Normally the sleepiest of all trade deadlines, there has been an unusual amount of chatter about what might happen with the Buffalo Bills between now and Halloween.
That's because General Manager Brandon Beane has shown a willingness to made bold moves, and the team has a pair of players who have rumors circulated about them in recent weeks.
So addressing the Oct. 31 trade deadline seems like a good place to start this week's Bills Mailbag. On to your questions ...
Michael Necci asks: Rank the best Bills' trading pieces. Please and thank you.
Jay: No. 1, you’re welcome. No. 2, this is tricky because the Bills’ best trading pieces are players they shouldn’t you know, trade. But here goes:
1. CB Tre’Davious White: The rookie is under a cost-controlled contract for four more seasons and is balling out right now. Any team in the league would love to have him.
2. DE Shaq Lawson: Again, another top draft pick. The Bills’ 2016 first-rounder is developing as a pass rusher, but his run defense is top notch and like White, he’s got a cost-controlled contract for three more years at a position that’s vital to a defense.
3. S Jordan Poyer: An absolute steal in free agency, Poyer has three years remaining on a contract that tops out with an annual salary cap hit of $3.575 million. That’s a bargain for a player who is performing like one of the best in the NFL at his position. At 26, he’s in the prime of his career.
4. S Micah Hyde: The only reason he’s a spot lower than Poyer is he makes more money, but Hyde’s contract – which runs for four more seasons and tops out with a cap hit of $6.75 milion – isn’t outrageous. It’s also important to note that when a player is traded, the team acquiring him is responsible for the base salary only. Hyde, who is currently tied for the NFL lead with four interceptions, has been worth the money the Bills gave him.
5. LT Dion Dawkins: Notice a trend here? Young players on cheap contracts with multiple years remaining on their deal – three in Dawkins’ case – have the highest value.
Again, trading any of these players would be a huge long shot. Their value comes from what they’ve done so far this season, and what they can reasonably be projected to do in the future, and that makes them exactly the type of players the Bills should retain.
Here’s why some of the Bills didn’t make my list: LeSean McCoy is 29 and carries a base salary of more than $6 million over the next two seasons, which is big money at a position teams can fill with young and cheap players (like Kareem Hunt in Kansas City). Kyle Williams, Lorenzo Alexander and Richie Incognito are all 34 years old. While they might make sense as rental players for a team hoping to make a Super Bowl run, their age diminishes their value.
Which leaves us with Marcell Dareus and Cordy Glenn …
Rick McGuire asks: The BN ran a story about possibly trading Marcel Dareus and/or Cordy Glenn. What would you expect in return considering their contracts?
Jay: That was me, so thanks for reading. I would not expect a huge return for either player, because they both come with their own issues outside of the monster contracts they possess. Dareus is one failed drug test away from a 10-game suspension. Glenn has a nagging foot injury that has necessitated a visit to one of the country's leading specialists. If teams think the Bills are simply going to release Glenn and/or Dareus, they aren't going to offer the moon for a player they might be able to sign without giving anything up.
Pinpointing what might come back to the Bills in a trade is tough. Typically, it's draft picks. Glenn's value is tied to his healthy, salary and how the Bills feel about rookie Dion Dawkins' ability to be the left tackle of the future. Unlike with Glenn, there is no obvious replacement for Dareus currently on the roster.
My best guess is the Bills would take a low-round pick just to rid themselves of the Dareus headache, while holding out for a better offer for Glenn – something like a top-100 draft pick.
Christopher Sugar asks: If Kyle Williams does retire next season is drafting a DT a priority or is a replacement already on the team, assuming Bills don’t move on from Marcell Dareus?
Jay: That’s a massive assumption, because moving on from Dareus, in my mind, will be one of the top priorities for the front office this offseason. Their highest-paid player is taking 22 snaps a game and has three tackles this season. That’s a massive problem. The Bills can get that type of production from almost any other defensive tackle, so unless Dareus rapidly turns back into the Pro Bowl player he used to be, moving on from him would be my top priority if I was in charge.
To Chris’ question, though, if Williams does retire, I would still consider drafting a defensive tackle to be a top priority even if Dareus sticks around. Behind those two, the team has veterans Jerel Worthy and Cedric Thornton and second-year pro Adolphus Washington. Both Worthy and Thornton are in the final year of their contract, while Washington hasn’t proven to this point that he’s more than a depth player. With six picks in the first three rounds of the upcoming draft, the Bills will be able to fill several holes on their roster. With or without Dareus, defensive tackle is on that list.
John Westling asks: After the first five weeks of the season, what do you feel will be the biggest need in the offseason?
Jay: Quarterback – just as it has been since Jim Kelly retired. This franchise isn't going to be a true Super Bowl contender – which should be the goal, not just making the playoffs – until they find one. Tyrod Taylor might be good enough to end the postseason drought if the defense continues to play like one of the best in the league, but the Bills need to find their true "franchise" passer. I'm sure General Manager Brandon Beane knows that, which I believe is a big reason he was so determined to add as much draft capital as he did in the offseason.
Christopher Brunner asks: Not a question but a statement. We need Zay to pick up his game just a tad bit wouldn’t you say?
Jay: Actually, there is a question there! And the answer is yes. Jones would be the first to tell you that. The numbers are brutal for the rookie from East Carolina through the first five weeks – five catches for 66 yards. He has to get better in a hurry if the passing game is going to improve.
"Weemzer332" asks: Why is it taking the Bills so long to bring up Brandon Reilly? He was a beast in preseason.
Jay: The only answer here is that the team doesn't think he's ready. Remember that, after Jordan Matthews got hurt in Atlanta, the Bills signed Philly Brown, even though he never appeared in a game because the team needed another cornerback for the game against Cincinnati. Then this week, Deonte Thompson was signed. With Matthews nearing a return, the Bills will soon have six healthy receivers, which means the door for Reilly to make his way onto the 53-man roster is closed for now.
And now, to the ridiculousness ...
"GonzoEnglish" asks: If you played a full NBA season, could you average 2 points per game?
Jay: I don't think I averaged 2 points per game in the Daemen summer league that wrapped up a couple months ago, so no. I did hit a game-winning three-pointer in pickup Wednesday night, though. So there.
Jeff Popple asks: Gotta love the Red Sux flaming out quickly and easily huh?
Jay: I see what you did there, and no, you don't have to love it. I certainly don't, nor does the pride of Rhode Island, Jerry Sullivan.
"ATV3" asks: Would you describe your wardrobe as country club chic or casual chic?"
Jay: This was a hot topic this week ...
Jim Banko asks: Who chooses the outfits you where to Bills games? Your sense of style is as questionable as the Bills' zone-blocking scheme.
Jay: The outfits I "where" to games? As a proud St. Francis graduate, this is a perfect time to point out my friend Jim's English teacher at Timon must be crying right now.
And finally, a serious note ...
Bob asks: Who's not a Hip fan?
Jay: To be fair, this question might not have been in reference to the Bills, but it allows me to pay my respects in some small way to Gord Downie, the lead singer of the Tragically Hip who passed away this week after a courageous fight with brain cancer.
Like so many others who grew up in Western New York, the Hip's music will forever be a part of me. Although they are distinctly Canadian, there is a special bond the Hip had with Buffalo. Some of my favorite memories are of attending concerts – both near and far – with friends who shared in that love. Rest in peace, Gord. Thank you all for the questions this week.
Story topics: Brandon Beane/ Brandon Reilly/ Cordy Glenn/ Deonte Thompson/ Dion Dawkins/ Jordan Poyer/ Kyle Williams/ LeSean McCoy/ Lorenzo Alexander/ Marcell Dareus/ Micah Hyde/ Philly Brown/ Richie Incognito/ Shaq Lawson/ Tre'davious White/ Zay Jones