Column as I see 'em, Week 14:
With Tyrod Taylor's time in Buffalo drawing rapidly to a close, it's only natural for Bills fans to turn their attention to the next presumed quarterback savior. Not surprisingly, there's growing sentiment for them to turn their attention to Washington's Kirk Cousins.
I understand the fascination. Since the start of the 2015 season, Cousins has completed 67.9 percent of his passes for 12,372 yards, with 75 touchdowns and 31 interceptions. He's the NFL's fifth-rated active quarterback, behind Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. He's 29, smack in his prime.
Cousins would be the Bills' best quarterback since Jim Kelly. He will be a free agent after the season unless the Redskins make him a franchise player for an unprecedented third straight year, giving him the mandated one-year salary of $34 million.
So with franchise quarterbacks in high demand, and scouts cooling on this college quarterback class, Cousins will likely be the object of a frenzied free-agent battle in the offseason. The Bills would be wise to stay out of it, and I'm convinced they will not be among the suitors for Cousins.
There are a number of reasons for that. For one thing, the Pegulas cannot be in any mood to throw huge money at any player after so many free-agent deals have gone sour since they became dual pro sports owners.
They've lived to regret the contracts of Marcell Dareus and Cordy Glenn. The Sabres have overspent for Ryan O'Reilly and Kyle Okposo. You could go back to Christian Ehrhoff. They're probably having second thoughts about that generational wonder, Jack Eichel, as well.
Shelling out a monster deal for Cousins, which will be well into nine figures and average around $30 million a year, doesn't fit with the patient, frugal strategy that Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane have in place. The new regime has been dumping bad contracts and collecting draft picks to rebuild for the future.
The Bills got off to a surprising start this season, but they have a weak roster that will get worse through attrition. Why pay Cousins a big contract to play for a team that will be losing and in transition the next two years? It makes a lot more sense for the Bills to draft a young franchise QB who can grow through a bumpy rebuild.
Plus, why would Cousins want to come to Buffalo at this point? He's a cerebral, competitive guy who bet on himself by not signing a long-term deal with Washington. He wants to win, and Buffalo is no destination for anyone who wants to win now.
The Bills are projected to have about $33 million in cap space next year. That's roughly what Cousins will get in salary. They could make it work, but it would limit their ability to sign other free agents, including their own.
Going after Cousins is the sort of splashy move that Doug Whaley or Tim Murray would have made to excite the masses. That alone tells you it's not going to happen.
The more I watched video of Rob Gronkowski's cheap shot to the back of Tre White's head Sunday, the more convinced I was that Gronk deserved a suspension and a heavy fine. This wasn't some shot by a player who was slow to stop his momentum during a play. It was a vicious blow to the back of a prone defender after a play was over.
Pats coach Bill Belichick apologized to Sean McDermott on the field after the game, saying, "I understand. It was bull----.”
On Football Night in America on NBC, Rodney Harrison said, "If you do something like that to someone in the streets, you’re going to jail. He deserves to be suspended one game.”
Gronk got a game suspension, but did he deserve more? The NFL suspended Gronk's teammate, Tom Brady, for four games for supposedly deflating footballs before an AFC title game. Really, which act was more egregious?
Is He Owned? This week's featured fantasy player is our old friend, Marquise Goodwin. The former Bills speedster caught eight passes from Jimmy Garoppolo for 99 yards against the Bears, including a 13-yarder from the Niners' 8-yard line to begin their winning field goal drive.
Goodwin's eight catches (on eight targets) were the most in his career. He had six for the Bills in a win over the Jets in his rookie season of 2013. The former Olympic long jumper, who signed with San Fran as a free agent, has 35 catches for 677 yards this season. He's tied with the Colts' T.Y. Hilton for the league lead in yards per catch with 19.3.
So it was surprising to see Goodwin still available in 85 percent of ESPN leagues on Monday. With the fantasy playoffs coming, he's worth a look.
Stats Incredible: Keenan Allen wasn't satisfied with torching the Bills. After two more big games, the Chargers wideout is the first player in NFL history with at least 10 catches, 100 yards and a TD in three straight games ... Oakland's Marshawn Lynch ran for 101 yards in a win over the Giants, his first 100-yard game since coming out of retirement. His 51-yard TD run was his longest in three years ... Cleveland has lost 29 straight games on Sunday, an NFL record. Their only win last season came on Saturday, the day before Christmas. They're in Chicago this year the day before Christmas, on a Sunday ... The Patriots have won 14 straight regular-season road games, second all-time to the 1988-90 Niners, who won 18 in a row ... After opening the third quarter with a TD on Sunday, the Pats have scored 48 points on their opening possession of the second half this season, the most in the league ... The Bills have allowed a score on their opening defensive possession after halftime in five straight games, giving up four TDs and a field goal.