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Sully's Mailbag: No correction in QB market

Jerry Sullivan

Unlike the stock market, the price of NFL quarterbacks continues to rise with no sign of a correction. Jimmy Garoppolo, who has started seven games in his career, signed a five-year, $137.5 million extension with the Niners on Thursday.

Garoppolo, who was backing up Tom Brady three months ago, got the richest deal in league history on a per-year basis. If that's what a QB gets for going 7-0 to start his career, what could Brady command for winning five Super Bowls? How much will Aaron Rodgers get when he signs his next contract?

There was talk that Kirk Cousins might get $30 million a year on the free-agent market. That seems reasonable now. Cousins has passed for at least 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns three years in a row for Washington. He'll be a hot commodity now that they've traded for Alex Smith.

I don't see the Bills spending big on a free agent at this point in the rebuild. But with the price of a franchise QB soaring, it's more essential to find the right guy in the draft and develop a team around him.

On to the Mailbag:

Reverend Bob asks: Who is QB next year? Do we go after Bridgewater or Keenum? Trade our two firsts and move up? One more year with Tyrod Taylor?

Sully: As they say on the talk shows, I'll take your last question first. I don't see Taylor being here next season. Sean McDermott showed his hand when he played Nathan Peterman in LA. The Bills will likely release Taylor in March and save $15 million of his $18 million on the cap.

I agree with Jay Skurski, whose first mock draft had the Bills trading their two first-rounders and more to the Colts for the No. 3 overall pick. I'm not high on Baker Mayfield, but it's their job to identify the best prospect. If they love a guy, they need to go get him.

From what I hear, the Vikings are likely to keep Bridgewater. Keenum will probably want too much after a career year. Of the three available Minnesota QBs, Sam Bradford makes the most sense. He has a history of knee injuries, which should make him amenable to a reasonable short-term deal.

The Bills shouldn't invest in a QB who wants a long-term commitment. Find a guy who'll keep the seat warm and won't be a threat to the new franchise guy. A veteran like Josh McCown or Ryan Fitzpatrick would fit the bill. Fitz wants to keep playing. Why not?

Keep in mind, McDermott still holds Peterman in high regard. It wouldn't shock me if Peterman won the job in camp and gave way to the presumed franchise guy later in the season.

Bill from Cheektowaga asks: How in the world is Tom Terrific not MVP? He was under siege and pulled Houdinis all day.

Sully: It's not an outlandish notion that Brady could have been Super Bowl MVP, despite losing to the Eagles. He threw for 505 yards, a record, despite losing top wideout Brandin Cooks to a head injury in the second quarter.

But it's not as if Nick Foles threw for 142 yards, as Len Dawson did when he won MVP in Super Bowl IV. Foles passed for 373 yards and three TDs. Only two men, Brady and Kurt Warner, have thrown for more yards in the Bowl. Foles also caught a TD pass. He threw one interception, on a fluke deflection.

So while Brady could have been MVP in a lot of years, I had no quarrel with Foles getting it. He was a great story, a backup who was given little chance of leading Philly to the Super Bowl when Carson Wentz went down.

By the way, only one player from the losing team has been Super Bowl MVP. That was Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley, who had two interceptions and helped limit the Colts to 69 yards rushing in a 16-13 loss in Super Bowl V.

Nowadays, the MVP is a bigger deal. On Monday morning after the game, they bring the MVP and winning coach to a press conference. It would be awkward to have a losing MVP at the presser. I wonder if the NFL would disregard the vote for a losing player and give it to the top player from the champ instead.

Gerry from Lewiston asks: With all the rumors going on with trades & picks, what’s the deal w/OT Seantrel Henderson?

Sully: Henderson is an unrestricted free agent. I don't see him returning. His career has been marred by illness, injury, a marijuana suspension and generally uninspiring play since joining the Bills as a seventh-round pick in 2014.

Henderson is among an ever-dwindling number of players who were around when Rex Ryan took over in January of 2015. McDermott and Brandon Beane seem determined to reshape the roster with their own guys.

Daniel Sanford asks: The Super Bowl is over and the Sabres have 30 meaningless games left. Where should I turn my attention? Please don't say the Olympics.

Sully: What, you don't like team curling or moguls? How about basketball? It's this sport where guys run and jump and try to shoot or stuff a ball through a hoop. American youth are crazy over it.

The NBA's all-star game is a week from Sunday. Team LeBron James vs. Team Stephen Curry. The league is heating up, especially after LeBron's Cavs changed half their team at the trade deadline Thursday. Are they still the team to beat in the East? Are they good enough to beat the Warriors?

College hoops are heading toward the conference tournaments, and the NCAA tourney. It's more wide-open than ever, which is what I say every year. Are Virginia, Cincinnati and Purdue really that good?

How about the locals? The four Western New York men's teams (UB, Canisius, Niagara, St. Bonaventure) are all at least five games over .500 and in the top four of their leagues. All four haven't even finished over .500 in the same season since UB went to Division I in 1992.

The UB women are 18-4, first in the MAC East and getting Top 25 votes in the Coaches poll. So there are meaningful games left — just not at KeyBank Center.

@speranzalou asks: Have you heard anything about interest from Pegula/NBA on a Buffalo team? Relocation or expansion? I think we're ready.

Sully: I've been ready for 29 years. But it's not happening. Buffalo isn't large enough for three major pro sports teams. It's barely big enough for two. The market is too small to support two major winter teams. The NBA has no interest. Their long-term vision is expanding overseas.

The Pegulas show no interest in basketball, other than the occasional NCAA subregional. If they had feelings for the NBA, they would get behind the idea of honoring the Braves. I'm told they think no one cares except for a few old guys who are clinging to the past.

I'd love to see an NBA developmental G League team in Buffalo. The questions are where they'd play, and whether the team would draw well.

Olive Duster asks: Why is Housley waiting so long to name Eichel as Captain? Is there any other team without one at this point?

Sully: I assume it's because the coach feels Eichel is too young at 21. Good thing they held off. They might have grossly underachieved in Housley's first year and fallen to the bottom of the conference.

They should have done it by now. Eichel is the face of the franchise, their only All-Star. They thought he was mature enough for an $80 million contract. Plus, there's the enormous pressure that comes from knowing the franchise lost on purpose to get him. He couldn't bear the additional burden of the "C"?

Oh, there are three other NHL teams without a captain: Vegas, Toronto and Arizona.

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