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Jay Skurski's Bills Mailbag: A Buffalo Super Bowl one day? Could Charles Clay get cut? Who controls the 53-man roster, anyway?

Are the Buffalo Bills tanking?

At least one national writer believes so. Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report published an article Friday noting five teams he believes are in contention for the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2018. The Bills are on Sobleski's list.

"Of course, players and coaches aren't intentionally throwing games when their jobs are on the line. But they're operating at the behest of the front office and the team's ownership group," Sobleski writes. "The concept is simple: A team minimizes its long-term investments in overpaid and overaged veterans while simultaneously maximizing salary-cap space and draft capital. This is done through the deconstruction of the roster."

Of the Bills, Sobleski writes "the team started to build toward the future by trading the 10th overall pick in exchange for first-round selections this and next year. Clearing cap space, adding assets and stripping the roster of unwanted veterans, Buffalo is checking off the boxes toward tanking and trying to build long term." As you ponder whether that's really the case, here are the answers to your questions in this week's mailbag:

I'm going to assume that Rick means the stadium will be domed, which would be a necessity. The NFL has only ever held one outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather city, and that was in New York City a few years ago.

Even if the Bills were to get a domed stadium on Rick's timeline, my answer would still be a big, fat no. Let's face it: Trying to convince the NFL that Buffalo is a desirable location – in early February – is pretty much an impossible task, and that's before we consider the logistical issues that need to be sorted out. Even with the new hotels that have opened recently, like the Westin and the Marriott at HarborCenter, are there enough rooms? Is the airport equipped to handle the number of flights that would come in and need to get out the day after the game?

While it's true the league has gone to cold-weather cities with domes in the past like Indianapolis, Detroit and Minneapolis, it's hard to envision them ever green-lighting a Super Bowl in Western New York.

Very low. Less than 5 percent. Coach Sean McDermott admitted during the spring that the Bills are worried about Clay's knee injury, which has limited his practice time the last couple years, but hasn't kept him out of a game. If that condition were to somehow get significantly worse before September, it's possible that the Bills could move on from Clay, but it would be more likely for the team to place him on injured reserve and try to get him healthy for 2018.

The cap ramifications simply can't be darned. Clay will count $9 million against this year's cap, but cutting him bumps the number up to $14.5 million. On top of that, there is questionable depth behind him, to put it kindly. The best-case scenario for the Bills is that Clay is as close to 100 percent as possible and produces at a rate equal or at least close to his cap figure.

That would be General Manager Brandon Beane. You can safely assume, though, that McDermott will have a heavy say in any personnel move the team makes. That's the good thing about having a GM and coach with an established working relationship. Ultimately, Beane and McDermott will succeed or fail as a pairing.

That seems like a fair place to start, although in my mind, anything short of a Super Bowl victory wouldn't be enough to keep me from considering a quarterback in 2018.

Let's work through Rob's question based on the scenario he laid out, though. If, for example, the Bills make the playoffs with a 10-6 record and it's largely because of what Taylor and the offense have done, just ending a 17-year postseason drought may be enough to convince the new front office Taylor is the man for the job. If the Bills were to win in the wild-card round 38-35 with Taylor producing four touchdowns, would that be enough of a case? It depends on the circumstances.

On the other hand, if the Bills go 10-6 in spite of Taylor, not because of him, would a playoff berth – even if it included a win – keep him around? If McDermott's defense suddenly becomes dominant and is the primary reason for the team's success, should Taylor get any credit?

My expectation is that Taylor will be something close to what he has been the first two years in Buffalo – a quarterback who takes care of the ball, makes some impressive throws and misses others you need him to have. Can he get significantly better in close games? Will the Bills trust him to throw as much as an average NFL team does? Those are significant questions that need to be answered.

I firmly believe the trade down with Kansas City this year was made with an eye firmly on the 2018 quarterback class, which early projections have as being loaded with first-round prospects. Having two of the first 32 picks gives the Bills flexibility to keep taking cracks at getting the most important position in sports right. Getting that position covers up so many other deficiencies a team may have.

The team can keep Taylor around for another year if they choose while getting a rookie ready, so in my mind, there's no reason not to address quarterback in 2018. I also don't expect he'll put together the type of season that will give them one.

Worthy is scheduled to make $690,000 this season, so if the team likes what he gives them, there's no reason he can't be re-signed. The bigger question might be what does the team do next to Dareus? Kyle Williams is entering the final year of his contract and is 34. How much longer does he plan to play?

That, coupled with the inability to depend on Dareus because of the poor decision-making he's exhibited throughout his NFL career, makes defensive tackle a position that could need an upgrade in 2018. It would help if 2016 third-round draft pick Adolphus Washington flashes some ability this season.

In my post-spring practices 53-man roster projection, I had the Bills keeping two: Davis and Valles. Davis is the only reserve defensive end on the roster with any kind of experience and was signed by the current coaching staff as a free agent, so he has an inside track at one spot. Valles consistently ran with the second unit during the spring, so he's ahead of the other players mentioned at the moment.

As has been pointed out a few different times this offseason, depth at defensive end is a big concern. One thing to keep an eye on: where Lorenzo Alexander lines up. He's penciled in as the strong-side linebacker in the base 4-3 defense, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if the team figured out a way to make him more of a pass-rush specialist. We saw last year that he can do a good job of that. There are other linebacker options on the roster, especially after Gerald Hodges was added late in free agency.

First of all, props to Dean for co-bylining this week's mailbag.

The "big nickel" is a hybrid safety/linebacker position that McDermott used frequently in Carolina with Shaq Thompson. The player in that spot lines up closer to the line of scrimmage and is counted on to both cover tight ends and receivers as well as help in run support. The player who figures to fit the role best for the Bills this season is Micah Hyde, the former Green Bay Packer signed in free agency. Hyde played cornerback, safety and even some linebacker in Green Bay, so he's versatile enough to handle the job.

As for whether he's the ideal fit, he's not as big (at 6-foot-0, 197 pounds) as Thompson (6-2, 231), but he's got the speed and coverage ability. The bigger issue is if Hyde moves from the traditional safety spot, who steps in for him? Depth at safety is as bad as it is at defensive end.

You can add hybrid linebacker/safety to the Bills' list of needs in the future.

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