The big trade of quarterback Alex Smith to Washington Tuesday night should be viewed as good news for Bills fans.
It's good because the Bills did not pull the trigger on a guy who's a better version of Tyrod Taylor but who clearly is not "The Answer."
Smith is a good quarterback. He's 50-26 the past five years for Kansas City. Wow. But talk about a QB-friendly situation. He was in coach Andy Reid's great offensive system with pretty good skill-position talent around him. And he had a top-10 scoring defense all five seasons as a Chiefs starter.
Smith is a QB who will get you into the playoffs and lose in the first round. That's why the Chiefs had to move on from him. They couldn't sell him to their fans again after losing in the first round three years in a row.
The Bills don't want to be using a draft pick (even a third-rounder) and a boatload of cap space on a guy who will be 34 in May and who's a bridge QB to your real answer.
Furthermore, the Smith trade opens the door for some team ahead of the Bills in the draft order to fill their quarterback need by signing the Redskins' Kirk Cousins.
It's hard to make any case for the Bills to get into the bidding for Cousins, who is expected to cost about $25 million a year. Cousins is pretty good, too, and he fits the kind of precision-passing offense the Bills like. But nothing about his history suggests he's a lift-a-modestly-talented-squad-on-his shoulders player.
The Jets are one obvious potential landing spot for Cousins for a couple reasons. New York has almost $80 million in cap space available. The Bills are projected to have roughly $30 million as of now.
The Jets also hold the No. 6 draft spot. But three QB-needy teams are ahead of them: Cleveland (No. 1), the Giants (No. 2) and Denver (No. 5). (Trust us: We'll all have this draft order memorized by April.)
Jets offensive chief Jeremy Bates is a Mike Shanahan disciple, and the Shanahan offense is perfect for Cousins.
One plus one doesn't always equal two. Maybe Cousins lands elsewhere. But with a 26-30-1 record, is Cousins a guy for whom the Bills want to push all their chips to the middle?
A guy like Cousins might make sense for Jacksonville, too. The Jags are so great on defense, Cousins could get them over the top. Like Buffalo, Jacksonville has about a third of the cap space as the Jets.
After five years of good but not great football, the Chiefs decided they need to go all in on a QB with a giant upside – Patrick Mahomes.
That's the path that makes sense for the Bills. Be patient. Don't gamble. Unless the guy has a giant upside, don't even think of going all in.
Story topics: Alex Smith