as the ideal time for the Bills to make a trade.

Before getting into any possibilities, let's look at the state of Buffalo's salary cap.

Bills cap space

Per Spotrac: $8.5 million

Per OverTheCap: $7.0 million

Average: $7.75 million

Currently, assuming a $178 million salary cap (would be a $10 million jump from 2017), the Bills are currently set to have a $37.3 million in cap space, the 13th-most in the NFL. Why mention next year's cap? Well, any larger salary Buffalo may take on can be split up into future years, so having an abundance of cap space in 2018 is helpful.

The two most obvious trade chips for the Bills happen to be the team's highest-paid players on each side of the ball – Marcell Dareus and Cordy Glenn.

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Here are the cap ramifications for each if traded:

Marcell Dareus

2017 cap hit: $16.1 million

Dead cap if traded: $20.6 million

Possible savings: Loss of 4.49 million

The Bills also could designate Dareus as a "post-June 1" transaction, which would split the dead cap money over two years. In that case, Buffalo would eat $6.4 million in dead cap this year, save $9.7 million but incur a $14.2 million dead cap hit in 2018.

Cordy Glenn

2017 cap hit: $14.2 million

Dead cap if traded: $12.8 million

Possible savings: $1.4 million

If the Bills used a "post-June 1" designation on a Glenn trade, their dead cap hit in 2017 for him would be just $3.2 million, and they would  save an even $11 million in cap space. In 2018, they'd take on a dead cap hit of $9.6 million.

Clearly, with around $8 million in cap space right now, the Bills have room to unload either of these players in a trade.

Let's identify a few potential trade options:

Packers WR Randall Cobb

Cobb has been a mainstay on the Packers offense since his rookie year in 2011. In 2014 and 2015, he averaged 7.9 and 8.0 targets per game respectively. Last year, in 13 contests, Cobb averaged 6.46 targets per game. Through five games this season, the former Kentucky Wildcat is back up around his 2014 and 2015 target average. He's seeing 7.75 targets per outing, but 13 of those came in Week One and nine came in Week Two. He saw four targets against Chicago and five in the Packers win against the Cowboys.

Cobb has 23 receptions, 213 yards, and one touchdown in four games so far this year.

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Meanwhile, Davante Adams has emerged as Green Bay's go-to target not named Jordy Nelson. He's averaging 7.8 targets per game and has 23 grabs, 285 yards, and four scores in five games thus far in the 2017 campaign.

Adams, who's 24 years old, is playing on the final year of his rookie contract.

Cobb, who's only 27, represents a $12.6 million cap hit in 2017. He has one more year on the second contract he signed with the Packers in 2015.

The Packers are likely set to give Adams a lucrative extension before the 2018 season.

Currently, Green Bay left tackle David Bakhtiari is nursing an injury, and their issues at left guard date back to the start of the 2016 season.

While Packers GM Ted Thompson isn't known for wheeling and dealing, it's not outrageous to assume a Cobb-for-Glenn swap (with maybe some draft picks thrown in) would be logical at this point.

If the Bills added Cobb, his base salary for 2017 (and 2018) is $8.6 million, but by splitting some of that salary into signing bonus or potentially signing him to an extension immediately, Buffalo could lower his annual cap hit to fit him under the 2017 cap.

Chargers WR Tyrell Williams

Williams isn't nearly as well-known as Cobb but at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, he'd fit the size prototype the current Bills regime prefers at wideout.

He's playing on the last year of his rookie contract, a deal that only pays him a salary $615, 000.

A season ago, Williams had 69 receptions, 1,059 yards, and seven touchdowns.

Los Angeles has known commodity Keenan Allen back healthy, and first-round rookie Mike Williams is expected to make his professional debut in Week Six against the Raiders.

Tyrell Williams averaged 7.43 targets in 2016, but through five games in 2017, he's seen 5.2 targets per outing. Williams is currently averaging the same 15.3 yards per grab he averaged in 2016 yet has just one touchdown so far in the 2017 season.

The Chargers have one of the most porous offensive lines in football at this juncture. While free-agent acquisition Russell Okung has performed admirably at left tackle, Los Angeles has experienced a revolving door at right tackle between Michael Schofield (-5.0 PFF overallgrade) and Joe Barksdale (-11.3), both of whom have clearly had major blocking issues. Also, both of their guards, Matt Slauson (-11.6) and Kenny Wiggins, (-14.6) have overall grades that indicate they've been liabilities. Glenn would be a welcome addition to the Chargers' offensive front.

At such a low cost, the 25-year-old Williams would clearly fit under the 2017 cap for the Bills, and they could monitor his play in Buffalo for the remainder of the season to determine whether or not he'd earn a long-term extension.

Cardinals WRs John Brown, Jaron Brown or J.J. Nelson

Both Browns are set to be free agents after the 2017 season, and the speedy Nelson has one more year left on his rookie deal.

It's obvious that the Cardinals have some important decisions ahead of them at the wideout spot.

Jaron Brown has reeled in 17 passes for 244 yards with one touchdown in five games. Nelson also has 17 receptions but has 277 yards and two scores thus far in 2017.

John Brown was a 1,000-yard receiver in 2015, but has dealt with injuries over the past two seasons. He's appeared in three games in 2017 and has nine grabs, 105 yards and one score. At the 2014 combine, Brown ran 4.34 in the 40-yard dash and 28 of his 161 career catches have gone for 20-plus yards.

Right now, the Cardinals may have the worst offensive tackle situation in the NFL. Evan Boehm has an overall PFF grade of -18.5 and right tackle Jared Veldheer's grade is currently -19.5. Glenn would be an instant upgrade at either position.

Arizona also could use Dareus, as interior defensive linemen Josh Mauro (-1.9), Robert Nkemdiche (-2.2) and Frostee Rucker (-4.5) haven't made much of a positive impact this season.

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(Grades courtesy of Pro Football Focus.)

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